Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Intellectual Property Rights and Their Interface with Competition Policy: In Balance or in Conflict?
Posted by D. Daniel Sokol
ABSTRACT: Intellectual property rights create monopolies, while competition law battles monopolies. How do the two polices interact? Is there a balance or conflict? In this light, the present paper examined the survey of economic literature analyzing the interaction between intellectual property rights laws and competition policy and how the boundary between these two polices is drawn in practice. Further, paper examines the experience of a number of countries in grappling with the problems of reconciling the two fields of competition policy and intellectual property rights. The paper concludes that possible friction between IPRs and competition laws can be reduced if competition agencies are constrained, either by statutes or administrative policy from seeking to fine tune IPR protection. The paper has been divided into four sections. Section 1 deals with the rationality of protecting intellectual property rights. Section 2 explores the debate of conflict between the objectives of intellectual property rights and competition policy. In section 3, an attempt has been made to study the interface between intellectual property rights and competition policy and draw the attention to a number of specific issues which has arisen in the recent years. In section 4 concluding remarks are given.