Injunctive Relief in FRAND Disputes in the EU – Intellectual Property and Competition Law at the Remedies Stage

42 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2017  

Pierre Larouche

Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC); College of Europe - Bruges; Tilburg University - Tilburg Law School; Center on Regulation in Europe (CERRE)

Nicolo Zingales

University of Sussex Law School; Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC); Tilburg University - Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT); Stanford University - Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society

Date Written: February 1, 2017

Abstract

In dealing with applications for injunctive relief by the holders of FRAND-encumbered SEPs in the course of protracted licensing negotiations, any legal system faces the challenge of reaching the proper balance between predictability for stakeholders and differentiation between possible scenarios (tough negotiations, holdup, holdout or exclusion). In the EU, that challenge fell to be addressed first under the various national laws concerning remedies for intellectual property violations, as partially harmonized by Directive 2004/48. The outcome was not optimal. After German courts introduced competition law in the equation in Orange Book, the European Commission felt compelled to intervene with a different approach in Motorola and Samsung, leading to a reference to the CJEU in Huawei v ZTE. That ruling sets out an elaborate choreography that SEP holder and implementer must respect, in order to avoid breaching Article 102 TFEU or avert injunctive relief, respectively. Huawei represents a satisfactory compromise in practice, but its theoretical foundation in competition law is not solid. Subsequent case-law has unmoored Huawei from competition law and is turning it into a stand-alone lex specialis for injunctions in FRAND cases. In the longer run, legislative intervention might be preferable to de facto harmonization via competition law.

Keywords: Competition law; Injunctive relief; Licensing negotiations; Europe; Harmonization; Holdup; Holdout; Exclusion; France; Germany; United Kingdom; Italy; Netherlands

JEL Classification: K21, L40, O32, O34, O38

Suggested Citation

Larouche, Pierre and Zingales, Nicolo, Injunctive Relief in FRAND Disputes in the EU – Intellectual Property and Competition Law at the Remedies Stage (February 1, 2017). TILEC Discussion Paper No. 2017-004; Tilburg Law School Research Paper No. 01/2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2909708 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2909708

Pierre Larouche (Contact Author)

Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC) ( email )

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College of Europe - Bruges ( email )

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Belgium

Tilburg University - Tilburg Law School ( email )

Warandelaan 2
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Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands
+31.13.466.8270 (Phone)

Center on Regulation in Europe (CERRE) ( email )

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Brussels, 1040
Belgium

Nicolo Zingales

University of Sussex Law School ( email )

Falmer
Brighton BN1 9QN
United Kingdom

Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC) ( email )

Warandelaan 2
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

Tilburg University - Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT) ( email )

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Stanford University - Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society ( email )

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Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States

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