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The Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division are in the midst of ongoing hearings exploring the interface between antitrust and intellectual property. This article provides a brief overview of some of the hot topics under review in the hearings.

Intellectual property issues have frequently become significant factors in competitive analysis of transactions, which are reviewed for antitrust considerations by the trade commission and justice department under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act and the Clayton Act. In addition, the role of intellectual property, and disclosures and licensing of intellectual property, in the process of standard setting has frequently become an issue of dispute either among private parties or as to which the agencies’ intervention may be sought. In markets driven by technological developments and interaction through computer software and hardware, and information technologies, such standard setting has become increasingly important as has the licensing of intellectual property necessary to perform a standard.

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