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This article analyses some of the important decisions of the European Court of Justice and the Commission on abuse of dominant position and intellectual property rights. The Court of Justice has recognised that the holder of an intellectual property right, where he is in a dominant position, is likely to abuse that position if he refuses to supply the product of his right to a competitor and the Commission has applied this principle. In the IMS judgment, the Court summarised the Bronner and Magill judgments. It first recalled the necessary condition laid down in the Bronner case: the refusal to supply the product of its right to a competitor can infringe Article 82 of the EC Treaty only if that product is indispensable to the exercise of the activity of that competitor. It then applied the three cumulative and sufficient conditions of the Magill case: (i) the refusal must prevent the appearance of a new product for which there is potential consumer demand; (ii) it must be devoid of justification; (iii) it must be such as to exclude all competition on a derivative market. Compared to the Bronner and Magill judgments, the Court has clarified here that the necessary condition is a precondition for the analysis of any other condition. Furthermore, it has made it clear that the other three conditions are sufficient. Without itself deciding the question of the legality of IMS’s conduct, the Court gave clear guidance to the referring judge. In particular, it considered that the condition relating to the emergence of a new product was not satisfied in the present case since the competitor had no other plan than to reproduce an existing product.
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