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Territoriella begränsningar i patentlicenser ur ett konkurrensrättsligt perspektiv

Neumann, Bruno LU (2016) LAGF03 20161
Department of Law
Faculty of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Det är vanligt att patentlicensavtal innehåller territoriella begränsningar som syftar till att dela upp marknader eller kundgrupper mellan licensgivaren och licenstagaren. Dessa begränsningar – ofta nödvändiga i licensavtal – förekommer för att minska den ekonomiska risken med licensen. Utnyttjandet av licensierad teknologi kräver ofta betydande investeringar och utan det territoriella skyddet kan potentiella licenstagare bli avskräckta från att ingå licensavtal. Licensiering av patenträttigheter anses samtidigt i sig ha betydande konkurrensfrämjande aspekter. Den konkurrensrättsliga frågan är om territoriella begränsningar är förenliga med förbudet mot konkurrensbegränsande avtal i artikel 101(1) FEUF. I denna uppsats undersöker jag... (More)
Det är vanligt att patentlicensavtal innehåller territoriella begränsningar som syftar till att dela upp marknader eller kundgrupper mellan licensgivaren och licenstagaren. Dessa begränsningar – ofta nödvändiga i licensavtal – förekommer för att minska den ekonomiska risken med licensen. Utnyttjandet av licensierad teknologi kräver ofta betydande investeringar och utan det territoriella skyddet kan potentiella licenstagare bli avskräckta från att ingå licensavtal. Licensiering av patenträttigheter anses samtidigt i sig ha betydande konkurrensfrämjande aspekter. Den konkurrensrättsliga frågan är om territoriella begränsningar är förenliga med förbudet mot konkurrensbegränsande avtal i artikel 101(1) FEUF. I denna uppsats undersöker jag följaktligen gällande EU-konkurrensrätt med avseende på territoriella begränsningar i patentlicensavtal. Vidare identifierar jag och diskuterar de överväganden och skäl som anförs för att bedöma dessa begränsningars konkurrensrättsliga förenlighet.

I uppsatsen visas att gällande EU-konkurrensrätt tillåter relativt långtgående territoriella begränsningar även om de faktiskt begränsar konkurrensen mellan avtalsparterna och andra licenstagare. En betydligt mer nyanserad bedömning är därför påkallad vid bedömningen av om territoriella begränsningar i patentlicensavtal har till syfte eller resultat att begränsa konkurrensen inom den inre marknaden i den mening som framgår av artikel 101(1) FEUF. Regleringen av vilka begränsningar är tillåtna respektive otillåtna är detaljrik och beroende av flera faktorer. I uppsatsen diskuteras om det är möjligt att helt avskärma nationella marknader genom upplåtandet av ett absolut områdesskydd i ljuset av de ändamål som artikel 101(1) FEUF är avsedd att förverkliga. Slutsatsen som dras är att ändamålen marknadsintegration och konsumentvälfärd blir särskilt avgörande för gränsdragningen mellan tillåtna respektive otillåtna territoriella begränsningar i patentlicensavtal enligt gällande EU-konkurrensrätt. (Less)
Abstract
Current EU competition law recognizes the importance of patent licensing and its pro-competitive effects consisting of, inter alia, the dissemination of technology and products within the internal market. Territorial restraints, common in licensing agreements, have as their objective to partition markets and consumer groups between the licensor and the licensee. Potential licensees are often unwilling to enter into a contract, deterred by the commercial risks associated with the license, unless the licensor grants them a certain degree of territorial exclusivity. Therefore, territorial restrains form an integral part of a licensing agreement but may, however, pursuant to the rules of competition law, be regarded as anti-competitive... (More)
Current EU competition law recognizes the importance of patent licensing and its pro-competitive effects consisting of, inter alia, the dissemination of technology and products within the internal market. Territorial restraints, common in licensing agreements, have as their objective to partition markets and consumer groups between the licensor and the licensee. Potential licensees are often unwilling to enter into a contract, deterred by the commercial risks associated with the license, unless the licensor grants them a certain degree of territorial exclusivity. Therefore, territorial restrains form an integral part of a licensing agreement but may, however, pursuant to the rules of competition law, be regarded as anti-competitive collusion. This paper assesses whether territorial restraints in patent licenses are compatible with the prohibition against agreements that restrict competition within the meaning of article 101(1) TFEU. Furthermore, it seeks to identify and discuss the reasoning behind the (in)compatibility of these restraints with competition law within the context of patent licensing.

The legal analysis shows that EU competition law is compatible with certain forms of territorial restrains in patent licensing agreements, even though the restraints may, prima facie, be regarded as anti-competitive pursuant to article 101(1) TFEU. It is therefore argued that a refined analysis is necessary in order to evaluate compatibility of these restrictions with EU competition law. A boundary for the degree of territorial exclusivity that may be granted to licensees is however delimited by the policy goals of the Treaty of the European Union and competition law. It is discussed whether an extensive partitioning of the inner market through the means of granting absolute territorial protection for patent licensees is compatible with competition law pursuant to its goals of market integration and consumer welfare. (Less)
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author
Neumann, Bruno LU
supervisor
organization
course
LAGF03 20161
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
Konkurrensrätt, EU-rätt, patentlicens, territoriella begränsningar, territoriell exklusivitet.
language
Swedish
id
8873726
date added to LUP
2016-07-04 08:40:32
date last changed
2016-07-04 08:40:32
@misc{8873726,
  abstract     = {Current EU competition law recognizes the importance of patent licensing and its pro-competitive effects consisting of, inter alia, the dissemination of technology and products within the internal market. Territorial restraints, common in licensing agreements, have as their objective to partition markets and consumer groups between the licensor and the licensee. Potential licensees are often unwilling to enter into a contract, deterred by the commercial risks associated with the license, unless the licensor grants them a certain degree of territorial exclusivity. Therefore, territorial restrains form an integral part of a licensing agreement but may, however, pursuant to the rules of competition law, be regarded as anti-competitive collusion. This paper assesses whether territorial restraints in patent licenses are compatible with the prohibition against agreements that restrict competition within the meaning of article 101(1) TFEU. Furthermore, it seeks to identify and discuss the reasoning behind the (in)compatibility of these restraints with competition law within the context of patent licensing.

The legal analysis shows that EU competition law is compatible with certain forms of territorial restrains in patent licensing agreements, even though the restraints may, prima facie, be regarded as anti-competitive pursuant to article 101(1) TFEU. It is therefore argued that a refined analysis is necessary in order to evaluate compatibility of these restrictions with EU competition law. A boundary for the degree of territorial exclusivity that may be granted to licensees is however delimited by the policy goals of the Treaty of the European Union and competition law. It is discussed whether an extensive partitioning of the inner market through the means of granting absolute territorial protection for patent licensees is compatible with competition law pursuant to its goals of market integration and consumer welfare.},
  author       = {Neumann, Bruno},
  keyword      = {Konkurrensrätt,EU-rätt,patentlicens,territoriella begränsningar,territoriell exklusivitet.},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Territoriella begränsningar i patentlicenser ur ett konkurrensrättsligt perspektiv},
  year         = {2016},
}