Go back

Commission plans tighter scrutiny of IP licensing deals

The European Commission has proposed to tighten EU rules on intellectual property in technology transfer agreements.

These agreements define in particular how the owner of intellectual property rights allows another party to exploit a patent, know-how or software copyright—usually for royalties.

The Commission says such licensing deals help to disseminate innovation, but can also stifle business competition. “For instance, two competitors could use a license agreement to divide markets between them or an important licensor could exclude competing technologies from the market through conditions in its licensing agreements,” the Commission explains.

The updated regime, to be adopted before April 2014, aims to prevent unfair practices, stimulate competition and boost incentives for research and innovation. The proposals modify the existing Technology Transfer Block Exemption Regulations, which define criteria for acceptable licensing agreements from the point of view of EU competition law.

In addition, the revised rules introduces provisions on “patent pools”, when more than two parties are involved in a licensing agreement.

Comments on the Commission’s plans can be submitted until 17 May as part of a public consultation.