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Public consultations

Revision of the rules for the assessment of licensing agreements for the transfer of technology under EU competition law

Policy field

Competition: Antitrust

Target group

Citizens, public authorities, organisations, and, in particular, the business community and their representatives as well as other stakeholders including industry associations and consumer interest associations who have had direct experience of applying the current rules on technology transfer agreements and/or who deal to a significant extent with such technology transfer agreements.

Period of consultation

From 06.12.2011 to 03.02.2012

Objective of the consultation

For the purpose of the EU competition rules, a technology transfer agreement is an agreement where one party (the licensor) authorizes another party (or parties, the licensee(s)) to use its technology (patent, know-how, software license) for the production of goods and services.

The EU competition rules for licensing agreements are set out in Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Article 101 prohibits agreements between companies which lead to an appreciable restriction of competition. Enforcement of this primary rule is complemented by two instruments, the technology transfer block exemption regulation ("TTBER") and accompanying Guidelines (see legislation in force).

The TTBER creates a safe harbour for technology transfer agreements under EU competition law. The Guidelines provide guidance on the application of the TTBER as well as on the application of EU competition law to technology transfer agreements that fall outside the safe harbour of the TTBER. The competition rules aim to strengthen the incentives for initial R&D, facilitate diffusion of intellectual property and generate market competition.

These instruments will expire on 30 April 2014. In order to prepare the regime to be applied after that date and to ensure that it both reflects current market realities and provides for the possibility of non-competitors and competitors to enter into technology transfer agreements where it contributes to economic welfare without posing a risk for competition, the Commission invites stakeholders to present their views on their experiences in applying the BER and the accompanying Guidelines in practice. Receiving feedback from stakeholders is a key element of this review.

View the consultation documents

Reference documents

See the Commission Regulation and guidelines on the assessment of technology transfer agreements.

Frequently Asked Questions

Contact details

Responsible service: DG Competition, Unit A2 – Antitrust and Mergers Policy and Scrutiny
E-mail address for replies: comp-greffe-antitrust@ec.europa.eu
Ref.: HT. 2742 – stakeholder input

Postal address:
European Commission
Directorate-General for Competition
Antitrust Registry
1049 Bruxelles/Brussel
BELGIQUE/BELGIE
Fax: +32 2 295.01.28

If you have questions concerning the questionnaire or the procedure, please do not hesitate to contact us by email to comp-a2-mail@ec.europa.eu or by phone: +32 229 85258 or +32 229 64421.

Next steps

The Commission will consider modifying or replacing the current Regulation and Guidelines. Any draft proposal will be the subject of a public consultation.

Replies to the consultation

Registered organisations
  • American Chamber of Commerce en
  • Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie en - de
  • BITKOM en
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Recht und Informatik DGRI en
  • Confederation of British Industry en
  • CEFIC en
  • European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations en
  • Ericsson en
  • Intellectual Property Lawyers' Association en
  • IP Federation en
  • MEDEF en - fr
  • Philips en
  • Qualcomm en
  • VDMA en
Individual contributions
  • American Bar Association en
  • Bernardo Antunes en
  • Businesseurope en
  • Confederation of Swedish Enterprise en
  • Connet d.o.o. en
  • DLA Piper en
  • Dorsey & Whitney (Europe) LLP en
  • Edwards Wildman Palmer en
  • France Telecom Orange en
  • Freshfields en
  • Herbert Smith en
  • International Chamber of Commerce en
  • Ionescu Adrian Mihai en
  • LES Licensing Executives Society en
  • Norton Rose en
  • Prodan Statev en
  • Steptoe & Johnson en
  • The City of London Law Society en
  • The Law Society en
  • University of Strathclyde en
  • Vogel & Vogel fr
  • Wilmer Hale en
  • Wolfgang Winzer de
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