Antitrust law, which contributes to economic development by encouraging competition, similarly promotes industrial development and intersects with patent and other intellectual property laws that recognize a monopoly on technology as a means to an end.
License agreements and collaborative research agreements are typical examples. In addition, although there are not many cases, there are rights based on antitrust violations against injunction claims based on intellectual property rights, such as those asserting the defense of abuse of rights.
In addition, Article 24 of the Antimonopoly Act permits the filing of a request for an injunction against violations of the Act. If an action for an injunction under Article 24 is filed, the court shall notify the Japan Fair Trade Commission (“JFTC”).
There is a great deal of pressure on the part of small and medium-sized companies to use the antitrust laws as a weapon in lawsuits and to place large companies in the public eye. According to the JFTC's annual report, it is also possible to file an action for an injunction under Article 24 and claim of damages under Article 25 of the Act. Even in the past ten years, there have been only about 40 lawsuits.
We have been involved in three lawsuits for injunctions under Article 24 of the Antimonopoly Act in the last ten years.
In June 2019, the JFTC released an "Investigation Report on Abuse of Superior Bargaining Position by Manufacturers of Know-How and Intellectual Property Rights", which indicates that more and more small and medium-sized companies will use the antitrust law as a weapon to protect their intellectual property rights from large companies and to regain the profits they have lost.
As mentioned above, we have handled many intellectual property cases and have gained experience from the intersecting of IP and antitrust law, which enables us to provide accurate advice based on this experience acquired from a different perspective of IP law.