Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Recent Korea Fair Trade Commission developments to affect IP practices

By Kee-Hong Chun, Attorney at law

The intersection between competition law and intellectual property law has been a contentious issue and one that is currently increasing in Korea. 

The Korea Fair Trade Commission (“KFTC”) recently recognized the abuse of intellectual property rights as a priority for enforcement. To this end, the KFTC amended the “Guidelines on the Examination of the Exercise of Intellectual Property Rights”, which came into effect on April 7th, 2010, to provide guidance and set forth scenarios illustrating the possible unfair exercise of intellectual property rights in licensing (including cross-licensing), patent-pooling and standard-setting activities. In 2010 and 2011, the KFTC conducted intellectual property right abuse surveys in the pharmaceutical, IT, chemical and machinery industries. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Pleas in law and main arguments in Microsoft/Skype case released

By Till Patrik Holterhus, MLE.

As covered earlier on the Berkeley Global Antitrust Blog on October 19th, 2011 and March 16th, 2012 the European Commission's clearence of the Microsoft/Skype merger was brought to the General Court by Cisco and Messagenet. Two days ago, on April 14th, 2012 the pleas in law and main arguments were released in the Official Journal of the European Union:

"1. First plea in law, alleging that the European Commission committed a manifest error of assessment in holding that the merger would not raise any anti-competitive horizontal concerns in the consumer unified communications markets. In this connection, the applicants stress that the merger leads to combined market shares of more than 80 % in the narrowest possible market examined in the decision (video call services to consumers on Windows-based PC). Both the combination of powerful network effects accruing to the largest installed base of users and the merging company’s full control of the Windows Operating System and other adjacent applications will reinforce the dominant position and eliminate any incentive which the merged entity may have to offer interoperability with competing products;

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The DOJ believes that Apple is forcing you to pay more for e-books (Article)

By Pola Karolczyk, Attorney at law, LL.M. candidate

On Wednesday the world of antitrust became abuzz with the news that the DOJ filed a lawsuit against Apple for its alleged participation in an e-books pricing scheme with the leading publishers: Hachette Book Group (USA), HarperCollins Publishers L.L.C. and Simon & Schuster Inc., Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC (which does business as Macmillan) and Penguin Group (USA). 

The DOJ complaint alleges that these 5 publishers “agreed among themselves and with Apple to raise the retail prices of e-books by taking control of e-book pricing from retailers in order to stop the expansion of Amazon and its platform – Kindle”. The DOJ case will proceed only against Apple and two publishers: Macmillan and Penguin. The other three publishers – Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster – decided to accept the settlement offered by the DOJ.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

European Commission opens an investigation against Motorola Mobility Inc.

By Urska Petrovcic, Ph.D candidate at the European University Institute, Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley

On April 3rd, the European Commission opened a formal investigation against Motorola Mobility Inc., a developer of smart-phones and tablets, and the owner of several patents declared essential for industry standards, such as the second and third generation ("2G" and "3G") mobile and wireless telecommunications standards. The Commission will investigate whether Motorola used its standard essential patents (SEPs) in a way which distorts competition in the EU market, thus violating the prohibitions of Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). More precisely, the investigation will evaluate whether by seeking and enforcing injunctions against Apple and Microsoft, Motorola failed to honor the commitments made to the standard setting organizations to license its essential patents on a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) basis, and whether such behavior amounts to an abuse of a dominant position. The Commission will also evaluate whether the licensing conditions offered by Motorola are, as alleged by Apple and Microsoft, unfair, and hence violate Article 102 TFEU.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012