Patent Wars and Technology Transfer Agreements: Should the EU Rules Change?

Lorenzo Coppi, Stefano Trento, Apr 30, 2012

The European Commission has recently launched a consultation on whether the rules governing intellectual property licensing should be revised after April 2014, when the current Technology Transfer Block Exemption and Guidelines will expire.

The Commission has not yet put any proposal for reform on the table, choosing instead to canvass stakeholders’ opinions regarding the functioning of the TTBER and Guidelines in general. However, in order to stimulate the debate, the Commission has also commissioned an economic study on the interplay between Intellectual Property Rights and competition policy, which is intended to contribute to the Commission’s review of the TTBER and Guidelines.

The study, carried out by Professors Pierre Regibeau and Katharine Rockett, consists of an excellent review of the existing economic literature, supplemented at times by the authors’ own economic models covering principally the areas of cross-licensing, patent pools, grant-backs, and pass-through. The extensive review of the literature is commendable, especially given the rapidly evolving nature of economic research in this field, and provides a very useful base for discussing the interaction of competition and IPR policy.

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