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Yo Sop Choi

Over the past decades, the Korean competition regime has developed notably, highlighting the distinctive features that enable it to harmonize various goals of competition law for ensuring fair and free competition, in pursuit of economic democratization. Enquiry into whether diverse objectives can influence overall competition policy continues to be relevant because economic efficiency itself cannot be the sole goal in Asian countries like Korea. When examining the development of the Korean regime, it is clear that the skeleton of its competition philosophy is a blend of various concepts from the adoption of foreign legal theories and economic principles, which leads to convergence. Therefore, modern economics and politics in competition law often affect its development in a country, including the level of divergence and convergence. This chapter aims to examine the recent changes of the Korean competition regime as an example of localized harmonization.

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Nansulhun Choi and Yo Sop Choi

The application of competition law to the pharmaceutical sector is complicated, and it is a difficult task for courts and competition agencies to determine whether a certain business practice in the industry results in a violation of competition law. In particular, the topic of reverse payment agreements is challenging in most competition jurisdictions, as it is deeply related to intellectual property (IP) law and policy. IP and competition policymakers often try to establish criteria for assessing this practice, and there has been recent noteworthy case law from courts in various jurisdictions. Courts in the United States and the Republic of Korea have recently issued their first judgments on reverse payment agreements. Although there is no significant court judgment in the European Union, the Commission has also made its first decision on a reverse payment agreement. This article therefore aims to discuss recent developments in competition law and policy on reverse payments in diverse jurisdictions through a comparative study.

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Yo Sop Choi and Andreas Heinemann

The rapid development of the ‘New Economy’ on a global scale has brought new issues of competition law, one of them concerning the licensing of standard essential patents (SEPs). Standardization allows interoperability and compatibility and thus enhances not only static but also dynamic efficiency. However, the procedures in standard setting organizations (SSOs) may not be used to unduly restrict competition. In Asia, for example, most competition regimes have highlighted their focus on fair and free competition, making clear that the field of SEP is no exception. Recently, the competition authorities in Korea and China have concluded that a breach of ‘fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND)’ commitments may constitute violations of their competition rules, apparently taking inspiration from the case law in the EU. Therefore, it seems overdue to look at recent developments in competition law and policies on SEP and FRAND worldwide and to enquire into the divergence and convergence of competition law in selected jurisdictions. Despite considerable differences, a common feature of all competition regimes discussed in this article is that their goal is to keep markets in the information and communication technology sector as open as possible, including – and especially – with respect to standard-setting procedures.