Innovative to Abuse? Exploring the interactions between IP and competition law

On October 29th, 2008, McGill’s Centre for Intellectual Property Policy (CIPP), McMillan LLP and the European Union Center of Excellence, under the leadership of Professor Pierre-Emmanuel Moyse and Patrick Goudreau, held its inaugural Competition and Innovation colloquium on the theme: “Innovative to Abuse? Exploring the Interactions between Intellectual Property and Competition Law.”

In an economy where the capacity to innovate is conceived of as the driving force of today’s economy, intellectual property rights (IPRs) have generally been presented as being instrumental to such progress. In the last decade however, critics started to see in IPRs a potential for abuse, causing prejudice to fair competition and consumer welfare.

A recent decision of the European Commission in the Microsoft case reflects this concern that dominant players are using IPRs strategically to erect entry barriers and “lock out” competitors in a way that leaves “little scope for innovation.” According to the Commission, an order “require[ing] Microsoft to refrain from fully enforcing any of its intellectual property rights … would be justified by the need to put an end to the abuse.” Similarly, cases such as Kraft Canada v. Euro-Excellence in Canada, and In re Rambus in the United States, have become battlegrounds for innovation, IPRs and competition law and policy.

CIPP’s colloquium presented a unique opportunity for students, policy-makers, scholars and legal practitioners from Canada, the United States and Europe to hear and examine lessons learned from recent cases and to explore interactions between innovation and competition law in today’s rapidly-changing markets.

This content has been updated on August 19, 2015 at 9:32.