The great divide? The interaction of patent law and antitrust in the pharmaceutical markets

2 minute read
12 August 2021

For decades now the fault line between patent law and competition law has given rise to friction and a lot of litigation. The divide still exists, and over the last decade the competition authorities have moved into the space to conduct their own investigations to consider whether patent ownership gives rise to anti-competitive behaviour.

Is that right? Does the patent system itself already provide all the necessary checks and balances to govern the competition issues without external interference which might damage the delicate balance by which the existence of enforceable IP rights incentivises investment in research and development?

In his article 'The Great Divide? The interaction of patent law and antitrust in the pharmaceutical markets', first published in the BIO-Science Law Review, IP partner Gordon Harris looks at the position and concludes that the patent system is capable of policing itself.

Gordon's career in IP started in this arena with the "Car Parts Wars" of the 80s and 90s. He conducted the leading case, Veng v Volvo in the European Court of Justice (as it was then known) and has always maintained an interest in this key question.

*This article was first published in the BIO-Science Law Review

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