Washington DC
17 January 2017
Reporter: Barney Dixon

FTC and DOJ update IP licensing guidelines


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and US Department of Justice (DOJ) have updated their 1995 Antitrust Guidelines for the Licensing of Intellectual Property.

This update will modernise the guidelines and create a stronger licensing system that will benefit consumers and increase innovation, according to Edith Ramirez, chair of the FTC.

“The commission reaffirms its commitment to an economically grounded approach to anti-trust analysis of IP licensing,” she said.

“A strong and competitive IP licensing system benefits consumers and fosters innovation, by helping to ensure that inventors realize an appropriate return on their investment.”

The guidelines were available for public comment in 2016, and the agencies received some resistance from commenters for the guidelines to more specifically address additional IP licensing activities.

In response, the agencies reiterated that the flexible effects based enforcement framework remains “applicable to all IP areas”.

Renata Hesse, acting assistant attorney general of the DOJ’s anti-trust division, said: “Our modernised IP licensing guidelines continue to apply an effects based analysis that puts the focus on evaluating harm to competition, not on harm to any individual competitor, and support procompetitive intellectual property licensing that can promote innovation.”

“The comments we received were helpful in completing this update and also serve more broadly to better our understanding of some of today’s very complex antitrust issues that involve intellectual property rights.”

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