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Academic Articles Awards > Intellectual Property

Patent Settlements as by Object Restrictions: a European Approach, But is it the Right One?

James Killick, Ian S. Forrester: A Scot without Borders - Liber Amicorum - Volume II, Concurrences, December 2015

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The interaction between competition rules and IP rights continues to be the source of lively debates in Brussels and other capitals across the globe. IP lawyers lament that competition lawyers do not understand IP rules and that competition intervention undermines the core objectives of IP laws. IP lawyers (and some competition lawyers, including, on occasion, Ian) argue that if there are any issues with IP rights or the way they are exercised, the IP system can be tweaked to address them. Indeed, IP rights are designed to strike a balance between the need to encourage innovation (by granting exclusivity) and the need to spread ideas (for example, a patent is granted in exchange for the disclosure of an invention that may otherwise be kept secret). Competition enforcers stress that they do not seek to undermine or meddle with the IP system and that competition intervention in IP matters is typically only in exceptional circumstances and is warranted because more competition means more innovation. The bottom line is that from time to time the two sets of rules clash and, more often than not, competition law prevails. The debate as to when such an intervention is warranted and how deep compulsory licensing was the issue at the heart of the debate a decade or more ago.

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