Table of Contents

The Intellectual Property Debate

The Intellectual Property Debate

Perspectives from Law, Economics and Political Economy

New Horizons in Intellectual Property series

Edited by Meir Perez Pugatch

Intellectual property (IP) has become one of the most influential and controversial issues in today’s knowledge-based society. This challenging book exposes the reader to key issues at the heart of the public debate now taking place in the field of IP. It considers IP at the macro level where it affects many issues. These include: international trade policy, ownership of breakthrough technologies, foreign direct investment, innovation climates, public–private partnerships, competition rules and public health where it is strongly embedded in contemporary business decision making.

Chapter 12: Balancing Intellectual Property Rights and Competition Law in a Dynamic, Knowledge-Based European Economy

Duncan Curley

Subjects: economics and finance, cultural economics, intellectual property, law - academic, intellectual property law


Duncan Curley INTRODUCTION The creation of a favourable climate for technological innovation is a critical component of the drive to make the European Union the world’s leading knowledge-based economy by 2010.1 A strong, harmonized and affordable system of intellectual property rights (IPRs) is intended to underpin this policy objective, in recognition of the need to incentivize industry to undertake the necessary investment in research and development.2 Although IPRs vary, they are fundamentally monopoly or quasimonopoly rights. They confer a statutory period during which the proprietor has a legal right to prevent others from carrying out certain acts (such as making, selling and importing products) that fall within the ambit of the granted monopoly. Patents and copyright are two examples of IPRs that will be specifically referred to later in this chapter; others include design rights, trademarks, database rights and plant variety rights. The effect of IPRs may be of concern to those responsible for safeguarding European consumers from the improper use of monopoly power. It is the European Commission which bears the principal responsibility for regulating the conduct of undertakings on European markets, by enforcing EC competition law, as laid down in particular in Articles 81 and 82 of the EC Treaty, and by formulating competition policy. It is of course important for undertakings operating on European markets to understand how (if at all) EC competition law may circumscribe their rights, since this may affect not only decisions on whether the cost of seeking IPR protection...

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