This book includes a plain text version that is designed for high accessibility. To use this version please follow this link.
66


Legal Focus


JUNE 2012


Competition Law France


Competition concerns are huge part of modern business and require sound legal advice to navigate the many potential pitfalls that can arise. A recent competition-related story is the news that the European Competition Commission has launched an investigation to determine if Motorola Mobility has unfairly restricted the use of standard-essential patents by competitors. To find out more about this, and other issues surrounding competition law, Lawyer Monthly speaks to Jacques-Philippe Gunther, Partner at the Paris office of law firm, Willkie Farr & Gallagher.


Please introduce your firm.


Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP has approximately 600 attorneys practicing in offices strategically located in many of the world's most prominent marketplaces: New York, Washington, D.C., Paris, London, Milan, Rome, Frankfurt and Brussels. Willkie Paris, which opened in 1921, has approximately 65 lawyers. The Paris office’s main areas of expertise include: Mergers and Acquisitions, Tender Offers, Private Equity, Capital Markets, Competition and Antitrust, Business Reorganization and Restructuring, Debt and Project Finance, Tax, Litigation, International Arbitration, Public and Administrative Law and Environment.


The antitrust team of Willkie Farr & Gallagher is one of the most prominent practices in Europe. Headed by myself, the team consists of about 20 lawyers with two additional partners: David Tayar in Paris and Charlotte Breuvart in Brussels.


We have a significant experience in a broad range of competition law issues in different economic sectors including merger control, litigation on restrictive agreements and abuses of dominant position before EU and French Competition authorities and courts, and state aids.


In response to complaints from apple and Microsoft and to offer clarity regarding the issue of essential patents, the European competition commission has launched an investigation to determine if Motorola Mobility has unfairly restricted the use of standard- essential patents by competitors. What are your opinions on this?


This case concerns companies – Apple, Microsoft and Motorola Mobility (whose


acquisition by Google has been cleared by the European Commission on February 13, 2012) – operating in the information technology business where interoperability is a key consideration. If rules set by SSOs and commended by European Competition Law are disregarded by companies which hold IP rights essential to market access, then companies will find no incentive in participating to a standardization process unable to satisfy its goal of industry-wide product improvement and development. Should an SSO not be trustworthy on its ability to enforce its own rules concerning members’ obligations (i) to disclose patents and patent applications that may become essential to standards under development, (ii) to acknowledge the essentiality of such patents or patent applications to the implementation of the standards, and (iii) to commit to license their technology on FRAND terms, industry stakeholders would stop participating to it. This would in turn mean that companies operating in technology intensive sectors would have to carry their R&D efforts on their own. In such circumstances, only companies already particularly powerful would be able to further their R&D projects, which in turn would lessen competition on the market. In addition and, in any case, given the extensive time and investments necessary to improve or develop new products and the absence of economies of scale and output limitation resulting from the coexistence of several standards, innovation as a whole would be significantly harmed. As a consequence, customers’ access to improved and new products would be delayed while prices would be in any case higher than those which would have resulted from a successful standardization process.


How does antitrust compliancy affect local and foreign businesses?


Antitrust rules are different from one legal system to another. An obvious illustration is provided by


www.lawyer-monthly.com


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100