Glossary of competition terms

This Glossary is based on definitions from DG COMP’s Glossary of terms used in EU competition policy (© European Union, 2002) and the OECD’s Glossary of industrial organisation economics and competition law (© OECD, 1993). Each term is enriched with references of national case laws from the e-Competitions Bulletin and Concurrences Review.

Intellectual property right (IPR)

General term for the assignment of property rights through, e.g., patents, copyrights or trademarks. These property rights give the holder the exclusive right to exploit the innovation. The holder thus has monopoly power on the use of the item, normally for a specified period of time and within a specific geographic area. This power allows the holder of an intellectual property right to restrict imitation and duplication of the product concerned. IPRs prevent free riding by other companies and constitute an incentive to undertake R&D efforts.

© European Commision

The general term for the assignment of property rights through patents, copyrights and trademarks. These property rights allow the holder to exercise a monopoly on the use of the item for a specified period. By restricting imitation and duplication, monopoly power is conferred, but the social costs of monopoly power may be offset by the social benefits of higher levels of creative activity encouraged by the monopoly earnings.