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 EU and national case laws from the e-Competitions Bulletin and Concurrences Review.


Intellectual property rights (IPRs) such as patents and trademarks give the developer certain exclusive rights over the exploitation of his work, such as in production and commerce. However, within the EU, the exclusive right cannot be used to artificially split up the common market along national borders. Therefore, the holder of an IPR in a Member State cannot oppose the import of a product protected by the IPR into that Member State, where that product was already put on the market in another Member State by the holder or with his consent. To this extent the holder’s IPR is considered to be exhausted. The principle of exhaustion does not apply with regard to products put on the market in third countries. © European Commission

See also Intellectual property right