The interface between competition law and intellectual property rights is constantly evolving as changes in technology push at the limits of competition and regulation. This is especially true for digital economy issues, for example ensuring access to content and protecting you during the move to digital distribution. We have also worked on the competition issues around the standardisation process, for example the strategic issues for intellectual property right owners and licensees if your rights become ‘standards’.
We have acted for companies in defending their IP strategies and as well as those seeking to gain access to products and services covered by IP rights using competition law arguments.
Our main focus has been on competition over the internet, in e-commerce and digital products and services and access to financial and market data. We also have substantial experience in supporting businesses in the pharmaceuticals, healthcare and sports and entertainment rights sectors.
In April 2011 the UK exemption in relation to land agreements was repealed leaving many restrictions over land subject to competition law for the first time. Restrictive covenants, such as those contained routinely in commercial developments for shopping malls and in outdoor advertising agreements are all likely to be affected. The review of land agreements to determine the enforceability of such restrictions (and their ability to attract fines) will be important exercise in understanding any risks posed by them for many businesses.