Competition Law and Standard Essential Patents;
Testing the Limits of Extra-territorial Enforcement
The Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies is pleased to announce the third Florence Competition Programme (FCP) Annual Conference, which will take place at the European University Institute (EUI) campus in Florence on 12 October 2018. The conference aims to gather academics, practitioners, officials from National Competition Authorities (NCAs) and representatives of the industry in order to discuss the challenges linked to the extra-territorial enforcement of competition law vis a vis abuses of Standard Essential Patents (SEPs).
The enforcement of competition law vis a vis SEPs has been a hot topic in NCAs’ agenda during the past years. Although there is general consensus on the types of anti-competitive conducts linked to SEPs, a number of questions remain open in relation to the enforcement of competition law. The Conference will focus in particular on three inter-related issues.
The first question is about under what conditions the royalty rate requested by the SEP owner to license the patent can indeed be considered “fair” and “reasonable” and negotiated with potential licensees in accordance with “non-discriminatory terms”. In Europe, a number of German courts have recently faced this question in applying to concrete cases the negotiation steps identified by the CJEU in Huawei. Similarly, in its recent ruling in Unwired Planet, the High Court of England and Wales provided important guidelines on the application of the FRAND criteria to a concrete case.
A second important question discussed in the context of the second panel of the FCP Annual Conference concerns the limits of extra-territorial enforcement of competition law vis a vis abuses of SEPs. The latter is an issue of growing relevance in view of the global dimension of SEPs. For instance, the corrective measures recently imposed by Korea Free Trade Commission (KFTC) on Qualcomm have a global scope of application. The question is whether and to what extent NCAs and national courts can impose competition law remedies that go beyond the geographic boundaries of their jurisdiction and how effectively they can monitor their application.
The last issue to be discussed in the context of the final conference round-table concerns the role of Standard Setting Organizations (SSOs) in preventing competition law infringements by SEP owners. In particular, the Communication published by the EU Commission on SEPs in November 2017 calls for SSOs to have a more active role in this area, in order to avoid judicial disputes between the parties. In particular, every SSO should establish an updated database including a detailed list of SEPs applicable to each industry standard. Secondly, the SEP declaration should be sufficiently detailed to clarify the exact scope of application of the patent vis-à-vis the standard. Finally, SEPs should be subject to reliable scrutiny of their essentiality for a standard. The Communication is a soft law instrument; the question is whether any further legislative action will follow the Communication, and secondly whether SSOs will comply with the recommendations included in the Communication.
Register for conference here.
The participation fee is 250€.
The conference fee can be waived for full time academics, officials from National Competition Authorities as well as representatives of firms sponsoring the FCP project.
Representatives of FCP Donors may be invited to speak at the event.
For further information on how to become a Donor of Florence Competition Programme please have a look here.
How to reach us
Please keep in mind when booking your tickets that Florence is also well connected to Pisa and Bologna airports.
Pisa is 80 km away and it served by both trains (1h15) and buses (50 minutes)
Bologna is 100 km away and it is served by high speed trains - Trenitalia or Italo (30 minutes from Bologna central station to Florence main station of Santa Maria Novella). From the airport to Bologna train station about 30 minutes by bus.
A shuttle bus will be organized from Florence central station to the conference venue before and after the conference.
The conference will take place on 12 October 2018 from 9.30 to 17.30. An optional social programme will be organized after the conference.
The programme of the event and the online registration will be available in the coming months.