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Innovation through collaboration - an analysis of the EU competition policy on patent pools

Engdahl, Mathilda LU (2013) JURM02 20131
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Begrepp som kreativitet och innovation har aldrig varit så viktiga som de är idag. Ökad innovationskraft tros bidra till Europas konkurrensförmåga på världsmarknaden liksom till hållbarhet och fler arbetstillfällen inom Unionen. Enligt EU nås framgång genom att skapa ideala förutsättningar för innovation och att främja kreativitet med politiskt stöd.

En patentpool är ett arrangemang där ett flertal rättighetsinnehavare samlar sina patent och sedermera licenserar dessa som ett paket till poolmedlemmarna och/eller tredje man beredd att betala royaltyavgiften. Patentpooler varierar kraftigt i form och storlek och motivet bakom dem har utvecklats från önskan att undvika rättstvister och få tillgång till varandras respektive patent, till mer... (More)
Begrepp som kreativitet och innovation har aldrig varit så viktiga som de är idag. Ökad innovationskraft tros bidra till Europas konkurrensförmåga på världsmarknaden liksom till hållbarhet och fler arbetstillfällen inom Unionen. Enligt EU nås framgång genom att skapa ideala förutsättningar för innovation och att främja kreativitet med politiskt stöd.

En patentpool är ett arrangemang där ett flertal rättighetsinnehavare samlar sina patent och sedermera licenserar dessa som ett paket till poolmedlemmarna och/eller tredje man beredd att betala royaltyavgiften. Patentpooler varierar kraftigt i form och storlek och motivet bakom dem har utvecklats från önskan att undvika rättstvister och få tillgång till varandras respektive patent, till mer moderna incitament med huvudfokus på att samla alla relevanta patent inom ett tekniskt område.

Från ett konkurrensrättsligt perspektiv uppfattas patentpooler som något som i många avseenden gynnar innovation. Pooler påstås kunna minska rättegångskostnader, distribuera risk mellan poolmedlemmarna och viktigast av allt, reda ut det ogenomträngliga nätet av överlappande rättigheter orsakat av dagens patentsystem. Dessa egenskaper leder alla till ökade incitament till och förutsättningar för innovation. Pooler är dock samtidigt avtal mellan horisontella konkurrenter varför samarbetet kan utgöra klandervärt beteende såsom en priskartell eller kopplingsförbehåll av typen bundling. Risken är att poolen leder till ökade royaltysatser för licenstagarna samt försvårar etablerings- och utvecklingsmöjligheterna för konkurrenter. Av denna anledning utvärderas patentpooler av Kommissionen inom ramen för artikel 101 FEUF.

Denna uppsats ifrågasätter huruvida det konkurrensrättsliga regelverket är tillräckligt hänsynstagande till de speciella omständigheter som omger avtal slutna i poolingsammanhang. Genom att undersöka regelverket kommer författaren fram till att verkningskraften av de etablerade garantierna kan ifrågasättas. Anledningen till detta är att regelverket är splittrat mellan flera dokument och de avgörande distinktionerna är svåra att utföra. Dessutom kan presumtionerna för vad som utgör och inte utgör ett konkurrensvidrigt beteende kritiseras för att inte ha den effekt de tillskrivs i ett poolingsammanhang. (Less)
Abstract
Concepts such as creativity and innovation have never been more important than they are today. Increased innovativeness is believed to contribute to Europe’s competitiveness on the world market as well as sustainability and job creation within the union. According to the EU, the way to success is to set up ideal conditions for innovation and nurture creativity through political support.

A patent pool is an arrangement where several rights holders assemble their patents and furthermore license the same as a package to the members of the pool, and/or to third parties willing to pay the royalty fee. Patent pools vary in their form and size and the motive behind them has evolved from the wish of avoiding litigation and accessing each... (More)
Concepts such as creativity and innovation have never been more important than they are today. Increased innovativeness is believed to contribute to Europe’s competitiveness on the world market as well as sustainability and job creation within the union. According to the EU, the way to success is to set up ideal conditions for innovation and nurture creativity through political support.

A patent pool is an arrangement where several rights holders assemble their patents and furthermore license the same as a package to the members of the pool, and/or to third parties willing to pay the royalty fee. Patent pools vary in their form and size and the motive behind them has evolved from the wish of avoiding litigation and accessing each others’ respectively patents, to more modern incentives with the primary focus of collecting all relevant patents within a certain technical area.

From a competition law perspective, patent pools are in many ways perceived as promoters of innovation. Supposedly, pools reduce litigation costs, provide risk distribution and most importantly, clear the dense web of overlapping rights caused by the current patent system. These features all increase the incentives for and possibilities to innovate. However, pools are at the same time agreements between horizontal competitors and the collaboration can constitute collusive behavior, such as price fixing and collective bundling. The risk is that the pool increases royalty fees for licensees as well as foreclosures third party technologies. For this reason, patent pools are assessed by the Commission under Article 101 TFEU.

This thesis questions whether competition policy is considerate enough to the special circumstances that surrounds agreements formed in the pooling context. By examining the policy, the author finds that the established safeguards can be questioned in terms of their efficiency. The reason for this is that the framework is shattered over several documents and the decisive distinctions are hard to perform. Also, the presumptions for what is and what is not an anti-competitive behavior can be criticized for not having the proposed effect in a pooling context. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Engdahl, Mathilda LU
supervisor
organization
course
JURM02 20131
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
competition law, intellectual property law, patent pool
language
English
id
3800167
date added to LUP
2013-06-14 12:50:10
date last changed
2014-01-08 17:01:52
@misc{3800167,
  abstract     = {Concepts such as creativity and innovation have never been more important than they are today. Increased innovativeness is believed to contribute to Europe’s competitiveness on the world market as well as sustainability and job creation within the union. According to the EU, the way to success is to set up ideal conditions for innovation and nurture creativity through political support.

A patent pool is an arrangement where several rights holders assemble their patents and furthermore license the same as a package to the members of the pool, and/or to third parties willing to pay the royalty fee. Patent pools vary in their form and size and the motive behind them has evolved from the wish of avoiding litigation and accessing each others’ respectively patents, to more modern incentives with the primary focus of collecting all relevant patents within a certain technical area.

From a competition law perspective, patent pools are in many ways perceived as promoters of innovation. Supposedly, pools reduce litigation costs, provide risk distribution and most importantly, clear the dense web of overlapping rights caused by the current patent system. These features all increase the incentives for and possibilities to innovate. However, pools are at the same time agreements between horizontal competitors and the collaboration can constitute collusive behavior, such as price fixing and collective bundling. The risk is that the pool increases royalty fees for licensees as well as foreclosures third party technologies. For this reason, patent pools are assessed by the Commission under Article 101 TFEU.

This thesis questions whether competition policy is considerate enough to the special circumstances that surrounds agreements formed in the pooling context. By examining the policy, the author finds that the established safeguards can be questioned in terms of their efficiency. The reason for this is that the framework is shattered over several documents and the decisive distinctions are hard to perform. Also, the presumptions for what is and what is not an anti-competitive behavior can be criticized for not having the proposed effect in a pooling context.},
  author       = {Engdahl, Mathilda},
  keyword      = {competition law,intellectual property law,patent pool},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Innovation through collaboration - an analysis of the EU competition policy on patent pools},
  year         = {2013},
}