European Union; IMS Health: Court rules in favour of innovation
In April, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled in the IMS Health case on the 'exceptional circumstances' in which a dominant company may be ordered to license its intellectual property. Christian Ahlborn looks at the implications for IP rights holders and for parties litigating through the ECJ
Owners of intellectual property rights (IPR) can breathe a sigh of relief. On 29 April, 2004, the European Court of Justice issued its judgment in the controversial IMS Health case, confirming its previous position that IPR owners are generally free to exercise their exclusive rights, and that only in very narrowly defined “exceptional circumstances” would a refusal to license one’s IPR amount to an abuse of a dominant position under European Commission (EC) competition law. With this judgment, the court firmly rejected the EC’s attempts to make the exceptional circumstances of compulsory licensing increasingly unexceptional.
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