Brussels

Standard settings: Implications for European competition law and policy

Law & Economics workshop organized by Concurrences in partnership with Shearman & Sterling and Compass Lexecon.

DG COMPETITION’S PERSPECTIVE - EU COMPETITION LAW ENFORCEMENT: A LIMITED, BUT KEY, ROLE TO PLAY

Thomas Kramler (DG COMP)

The European Commission has observed a number of trends in patenting in recent years, such as the increasing number of granted patents in specific sectors, more strategic use of patents and more declarations of standard essential patents in standard setting organisations (“SSOs”). One specific aspect has, in particular, caught the attention of the Commission in its role as enforcer of EU antitrust rules: the recourse of holders of standard essential patents (“SEPs”) to injunctive relief in national proceedings and the related possibility for SEP holders to “hold-up” licensees.

As the Commission pointed out in the Google/Motorola merger decision, the seeking of an injunction or indeed the actual enforcement of an injunction against a willing licensee may significantly impede effective competition by forcing the implementer into agreeing to potentially higher royalties or onerous licensing terms which it would otherwise not have agreed to. The Commission is however of the opinion that it may be legitimate for an SEP holder to seek an injunction against a potential licensee which is not willing to enter into a licence on FRAND terms and conditions.

Photos © Emilie Gomez

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Speakers

  • Compass Lexecon (Brussels)
  • European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
  • Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan (Brussels)