India: The Interplay Between The Intellectual Property Law And Competition Laws

Last Updated: 21 May 2019
Article by Shambhavi Sinha


The most important role that is played by any law in this world of free markets is the laws of intellectual property. They act as a survival kit in a highly competitive market by ensuring that the owner's right of the intellectual property are not being infringed to his prejudice by another party. The exclusive enjoyment of rights is conferred upon the rightful owner[. Therefore, a huge deal of attention is being given to IP Laws and along with it, an another niche filed of law which is gaining strong foothold in the gamut of laws that affect this technologically advanced contemporary world is competition laws. Historically speaking, these two fields of law have emerged as two separate systems but they share the common goal with different perspectives. On one hand, IP Laws deal with the promotion of innovation by providing exclusive rights over invention. On the other hand, competition laws promote efficiency in the market and prevent market distortions. It leads us to the general perception that there is an inherent tension between the two laws which is quite evident from the fact that in the recent past across jurisdiction, there is a rise in the number of case pertaining to the matters of intellectual property related competition cases.

The article will address the nexus between the two laws and will conclude by reflecting on the lack of sufficient provision in the Competition Act, 2002 to deal with the interplay between IP Law and Competition laws.

IP v. Competition Law

Ever since the Statues of Monopolies was enacted in England in the year 1624, the tension between the IP and completion laws have existed because the prohibited monopolies but allowed patent monopolies. Companies are not allowed to maintain a monopoly over the market however they can monopolise their technologies for any specific period of time. The Competition Act of India seeks to prohibit anti-competitive agreements, prohibit the abuse of dominant position by organisations and to regulate mergers. The act prohibits an enterprise to enter into an agreement in respect of production, supply distribution or control of goods or provision of services, which is likely to cause an adverse effect on competition within India but at the same time it bestows a blanket exception on IPR[4]. However, section 4 of the act provides with sufficient conditions for interfering in intellectual property matters in cases of abuse of dominant positions. The courts have held that CC has the jurisdiction to deal with competition cases involving IPR. In the case of FICCI Multiplex Association of India v United Producers Distribution Forum, the question was whether c copyright holder can enjoy his right when it effects the competition in the market. The court held that the copyright is a statutory right under the Copyright Act, 1957 and not an absolute right and the IP laws do not have a total overriding effect on the competition laws. The European Courts of Justice and US Supreme court have held that the aim of IPR is to ensure innovation in all areas and furtherance of commercial interest is only secondary[. The CCI has the authority to punish IPR holders who abuse their dominant position under Section 27 of the Competition Act, 2002.

Furthermore, the concept of complementary goals of intellectual property and competition law system is used to make laws on licensing. In the case of Entertainment Network (India) Limited v Super Cassette Industries Ltd, Supreme court held that the rights of copyright owner to exercise monopoly or to charge royalty through issue of license is not absolute. Overpricing of any patented product is not really against the provisions of the competition Act but has close links to the refusal to license. In the case of Singhania & Partners LLP v Microsoft Corporation[, Indian competition authorities failed to see the abuse of dominant position, tying agreements and other anti-competitive charges by Microsoft.

Conclusion Competition law acts against the abusive monopoly rights whereas IPR rewards the inventor by providing him with a monopoly right for a limited period of time. IPR goes against the principle of competition law to enhance market conditions by more choices. However, Competition laws can play an active role in checking the abuse of rights granted by IPR. These two laws are neither conflicting nor competing in nature but they are complementary to each other. Therefore, CCI should adopt specific guidelines to deal with cases that involves both the provisions of IPR and competition laws. To avoid of concentration of undertakings in IPR rich companies, merger guidelines should be strictly implemented. Furthermore, using of license to eliminate competition for improper benefits must be brought under the horizon of abuse of IPRs .


[1] See Indian Farmers Fertilizer Co-operative Limited

[2] See WIPO Intellectual property Handbook

[3] See also, David D. Friedman

[4] The competition Act of India, 2002, section 3

[5] Aamir Khan Productions v Union of India

[6] FICCI Multiplex Association of India v United Producers Distribution Forum

[7] United Brands Co & United Brands Cont'l BV v Comm'n,

[8] Entertainment Network (India) Limited v Super Cassette Industries Ltd

[9] Singhania & Partners LLP v Microsoft Corporation (I) Pvt Ltd & others

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions