Research Handbooks in Intellectual Property series
Edited by Joshua D. Sarnoff
Chapter 13: Antitrust and climate change
Climate change is one of the most important issues of the 21st century. With the earth’s fate literally hanging in the balance, observers are increasingly recognizing the fragility of the planet’s ecosystem. Rising temperatures, hurricanes, floods, wildfires, droughts, tropical storms and other events demonstrate the multiple forms in which climate change appears to be presenting itself. Given the nascent technologies targeting climate change, little attention has been paid to antitrust issues. This chapter addresses this gap. It focuses on four of the most likely antitrust topics to arise. The first is the issue of markets. Given the fledgling technologies at issue, determining the scope of the relevant market is an uncertain task. In many cases, it will not be clear exactly how broad the market is. An example of how agencies should approach the issue is discussed below in the context of the United States (US) Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) analysis of Panasonic’s acquisition of Sanyo, the two largest manufacturers of a type of portable rechargeable battery. The second is the treatment of monopoly issues such as refusals to license intellectual property, particularly in the US and the European Union (EU). These issues will be especially relevant for patents, such as those on technology assisting in the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The third issue involves standards. (Standards are addressed in more detail in Chapter 21 by Jorge Contreras.