The Debate Between IPR and Competition Law Explained

Must Read

An Analysis of Cyber Crimes in India

The term “Cyber Crime” is not defined in Indian law. We can attribute this to the variety and capricious...

Explained: Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Act, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought various widespread impacts on every sector of the country, whether it is the corporates...

An Analysis of the Supreme Court’s Guidelines on the Ambit of Maintenance in Matrimonial Cases

The Supreme Court has laid down guidelines in the Rajesh vs. Neha case relating to the ambit of maintenance...

Explained: The OTT Regulations and Their Impact on the Media Future in India

The regulation of content within OTT (Over-the-Top) media and other digital media have fallen under the purview of the...

Frustration of Lease in COVID-19 Times

Introduction The year 2020 has been the most unexpected and the year of most unprecedented events in the history of...

Do All Insults Come Under the Ambit of SC/ST Act as Offence?

Introduction The Honourable Supreme court of India held that all insults or intimidation are not an offence under the Scheduled...

Follow us

There are various market processes or structures that govern market scenario. For simplicity, this paper focuses on two mechanisms: free-market operation and regulated market operation. In a country with a free-market operation, products’ prices are set freely by consensus between buyers and sellers. They are free from any interference from the government or any other regulatory mechanisms. In a regulated market economy, as it can be deduced from the name itself, that various regulatory authorities govern it. The legislation is one of the main components of the regulatory framework, which, in its areas concerned, seeks to balance the free play of monopoly rights and the interests of society.

What exactly is the conflict about?

The relationship between competition law and intellectual property rights (IPR) has been one of the most debated issues in recent years. Competition law has been seen as the most effective mechanism for countering anti-competitive agreements, prohibiting abuse of dominant position, regulating mergers and combinations, and providing an efficient allocation of resources for the benefit of consumers at the end of the day, providing them with wider choices, better quality products at a reasonable price.

Intellectual Property Rights are the vouchers for finding a balance between the owner’s proprietary rights and the common interest. It ensures that the intangible property owner has an exclusive right to gain monopoly rights to exploit his intellectual creation commercially. IPR consists of a bundle of rights that gives the owner the right to exclude others from accessing the product, subject to a limited period.

IPR is typically used as a tool to establish exclusive monopoly rights to the holder and deter other players from offering the products in the same market, which reduces competition in the market and led to the development of disputes between objectives of both the law. IPR is based on the principle of incentive theory, i.e. the incentive that the inventor has revealed to society at large, which further strengthens the bone of contention. However, by observing the objectives, there is an undisputed view that each legislation promotes consumer welfare and innovation. Competition law shall be enforced to prevent the misuse of the monopoly power given under a statute that is widely distinguished before such legislation is enacted to regulate monopoly power exploitation.

How does India deal with this conflict?

The Competition Act, 2002, has recognized the intentions of the IPR when framing provisions and does not abolish the market power gained by an individual as a result of such intellectual property rights. The 2002 Competition Act was enacted on the pedestal of economic efficiency and liberalization. It promotes social, economic, and political justice for the people.

Competition law was enacted to fulfill the MRTP Act’s dispute with the inclusion of vigorous Provisions and in compliance with TRIPS. Section 3 talks about anti-competitive agreements but section 3(5) talks about the interface between the laws which provides a blanket exception to IPR related licensing agreement to encourage innovation in the market. It also regulates the practices which cause an impact on the market by abusing such dominant position under Section 4.

Relevant Case Laws 

In Entertainment Network (India) Limited v. Super Cassette Industries Ltd, the Supreme Court reiterated the discrepancy between the two rules. The Court observes that even if the copyright holder has a full monopoly, but if the same is limited and causes monopoly and disturbance in the smooth functioning of the market, it would be in violation of competition law.

Undoubtedly, IPR owners will enjoy their labour’s fruits by granting royalties, but the same is not absolute. In Union of India v. Cyanamide India Limited & Another, the Court held that charging high prices for life-saving drugs falls within the limits of price regulation and that CCI has jurisdiction over such matters. In the event of a shortage of substitutes, there is always a risk of monopolies, which disrupts the economic efficiency of the market. Also, the same principle was reiterated in various jurisdictions.


The theory of Intellectual Property Law and Competition Law is based on the fact that IPR is a right. Simultaneously, competition law is a regulation that serves as an artificial handover of business operations. IPR is something that the State grants to the inventor, or it is a reward that the State grants to the maker of every product to exploit its production for a limited period economically.

It seems like these two rules are contradictory, but they are not, as we can see from the above analysis, complementary to each other by backing up when one is violated. There should be no question that there is no inconsistency between the aims of both the legislation. All legislations encourage creativity and consumer welfare. The realms of the two laws were built in a harmonious way to accomplish the middle course. A thorough debate leads to a dispute between the two laws that cannot be resolved in isolation.

Although they are parallel to each other, their priorities align with each other. Despite such a contentious issue, they have reconciled themselves so that both laws will prevail, which, in turn, promotes innovation and consumer welfare. IPR also aims to reward the producer as the product’s sole maker, which could also favor the public. The dominant position offered by IPR is in itself not a breach of competition laws, but a misuse of that position is. In short, it can be inferred that all of these rules have a similar purpose, but there are different ways of achieving them. is now on Telegram. Follow us for regular legal updates and judgments from the court. Follow us on Google News, InstagramLinkedInFacebook & Twitter. You can also subscribe to our Weekly Email Updates. You can also contribute stories like this and help us spread awareness for a better society. Submit Your Post Now.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Latest News

Transfer of Winding-up Proceedings Allowed Under S. 434, Restrictions Under 2016 Rules To Not Apply: Allahabad High Court

This appeal relates to the question of transfer of winding-up proceeding from the High Court (Company Court) to the NCLT.  Facts M/s. Girdhar Trading Company, 2nd...

Constitutional Court of South Africa Declares Provisions of Domestic Workers’ Injury Compensation Legislation To Be Unconstitutional

The Constitutional Court of South Africa in Sylvia Mahlangu v Minister of Labour , declared parts of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases...

Bail Granted Under Section 167(2) CrPC Can Be Cancelled Under Section 439(2) CrPC: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court held that the right of default bail of the Accused can be cancelled under Section 439(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code. Facts...

Authority Cannot Interfere With Legal Heir Certificate When There Are No Issues Between 2 Wives: Madras High Court

The petition, filed under Article 226 of Constitution of India in Madras High Court. The case of Lakshmi Jagannathan v. The Tahsildar, Tambaram Taluk, Chennai. was...

Kerala High Court Dismisses Petition Challenging Notification of Bar Council on Spot Admission

On 23rd November 2020, the Kerala High Court involving a single bench judge of the Honourable Smt. Justice P.V. Asha heard the case of...

Death in Police Custody Requires Post-Mortem: Madras High Court

The petition, filed under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code in Madras High Court. The case of S. Prema v. The Superintendent of...

Supreme Court Sets Aside High Court Order and states “Liberty of a Citizen cannot be taken away in the Absence of Lawyer”

In the case of Parveen v. State of Haryana, the Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that “a citizen’s liberty cannot be taken away”. This observation...

Revised Gratuity Ceiling Notified by Central Government Applicable To All Establishments Irrespective of Whether Controlled by the State or Centre: Tripura High Court

In the case of Sri Tapas Guha vs Tripura Tea Development Corporation Ltd. and others, a single-judge bench comprising of Hon’ble Justice Akil Kureshi...

Madras High Court Dismisses Tax Case Appeal by OPG Energy Pvt. Ltd.

The OPG Energy Pvt. Ltd. filed an appeal under Section 260A of the Income Tax Act, 1961. It was filed against an order passed...

Jharkhand High Court Disposes of Criminal Revision Petition Against the Judgment Passed by the Learned Sessions Judge With Modification

A criminal revision petition against the Judgment dated 23.07.2014 passed by the learned Sessions Judge, West Singhbhum at Chaibasa in Criminal Appeal No.49/2014 was...

More Articles Like This

- Advertisement -