The Relationship Between Intellectual Property Law and Competition Law: An Economic Approach
This paper presents an economic analysis of the relationship between Intellectual Property (IP) Law and Competition Law. Contrary to some of the recent debate, our analysis emphasises the separation of IP Law and Competition Law: IP law should concern itself with assigning and defending intellectual property rights, while Competition Law should concern itself with the use of those rights. This separation extends to the enforcement of the law as well, where we argue that once property rights have been assigned, no further distinction based on intellectual or non-intellectual property should be made. While the IP/Competition Law interface has some specificity due to the types of behaviours that tend to arise more frequently where IP is concerned, we argue for a set of principles for Competition Policy that include restraint, a commitment not to revisit ex post the rights granted by IP law, and a commitment to make large changes in property right regimes only when very large changes in ex post regulation occur.
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