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This article discusses the most important changes introduced at the final stage of the Commission's review of the technology transfer block exemption regulation (“TTBER"), and examines the benefits and the challenges of the new regulatory framework for technology licensing.

The new TTBER represents a significant improvement over the Commission's draft TTBER, published in October 2003. Most importantly, the Commission agreed to revise the list of hardcore restrictions between competitors, which was over-inclusive and had the potential to seriously hinder technology licensing in horizontal agreements. In addition, the list of hardcore restrictions between non-competitors and the interpretation of "know-how'' (and thus the scope of the TTBER) were adjusted to reflect the comments submitted during the consultation period preceding the publication of the final TTBER. Significant changes were also made to the Guidelines, for instance, with respect to cross-licence agreements between competitors. Some difficulties remain in the final TTBER, mainly concerning the introduction of market share ceilings. However, on balance, the new TTBER can be considered to represent a desirable regulatory change. The final regulation promotes dynamic competition through innovation and contains a number of provisions that contribute towards a more liberal, flexible and economic oriented regulation of technology transfer agreements.


Intellectual Property Law | Law | Science and Technology Law