In Search of a Problem: The Interface of Car Body Part Design Protection with Antitrust

By Nuno Pires de Carvalho

The interface of intellectual property with antitrust has many facets, and one that has surfaced in recent years is the acquisition of market power by the owners of designs as regards car body parts. Such power results from the lock-in of car buyers who need to have their cars repaired after an accident, to whom the costs of changing the model is higher than paying the price for spare parts as high as their makers may decide. Enforcing design rights against independent makers and/or importers of car body parts on the aftermarket hurts competition and consumers, and …

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