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Understanding the Interface between Competition Law and Intellectual Property Rights

27 September 2019

Manila, 27 September 2019 – officials from competition and intellectual property authorities from all ASEAN Member States gathered to discuss the interfacing issues between competition law and intellectual property rights. Both competition and intellectual property laws share the common purpose of promoting innovation and enhancing consumer welfare.

Dr Arsenio Balisacan, Chairman of the Philippines Competition Commission (PCC) remarked that “…there are objectives that competition policy and IPR share; that is, to promote innovation, contribute to economic growth, and enhance the quality and enjoyment of life of the people.” He continues to reiterate that “…finding the right balance between competition policy and IPR is easy to say but difficult to do. This task is even more difficult for developing countries as we must also take into account development considerations in our approach to the competition-IPR interface.”

Mr Andrew Himert, Counsel for Asian Competition Affairs, US Federal Trade Commission (USFTC), reiterated that competition promotes innovation by preserving incentives for firms to engage in research and development in order to be the first to enter a market or improve market position.

While Intellectual property law provides incentives for innovation by establishing enforceable property rights, competition law promotes innovation and consumer welfare by prohibiting certain actions that may harm competition. Acquiring intellectual property rights however, will not immediately result to an abuse of competition law.

The two-day Workshop deliberated on the forms of anti-competitive that results to an abuse of market power by a patent holder such as the refusal to license, excessive pricing, unfair or discriminatory licensing, anti-competitive use of the standard-essential patent (SEPs), concluding anti-competitive agreements, and abuse of dominance by delaying market entry of competitors.

The participants exchanged views on case examples on intellectual property rights within the pharmaceutical sectors, and engaged in a group discussion to assess the application of competition law in hypothetical cases involving intellectual property rights.

The Workshop was organised by the Commission for the Supervision of Business Competition (KPPU), with support from the Philippines Competition Commission (PCC) and the ASEAN Secretariat, as part of the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) Competition Policy Law Project Phase II.