The relation between intellectual property rights and competition law are very related and intricately positioned to meet the needs of business. Intellectual property rights deal with exclusive rights that function within a specified market which deals with the rights that accrue out of selling and producing products. The most important criteria for the production and sale of these products related to intellectual property rights is that the products should arise out of the intellect of the seller. The innovations and the inventions related to the products are protected by patent, copyright and trademark. Another important aspect of intellectual property rights that govern these products are that of trade secrets. Intellectual property rights also designate the boundaries within which these products shall be protected and also within the jurisdiction the competitors shall have the right to exercise their domain (Janis et al 2016).
Competition law on the other hand regulated fair competition in the market and designates that authors shall exercise transparency and fair marketing strategies so as to place them effectively in the market. Therefore, the relation between intellectual property rights and competition law is that the goals and objectives of both the laws remain same: fair marketing so as to serve the goals of a welfare society. The aim should not be to promote individual goals but to promote collective benefit of the society. Intellectual property creates a competition to promote investments and the nature of competition should be flourishing and not static (May 2015). The interface between the two should be to drive out monopolistic market so that competitors who have a benefit over others should be placed in such a way so that there is a horizontal competition in the market. Patents have always been considered to be monopolies and therefore the patent protection regime under trademark law when tread with the provisions of intellectual property rights, it should be stated that though patents are considered monopolies, patent pooling advances the intent of a welfare society where everyone gains from the same (Bently and Sherman 2014).
Licensing contract is one area of competition policy that helps in tracking the exploitation of market power that helps in reviewing and checking anticompetitive licensing contracts. Licensing contracts are by nature exclusive and therefore they prevent third parties from encroaching upon the rights of the rightful owners. When IPR and competition law come into play, there is a diffusion of technology and an exploitation of the technological know-hows. By patenting these technologies, the IPR holders shall enjoy the returns and they will be incentivized to pursue more innovations.
Technology transfer is another aspect that involves the combined efforts of two laws, that is IPR and competition law. Whenever there is technology transfer, it might so happen that there is flow of competition but on the negative side, it also happens that there is a restriction on competition as they deal with exclusive dealing and territorial exclusivities (Whish and Bailey 2015).
Patent pools are also the subject matter of cross licensing as they have many pro-competitive advantages and they help in shielding unwanted and unlawful licensing activities. The pooling companies that indulge in ensuring that there is a pool of patents, the companies also come together to make sure that there is a bank of research and development that is utilized by many in the society. Therefore, it has a competitive advantage as it advances the technological advancement and also helps in innovation. With the help of Free Trade Agreements, intellectual property rights are protected along with the right to enter into a competitive market.
In India, competition law has not come in proper form and there are some lacuna in implementing their laws. The Competition law regulations are of the opinion that whenever there is a violation of competition law, there shall be no infringement. With the help of cross licensing, it has also come to the knowledge of most sellers that there might be a cross between the competitions and the intellectual assets of one country might be utilized by another, therefore, cross licensing helps in promoting the national and international boundaries and help in diffusion of knowledge and innovation. Therefore, these two laws complement each other and help in the promotion of technology and innovation. These two laws work together to make sure that there is no conflict in their jurisdiction and that they have similar goals that diverge into similar objectives.
Bently, L. and Sherman, B., 2014. Intellectual property law. Oxford University Press, USA.
Janis, M.D., Hovenkamp, H., Lemley, M.A., Leslie, C. and Carrier, M.A., 2016. IP and antitrust: an analysis of antitrust principles applied to intellectual property law. Wolters Kluwer Law & Business.
May, C., 2015. The global political economy of intellectual property rights: The new enclosures. Routledge.
Whish, R. and Bailey, D., 2015. Competition law. Oxford University Press, USA.