IP Exemptions to Competition Laws to be Removed: Restrictions in Licences to be Subject to Competition and Consumer Act 2010
The Australian Federal Parliament has been debating the Treasury Laws Amendment (2018 Measures No. 5) Bill 2018 (Bill), which seeks to repeal section 51(3) of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (CCA).
The Bill is expected to pass during this session of Parliament (by 6 December 2018). Section 51(3) of the CCA presently provides an exemption from most of the competition law prohibitions for certain types of transactions involving intellectual property (IP). The current exemption covers conditions in licences or assignments of IP rights in patents, registered designs, copyright, trade marks and circuit layouts.
Once passed, commercial transactions involving IP rights will be subject to the same competition laws as all other transactions involving other types of property and assets. The repeal will apply retrospectively but IP owners will have six months to review existing licences and agreements. It is important for brand owners to consider their key licensing arrangements and the possible competitive implications of those arrangements.