The Fact of the Case
In the instant case of Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericson v. Competition Commission of India When a patent is issued in India and the patentee asserts those rights, Can the Competition Commission investigate those activities in accordance with its jurisdiction under the Competition Act? This frequent matter, which has broad ramifications, has been the subject of four appeals and a writ petition.
The Patents Act is a special law that only deals with patents, according to the patentees’ legal counsel, and Chapter XVI of the Patents Act specifically addresses anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominant position when it comes to the imposition of conditions for licencing patents. Therefore, there is no justification for the Competition Act, which addresses anti-competitive agreements and general misuse of dominant position, to take precedence over the specific statute.
According to CCI’s legal counsel, some stray provisions in the Patents Act, which deals with patents in general but specifically with anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominant position, cannot be interpreted as superseding the Competition Act, which is, in any case, a subsequent statute.
Observation of the Court
The Competition Commission of India’s proceedings were halted for lack of authority by a division bench of Justices Najmi Waziri and Vikas Mahajan of the Delhi High Court. The Patents Act, which the Court further concluded to be a special law, must take precedence over the Competition Act, which is a general statute.
The Patents Act addresses unfair licencing terms, misuse of the patentee status, investigation, and redress, the Court emphasised. On the other hand, misuse of dominant position and anti-competitive agreements are covered by the Competition Act. The Patents Act, which deals with anti-competitive agreements and patentees abusing their dominant position to exercise their rights under the Act, is unique legislation, according to the court. The Court emphasised that the topic is pertinent for this evaluation since abuse of dominant position and anti-competitive agreements are covered by both the Patents Act and the Competition Act.
The Court additionally noted that the Patents Act must take precedence over the Competition Act about the question of the exercise of rights by a patentee under the Patents Act. The Court subsequently invalidated the CCI’s proceedings and granted the appeals and petition challenging the CCI order, making it clear that neither action should be interpreted as expressing a judgement on the truth of any party’s claims regarding whether Ericsson or Monsanto imposed anticompetitive conditions or abused their dominant position.
CASE NAME – Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericson v. Competition Commission of India, LPA 247/2016.