Competition Law & IP Licensing

Competition law has long seemed to be in conflict with the monopoly rights granted by intellectual property law. Expert advice is required to ensure that IP rights are maintained.

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Intellectual property rights by their very nature confer exclusive monopoly rights on their owner. Particularly in Europe, businesses have used competition law as a means of challenging the ability of rights-holders to exploit IP. As a result, complex rules apply to determine the extent to which IP rights can be used to stop sales of products by unauthorised businesses. The increasing importance of standardisation for setting industry-wide rules on the composition of products, especially in technology markets, also raises competition concerns.

DWF's EU/Competition team comprises lawyers experienced in both competition and IP issues, so that we can provide advice informed by a full understanding of the unique issues raised by IP licensing.

We have an in-depth understanding of the EU Technology Transfer Block Exemption Regulation, the starting point for reviewing a wide range of IP licences. We also regularly advise client on competition and IP issues relating to parallel imports.

We are active in advising clients on the issues raised when industry standards include technology subject to patent or other IP protection, standard essential patents (SEPs) - including dealing with injunctions by rights-holders and investigations by the European Commission and other competition authorities.

Some of our experts

Howard Cartlidge

Head of EU/Competition (London)

I advise on all aspects of EU and UK competition law. I help businesses to deal with the legal and policy aspects of regulatory disputes and investigations.

Jonathan Branton

Partner - Head of EU/Competition

I lead the firm in EU/Competition issues, specialising in behavioural antitrust, merger control, public procurement and State aid, and all related issues of public funding, including the UK’s Regional Growth Fund, ERDF and ESIF. I also head up the firm’s Brussels office and the firm’s cross-discipline Public Sector group.

Dr. Daisy Walzel, LL.M. (oec)

Partner - Head of Competition (Germany)

I advise on all aspects of German and EU competition law, specialising in merger control, competition law compliance and provide advice on competitor co-operations and cartel proceedings.

Brona Heenan


I am a highly experienced EU competition and procurement lawyer with extensive experience in representing leading US, Japanese and European clients across a broad range of industries, including media, telecommunications, energy and biotechnology.