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Academic Articles Awards > Intellectual Property

Standard-Essential Patents and the Japanese Competition Law in Comparison with China, the US and the EU

Toshiaki Takigawa, The Antitrust Bulletin, Vol. 62(3), 2017

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Readers’ vote will close on February 9, 2018. Readers’ vote will allow you to nominate 1 article for each of the Awards, i.e., 10 Academic articles, 10 Business articles, and the best Soft Laws. The readers’ short-list of Academic and Business Articles will be communicated to the Board together with the 20 articles nominated by the Steering Committees. The Board will decide on the award-winning articles. Results will be announced at the Awards ceremony to take place in Washington DC on the eve of the ABA Antitrust Spring Meeting on April 10, 2018.

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Despite having committed to FRAND (fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory) terms, not a few standard-essential-patents (SEPs) owners have engaged in holdup (such as suing for injunction, or levying very high royalty), which have triggered antitrust/competition actions in the US, the EU, China, Japan and Korea. This article focuses on the Japanese situation, highlighting its difference with the Chinese one. The Japanese competition agency (JFTC) as well as Japanese IP High Court have closely studied the jurisprudence in the US and the EU, coming up with solutions in line with those adopted by the US and EU courts and agencies. By contrast, Chinese agencies and courts have devised unique methods for tackling SEP/FRAND issues. First, a Chines antimonopoly agency has utilized the exploitative-abuse provision of the Chinese competition law for ordering a SEP owner to reduce its royalties to Chinese licensees, regardless of the SEP owners’ FRAND commitment. Second, a Chinese court utilized “non-discriminatory” portion of FRAND commitment, for mandating virtually the same royalty to be levied on Chinese licensees as that levied on Apple. These methods either leave too much latitude to the agencies, or lack a convincing rationale.

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