FTC and DOJ Seek Views on Proposed Update of the Antitrust Guidelines for Licensing of Intellectual Property

by Jenny Hyde

The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division seek public comment on a proposed update of the Antitrust Guidelines for the Licensing of Intellectual Property, also known as the IP Licensing Guidelines. The IP Licensing Guidelines, which state the agencies’ antitrust enforcement policy with respect to the licensing of intellectual property protected by patent, copyright, and trade secret law and of know-how, were issued in 1995 and are now being updated.

In the past 20-plus years, the IP Licensing Guidelines have served their intended purpose of providing guidance to businesses and the public regarding potential antitrust issues that may arise in the context of intellectual property licenses. In their 2007 joint report entitled Antitrust Enforcement and Intellectual Property Rights: Promoting Innovation and Competition (the “Antitrust IP Report”), the agencies reaffirmed the integral role of the IP Licensing Guidelines in their analysis of antitrust and intellectual property issues. With the IP Licensing Guidelines as an analytical tool, the agencies have accumulated additional antitrust enforcement experience and policy expertise in this area. The proposed update announced today reflects this knowledge. It is intended to modernize the IP Licensing Guidelines without changing the agencies’ enforcement approach with respect to intellectual property licensing or expanding the IP Licensing Guidelines to address other topics and areas that are addressed, for example, in the 2007 Antitrust IP Report.

Find the entire press release here.

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