The Intellectual Property and Antitrust Review: Editor's Preface

Intellectual property is taking a more and more central position in the global economy, and this is true not only in highly developed economies, but also in emerging ones. China and India, to take just two examples, are moving rapidly up the value chain and now have world-class technology companies for which intellectual property protection is crucial.

As the significance of intellectual property grows, so too does the relationship between intellectual property and antitrust law. Antitrust law constrains the exercise of intellectual property rights in certain circumstances, and both owners and users of intellectual property rights need to know how the two bodies of law interact and where antitrust draws lines for intellectual property. Intellectual property practitioners need to look beyond intellectual property laws themselves to understand the antitrust limits on the free exercise of rights.

The task of this book is, with respect to key jurisdictions globally, to provide an annual concrete and practical overview of developments on the relationship between antitrust and intellectual property. This sixth edition provides an update on recent developments, as well as an overview of the overall existing lay of the land regarding the relationship between the two bodies of law.

Key topics covered in this and future editions include the constraints imposed by antitrust on licensing, the circumstances under which a refusal to license intellectual property rights can be unlawful, the imposition of antitrust obligations on owners of standard-essential patents, the application of antitrust law to cross-border e-commerce, the growing importance of intellectual property issues in merger cases and the intense disputes regarding the application of antitrust law to patent settlements in the pharmaceutical industry.

As intellectual property continues to gain importance in the world economy, and as the number, resources and sophistication of antitrust authorities grows across the globe, new battles will be fought over the circumstances in which antitrust constrains intellectual property. Existing differences in the application of antitrust to intellectual property – already significant, and perhaps even greater than in intellectual property laws themselves – may grow, perhaps especially as more net intellectual property-consuming countries devote resources to antitrust enforcement. Future editions of this book will analyse these developments, and we hope the reader will find this to be a useful compilation and oft-consulted guide.

Finally, I would like to thank my team at Clifford Chance for their important contributions to this sixth edition of The Intellectual Property and Antitrust Review.

Thomas Vinje
Clifford Chance LLP
June 2021

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