competition law and IP

Verweigerung von Geschäftsbeziehungen: Kartellrechtliche Analyse nach Schweizer, EU- und US-Recht

Die Arbeit ist einer Analyse von Art. 7 Abs. 2 Bst. a KG zur Verweigerung von Geschäftsbeziehungen (refusal to deal) gewidmet. Sie klärt in einem ersten Teil die relevanten Begrifflichkeiten. In der Folge wendet sie sich der Frage zu, was die Missbräuchlichkeit einer Verweigerung von Geschäftsbeziehungen ausmacht. Die im Kontext von Geschäftsverweigerungen aktuellen Themenkreise der Systemmarkttheorie, der relativen Marktmacht, der Kosten-Preis-Schere (margin squeeze), der Lizenzverweigerung (refusal to license) und der Essential Facilities-Doktrin werden dabei dogmatisch eingeordnet und erörtert. Ein letzter Teil identifiziert geeignete kartellrechtliche Massnahmen. Die Untersuchung der Missbräuchlichkeit basiert auf einer umfassenden Auslegung von Art. 7 Abs. 2 Bst. a KG. Sie berücksichtigt insbesondere die einschlägigen entstehungsgeschichtlichen, verfassungsrechtlichen und ökonomischen Grundlagen. Die Perspektive ist dabei durchgehend rechtsvergleichend, wodurch Erkenntnisse aus dem Recht der Europäischen Union und der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika in die Abhandlung einfliessen. Als zentrale Einsicht folgt aus der vorliegenden Untersuchung, dass eine Verweigerung von Geschäftsbeziehungen nur dann als unzulässig gelten sollte, wenn die nachgefragte Ressource unerlässlich ist für das Erbringen einer Innovationsleistung durch einen effizienten Nachfrager. Formalisiert wird diese Erkenntnis im Konzept der Innovationsindispensabilität.

Stämpfli Verlag AG, Bern 2017 (ISBN 978-3-7272-0520-0; 911 Seiten)

Reverse Payment Patent Settlements in the Pharmaceutical Sector Under EU and US Competition Laws: A Comparative Analysis

Within the tool-box developed by originator companies in order to prepare and respond to generic entry, a prominent position must be recognized to a category of patent strategies particularly controversial under antitrust scrutiny, i.e. patent settlement agreements, in particular in the form of reverse payment patent settlements (also called pay-for-delay settlements), due to the fact that they provide for the patentee to pay the alleged infringer, rather than the opposite, with the aim of delaying its market entry. It is a fact that reverse payment settlement agreements arise mainly in the pharmaceutical industry. The article firstly analyses US and EU regulatory frameworks in order to highlight similarities and differences between them. Then, it examines the relevant case law in both contexts with a view to conducting a comparative study. Finally, the article discusses the approaches to reverse payment patent settlements adopted by antitrust authorities and courts and their clashes with intellectual property law, and contains a final proposal for the assessment of these agreements.

Colangelo, Margherita. ‘Reverse Payment Patent Settlements in the Pharmaceutical Sector Under EU and US Competition Laws: A Comparative Analysis’. World Competition 40, no. 3 (2017): 471–504.

Predatory Bundling and the Exclusionary Standard

Recent decisions - all relying on a stylized example first provided by the Ortho court - hold that a multi-product seller that uses a bundled discount in a way that excludes an equally or more efficient competitor engages in predatory bundling. According to these decisions, a bundle can be considered predatory even when the price of the bundle exceeds its cost. The article offers evidence demonstrating that the Ortho's stylized example and its monopoly leveraging theory are erroneous. The article further shows that even when a bundle's price excludes more efficient competitors and even when a component in the bundle is priced below cost, and thus sold at a loss, it may still have welfare enhancing effects. The result is that bundles that fail the discount allocation test and even bundles that fail the Brooke Group test may still be desirable. The article provides a number of examples from the airline and telecommunication industries to illustrate that both exclusionary and below cost bundles can be not only welfare enhancing, but also very common. Keywords: Predatory Bundling, Bundled Discount, Package Discount, Predatory Pricing, Exclusionary Behavior, Antitrust, Industrial Organization JEL Classification: K21, L12, L41, L42

67 Wash & Lee L. Rev. 1231 (2010) (Lead Article)

Trademarks as a Media for False Advertising

This Article explores an unnoticed aspect of trademark law which in some instances may constitute a license to cheat. It shows that under certain circumstances a seller can use its own trademark to mislead its customers, free from legal sanction, in contexts where the same behavior would be sanctioned if the seller used other advertising media. The Article then explores how an alternate conception of the economic function of trademarks can be used to understand the informational value of trademarks and their advertising function. After identifying circumstances appropriate for legal intervention, the Article concludes with a proposal for a new interpretation of the false advertising provision in the Lanham Act to eliminate this disparity. Keywords: Fraud, False Advertising, Trademark Fraud, Fanciful Marks, Error Costs, Regulation of Information, Economic Analysis, Brands

31 Cardozo. L. Rev. 327 (2009) (Lead Article)

Getting the Word Out: The Informational Function of Trademarks

This article challenges the statement that “the only legally relevant function of a trademark is to impart information as to the source of the product.” Information about the source of the product undoubtedly helps the consumer choose the product she wants from a set of possible products. This article argues, however, that the informational function of trademarks is broader: in addition to providing information about the source, a trademark often provides information that reduces consumers’ uncertainty about the product’s qualities and impacts purchasing decisions. Specifically, this article shows that a trademark not only helps the consumer choose the product she wants, but it can also help her decide how many units she should purchase of that product. This article then draws on several examples to illustrate that the reduction in consumers’ uncertainty enhances welfare but that under certain conditions it may be used by unscrupulous sellers to defraud customers. Drawing on these insights, this article turns to explain different types of regulations, the optimal investment in trademarks, and offers an alternative explanation as to why trademark law allows sellers to use “deceptively misdescriptive” marks. Keywords: trademarks, marks, brands, search costs, information, false advertising, interbrand, intrabrand, signaling, branding, regulation, market mechanisms, fraud, strategies, law and economics JEL Classification: D11, D81, D82, D83, D84, K00, K13, K39, L15, M37

41 Ariz. St. L.J. 991 (2009)

Famous Trademarks and The Rational Basis For Protecting Irrational Beliefs

Contrary to the traditional view, this article argues that mega-brands are neither economic evils nor limited to imparting information about the products they adorn. It also rejects the view that famous marks persuade “snobs” to “irrationally” pay more for the same physical product they could have purchased for less. Rather, it adopts the view that in purchasing a branded good, the consumer is actually purchasing a bundle of three products: a physical product, information about the physical product, and an intangible product, such as fame, prestige, peace of mind, or a pleasant feeling. This article explores the demand for the intangible product and its impact on pricing, welfare, and the strategies of consumers and producers. It concludes that under certain conditions one may witness the anomaly of an increase in both price and output. Further, contrary to conspicuous goods theory, this analysis shows that snobbism may occur in the traditional downward-sloping demand curves and is not limited to goods with conspicuous properties. A direct implication of this analysis is that mega-brands neither confer a monopoly nor foster price discrimination. On the contrary, they enhance competition in both the physical and intangible spheres. Further, the analysis provides a rational basis for anti-dilution law. Anti-dilution law - widely considered to protect producers and injure consumers - actually inures to the benefit of both groups. Finally, this analysis shows that even snobs are rational, and that there are sound economic justifications for the law’s unique protection of famous marks. Keywords: famous trademarks, mega brands, persuasive advertising, branding, intangible product, snobs, conspicuous goods, irrational consumers, social norms, anti-dilution, externality, intellectual property, price discrimination, tying, antitrust, psychological value

14 Geo. Mason L. Rev. 605 (2007) (Lead Article)

Intellectual property, standards, and antitrust: a new life for the essential facilities doctrine? Some insights from the Chinese regulation

It is still controversial whether the intellectual property-antitrust interface should be viewed as a conflict or a finalistic convergence. The recent Chinese Regulation on the “Prohibition of Conduct Eliminating or Restricting Competition by Abusing Intellectual Property Rights” provides the opportunity to update the analysis of this real (or apparent) conflict.

(with R. Pardolesi) in P. Drahos, G. Ghidini, H. Ullrich (eds.), “Kritika: Essays on Intellectual Property”, Edward Elgar, 2017, 70