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The assessment of patent pools under antitrust law, a comparative analysis

Selander, Helena LU (2013) JURM02 20132
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Denna uppsats behandlar de konkurrensrättsliga skillnaderna i EU-rätt och amerikans rätt rörande patentpooler. Genom patentpooler ges företag möjlighet att gemensamt samla sina patent inom ett visst tekniskt område och tillsammans licensera dem. Genom poolning av patent ökar möjligheterna för snabb utveckling samtidigt som licenskostnaderna minskar då samtliga nödvändiga patent blir tillgängliga genom en enda licens. Vidare är också patentpooler en möjlighet för att förhindra låsningar patentinnehavare emellan, något som annars riskerar att förhindra vidareutveckling inom olika tekniska områden.

Både Kommissionen och de amerikanska konkurrensrättsmyndigheterna har förtydligat sina respektive förhållningssätt till patentpooler och andra... (More)
Denna uppsats behandlar de konkurrensrättsliga skillnaderna i EU-rätt och amerikans rätt rörande patentpooler. Genom patentpooler ges företag möjlighet att gemensamt samla sina patent inom ett visst tekniskt område och tillsammans licensera dem. Genom poolning av patent ökar möjligheterna för snabb utveckling samtidigt som licenskostnaderna minskar då samtliga nödvändiga patent blir tillgängliga genom en enda licens. Vidare är också patentpooler en möjlighet för att förhindra låsningar patentinnehavare emellan, något som annars riskerar att förhindra vidareutveckling inom olika tekniska områden.

Både Kommissionen och de amerikanska konkurrensrättsmyndigheterna har förtydligat sina respektive förhållningssätt till patentpooler och andra licensavtal i Guidelines. Av dessa framgår att EU Kommissionen förhåller sig till poolning av patenträttigheter på ett sätt som på många sätt skiljer sig från det sätt som det amerikanska FTC och DoJ tolkar de konkurrensrättsliga problemen rörande dessa avtal.

I februari nästa år kommer den nuvarande Guidelines:en tillsammans med gruppundantagsförordningen TTBER att förfalla, Kommissionen har därför författat ett utkast som ska ersätta dessa. Patentpooler kommer fortsatt att uteslutas från möjligheten att gruppundantags, då dessa avtal är exkluderande från tillämpningen av TTBER både i den nuvarande förordningen och i utkastet. Däremot behandlas patent pooler i Guidelines:en, där de konkurrensrättsliga riskerna med dessa avtal tydligt identifieras. Vidare fastslås även huvudregeln att utbytbara patent inte får inkluderas i pooler, då detta antas skada konkurrensen. Denna huvudregel och Kommissionens förhållningssätt till inkluderingen av utbytbara paten i pooler utgör den största skillnaden mellan europarättslig reglering och amerikansk. Denna skillnad identifieras och problematiseras även av det amerikanska advokatsamfundet.

I min analys föreslår jag en renodlad effektanalys av inkluderingen av utbytbara patent i pooler. Detta för att möjliggöra en ökad användning av patentpooler inom EU. (Less)
Abstract
This thesis identifies the differences in the antitrust regulations concerning patent pooling within the EU and the U.S. Patent pooling enables firms to jointly licence their patents as a package, gathering patents that are necessary in order to produce a certain product. Patent pooling allows faster development at lower costs, since firms can attain all necessary patents through one single license. Patent pools also serve the purpose of unlocking blocking positions among patent holders; such blockages can otherwise hinder further development due to the risk of infringing others’ patents.

The European Commission and the U.S antitrust authorities have established their positions concerning patents and licensing of such rights in written... (More)
This thesis identifies the differences in the antitrust regulations concerning patent pooling within the EU and the U.S. Patent pooling enables firms to jointly licence their patents as a package, gathering patents that are necessary in order to produce a certain product. Patent pooling allows faster development at lower costs, since firms can attain all necessary patents through one single license. Patent pools also serve the purpose of unlocking blocking positions among patent holders; such blockages can otherwise hinder further development due to the risk of infringing others’ patents.

The European Commission and the U.S antitrust authorities have established their positions concerning patents and licensing of such rights in written guidelines. The approach on patent pooling held by the European Commission is, however, in several ways different from the approach held by U.S antitrust authorities (the FTC and the DoJ).

In February next year the current TTBER (block exemption regulation concerning technology transfer agreements) and the Guidelines will expire, the Commission therefore has drafted a new regulation as well as new Guidelines. Patent pooling has up until now, and will continuously be, excluded from block exemption, making the TTBER non-applicable on pooling arrangements. The approach on patent pools held by the Commission is therefore clarified only in the Guidelines, identifying the anticompetitive issues of patent pooling and establishing as a general rule that inclusion of substitutable patents in pools is regarded as anti-competitive. The general rule and the Commissions approach on substitute patents is the most prominent difference to the approach held by the FC and the DoJ. The drafted Guidelines are in some ways more lenient, but the approach held by the U.S antitrust authorities is still in many ways different, but the general rule still applies. This difference is also identified and questioned by the American Bar Association.

In my analysis I will, based on the above-identified differences, suggest an effects based assessment of inclusion of substitute patents, with the intention of benefiting patent pooling within the European Union. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Selander, Helena LU
supervisor
organization
course
JURM02 20132
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Immaterialrätt, Konkurrensrätt, Patentpooler, Patent pools
language
English
id
4230801
date added to LUP
2014-01-28 15:12:44
date last changed
2014-01-28 15:12:44
@misc{4230801,
  abstract     = {This thesis identifies the differences in the antitrust regulations concerning patent pooling within the EU and the U.S. Patent pooling enables firms to jointly licence their patents as a package, gathering patents that are necessary in order to produce a certain product. Patent pooling allows faster development at lower costs, since firms can attain all necessary patents through one single license. Patent pools also serve the purpose of unlocking blocking positions among patent holders; such blockages can otherwise hinder further development due to the risk of infringing others’ patents.

The European Commission and the U.S antitrust authorities have established their positions concerning patents and licensing of such rights in written guidelines. The approach on patent pooling held by the European Commission is, however, in several ways different from the approach held by U.S antitrust authorities (the FTC and the DoJ).

In February next year the current TTBER (block exemption regulation concerning technology transfer agreements) and the Guidelines will expire, the Commission therefore has drafted a new regulation as well as new Guidelines. Patent pooling has up until now, and will continuously be, excluded from block exemption, making the TTBER non-applicable on pooling arrangements. The approach on patent pools held by the Commission is therefore clarified only in the Guidelines, identifying the anticompetitive issues of patent pooling and establishing as a general rule that inclusion of substitutable patents in pools is regarded as anti-competitive. The general rule and the Commissions approach on substitute patents is the most prominent difference to the approach held by the FC and the DoJ. The drafted Guidelines are in some ways more lenient, but the approach held by the U.S antitrust authorities is still in many ways different, but the general rule still applies. This difference is also identified and questioned by the American Bar Association. 

In my analysis I will, based on the above-identified differences, suggest an effects based assessment of inclusion of substitute patents, with the intention of benefiting patent pooling within the European Union.},
  author       = {Selander, Helena},
  keyword      = {Immaterialrätt,Konkurrensrätt,Patentpooler,Patent pools},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {The assessment of patent pools under antitrust law, a comparative analysis},
  year         = {2013},
}