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Avoid the antitrust trap in Asia

Are Chinese regulators unfairly targeting overseas companies for antitrust violations, in a bid to defend domestic industries?

Don't get caught out in Asia

That’s certainly what the American Chamber of Commerce in China suggested, in a report published last month. It said members were concerned about “selective and subjective enforcement” and that companies were being forced to license patents at low royalty rates.

The concerns follow high-profile investigations into Qualcomm and InterDigital, as well as opposition in China and Korea to the Microsoft-Nokia merger.

In the cover story in Managing IP’s November issue, now available online, our Asia editor Peter Leung examines antitrust issues in Australia, India and China, and asks whether there is any truth to these perceptions and whether foreign companies are in fact soft targets.

It’s a complex story, and Peter provides a guide to the overlapping jurisdiction of China’s three government agencies with responsibility for competition law (Mofcom, the SAIC and the NDRC) as well as recent developments in Australia (the Harper Review) and India (where antitrust enforcement has been focused on copyright licensing and the automobile industry).

Peter blogged earlier this year about FRAND issues in China, but his latest analysis confirms that antitrust investigations can affect all IP owners, whatever rights they own and whatever industry they are in. The likelihood is that scrutiny in Asia will only increase as local economies grow and IP becomes more prominent. International rights owners need to be prepared.

Subscribers can read “Asian governments focus on IP and competition issues” now. Non-subscribers can access it with a free trial. Contact Bobby Dohil with any access enquiries.

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