Competition law regulates the business conduct of market participants. It ensures that trademarks, goods, services, activities, or personal or business relationships of competitors are not disparaged or denigrated.
Antitrust law protects smaller market participants in particular from individual companies abusing their monopoly position, which they have de facto acquired, for example, on the basis of their patents.
Within the framework of the supplementary protection of achievements under competition law, companies are protected against imitation of their goods or services by competitors by the Unfair Competition Act (UWG). This covers both deception about the true origin of the imitated goods or services and unfair exploitation of the original's reputation.
In reality, the boundaries between plagiarism and permissible imitation are fluid - and it is precisely this line of demarcation that concerns both the courts and the patent attorneys and attorneys-at-law of our firm. Especially in complex, technical cases, the expertise of our IP experts is crucial for a proper assessment.
WR advises companies on the permissibility of business acts, in particular advertising measures and advertising statements, as well as press releases and litigation reporting. Similarly, we also examine corresponding actions by competitors.
Our advice also includes the extrajudicial and judicial assertion of infringements, for example, by means of warning letters or temporary injunctions.
Property rights give the owner the possibility to prohibit third parties from using the protected object. This gives the owner a quasi-monopoly position. Depending on various factors such as market and market share, this position can lead to conflicts with antitrust law, in particular EU antitrust law. This is particularly the case with technology standards, so-called standard-essential patents (SEP).
Our attorneys advise on IP-related antitrust issues and examine contractual agreements and commercial activities for their relevance under antitrust law.
In addition, we clarify the possibilities and risks of a compulsory license and examine the court requirements for licensing conditions and licensing obligations under FRAND (fair-reasonable-and-non-discriminatory). We also take into account the contractual requirements of standardization authorities, such as the ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) in the telecommunications sector.
On both the patent owner and licensee side, we advise clients on the requirements of a compulsory license objection in court and strategically plan the individual steps to be taken.