LAWSG158 Competition Law and Intellectual Property Rights

Credit value: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS, 150 learning hours)
Convenor: Ioannis Lianos
Other Teachers: Christopher Stothers
Damien Geradin
Teaching Delivery: 10 x 2-hour weekly seminars, Term One
Who may enrol: Any UCL Master’s student
Prerequisites: None
Must not be taken with: None
Qualifying module for: LLM in Comparative Law
LLM in Competition Law
LLM in Intellectual Property Law;
LLM in Law and Economics;
LLM in Litigation and Dispute Resolution
Introductory video
Practice Assessment: Opportunity for feedback on one optional practice essay
Final Assessment: One 2-hour unseen written examination (100%)
Module Overview
Module summary:

The module illustrates the interaction of competition law with policy tools promoting innovation, in particular competition law and intellectual property (IP) rights, and shows the way in which the law can work as a key instrument of innovation policy. This is the most dynamic and active area of competition law enforcement worldwide as this can be illustrated by the competition cases brought against hi tech firms, such as Microsoft, Intel, Google, Intel and the patent wars (and subsequent competition law battles) between global tech powerhouses, such as Apple and Samsung. These cases push competition law and intellectual property law to new boundaries and bring also forward the issue of establishing institutions that are aware of the challenge of protecting innovation and dynamic efficiency. The course will also explore the compatibility with competition law of various other instruments, than IP rights, that are used by States in order to promote innovation (e.g. patent boxes tax incentives etc). The subjects covered include:

  • Innovation policy and its interaction with competition law and IP law
  • The tension between sector-specific approaches to IP law and more horizontal approaches
  • Is IP law promoting innovation? Examples of alternative approaches
  • Competition law and monopolistic practices involving IP rights
  • vertical integration and related licensing practices by IP holders
  • horizontal restraints involving IP rights licensing
  • mechanisms integrating competition policy concerns within IP law (e.g. the patent misuse doctrine, compulsory licensing)
  • the interaction between competition law and IP rights in specific sectors such as pharmaceuticals, IT, the food industry, or software
  • The Sharing economy
  • Competition Law compatibility of alternative instruments to promote innovation
Module syllabus:

Topics examined include:

  • Introduction to the law and economics of competition law (antitrust law principles, objectives of antitrust law, interaction with IP rights)
  • Introduction to the Law and Economics of IP law and regulatory/non regulatory/open source alternatives
  • Competition policy beyond competition law: exhaustion doctrines
  • Unilateral monopolistic practices involving IP rights I (structure of Art. 102/Section 2 Sherman Act// refusals to license or sell IP rights)
  • Monopolistic Practices involving IP rights II : exclusionary practices: product design, interoperability, tying, bundling
  • Monopolistic Practices involving IP rights III: abusive IP litigation, use and abuse of regulatory procedures
  • Monopolistic Practices involving IP rights IV: Excessive royalties/exploitative abuses
  • Competition Law remedies in an IP context: the Microsoft and Google case studies, evaluation of IP rights
  • Standard setting and competition law
  • Compulsory licensing, Patent misuse doctrine, doctrine of equivalents, jurisdictional and procedural issues governing the antitrust/IP interface in Europe and in the United States
  • Antitrust analysis of technology and IP agreements
  • The sharing economy
  • The seminar will include case studies from various economic sectors: the food industry, pharma, IT sector, biotechnology, databases
Recommended materials:

  • Bohannan, C. and Hovenkamp, H. (2011). Creation without Restraint- Promoting Libert & Rivalry in Innovation. (Oxford University Press)
  • Maskus, K. (2012). Private Rights and Public Problems – The Global Economics of Intellectual Property in the 21st Century (Peterson Institute for International Economics)
  • Lianos, I., Korah, V. and Siciliani, P. (2017, forthcoming). Competition Law: Analysis, Cases and Materials. Chapters 13 and 14 (supplement). (Hart)

Module reading lists and other module materials will be provided via online module pages, once students have made their module selections upon enrolment.

Preliminary reading: