Competition Law and FRAND: Developments and Challenges in India

This article is part of a Chronicle. See more from this Chronicle

Samir Gandhi, Fadi Metanios, Hemangini Dadwal, Oct 14, 2015

Enforcement of antitrust rules in India is comparatively recent, having only commenced in May 2009. Likewise, significant amendments to update India’s patent regime only took place 10 years ago. Nonetheless, India may soon become a key jurisdiction in determining the balance between intellectual property laws and competition laws that will continue to capture the attention of lawyers, economists and academics.

In recent years, tensions between those seeking to enforce their intellectual property rights and those seeking access to essential inputs have arisen in technology-driven industries such as the telecommunications and mobile devices industries. This is increasingly likely in India, which is expected to have the second largest user base of smartphones by 2016, second only to China and ahead of the United States.

India is also expected to grow into a major manufacturer of smartphones in the near future, with companies such as Samsung, HTC, Xiomi, and Lenovo (including Lenovo’s Motorola unit) shifting manufacturing capacity to India. Despite significant developments in relation to both IPRs and competition laws in India, it remains to be seen whether Indian courts and the Competition Commission of India (“CCI”) will navigate the regulatory waters to facilitate the continued growth of these industries in India.