مالکیت معنوی و تبعیض قیمت: یک چالش برای قانون رقابت استرالیا
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|16793||2004||22 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||10504 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Information Economics and Policy, Volume 16, Issue 1, March 2004, Pages 113–134
Price discrimination usually requires a mechanism to prevent arbitrage. In respect of intellectual property, the mechanisms include bans on parallel importation in intellectual property legislation and licensing and distribution contracts that separate one group of users from another. A reasonable thesis would be to expose all market segmentation of intellectual property to the full force of competition law. Australian experience of the repeal of parallel import bans on CDs and the review of an intellectual-property specific provision in the competition legislation suggests otherwise.
A firm proposing to charge different prices to different customers has to have a way of preventing arbitrage. Unless customers who acquire at the cheaper price can be prevented from dealing direct with the customers who are charged a higher price, any system of differential pricing will be undermined. The ways in which the original supplier can prevent its customers from inter-trading take different legal forms. One is contract. If the supplier deals directly with its ultimate users, it can contract on terms that there is to be no re-supply to anyone.1 In other more common circumstances, the supplier supplies its product on terms that limit the re-supply of that product to a particular geographic territory or a particular class of users. A self-help method to the same effect as contract is to elect to supply only those customers who do not engage in arbitrage. In legal form this is an exercise of property rights. For some sorts of intellectual property, the intellectual property statutes bolster property rights by making it an infringement to import into the country products that could not legally have been made in the country unless the importation is done with the licence of the owner of the intellectual property. This paper takes a lawyer's view of those rights and their exercise. One issue is how competition law addresses market division for the purpose of discriminatory pricing. In terms of the Australian Trade Practices Act [TPA] the issues are: (a) Whether a firm that segments the market for its product can thereby “lessen competition”, and so be caught by sections 45 and 47 of the TPA. (b) Whether market segmentation for the purpose of maximising income from the exploitation of the property might be a misuse of market power caught by s46. (c) How s51(3), the TPA's recognition that intellectual property is somehow different, operates on market-segmenting conduct. As s51(3) is under review it is worth looking at how the provision operates now, how it would operate in the form proposed by the Intellectual Property and Competition Review Committee (IPCRC, 2000), and also at the government's response. (d) In respect of intellectual property statutes that make importation an infringement of the property right, whether a local intellectual property owner might nevertheless contravene the TPA by exercising its right to exclude imports. In Australia there has been long and passionate debate about whether the parallel importation provisions in the copyright legislation should be repealed. If a right- owner's refusal to licence importation is open to challenge under competition law, it may be that repeal of those provisions is of little significance.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Legislative changes proposed for both s51(3) of the TPA and the parallel import provisions of the Copyright Act are likely to have consequences that their designers did not intend. The IPCRC's recommendation to replace s51(3)'s exemption of conditions in intellectual property contracts with a lessening of competition test would not achieve the committee's objective. The committee intended the TPA to catch only transactions that go beyond the market power the rights directly confer. It did not intend the law to catch dealings which merely carve a right up into different exploitation zones – geographic, field-of-use, etc. But, where an intellectual property right does confer market power, the competition test registers segmentation of the property as a lessening of competition. As the TPA stood at the time of the IPCRC review, conditions in licences of intellectual property that serve to carve up the property were exposed only to s46, because s46 was not within the shelter of the s51(3) exemption. Because of its requirement that there be a taking advantage of the market power s46 does not catch all dealings that divide the intellectual property into separate zones. It is not clear that the section catches any. The effect of the IPCR recommendation in respect of s51(3) is to bypass s46 and its “take advantage” test and go straight to a lessening of competition test that will catch all. In respect of the parallel importation provisions of the Copyright Act, the government's decision to pursue repeal on a product-by-product basis threatens more cases like Universal Music that turn competition law on its head in order to deliver the outcome of free importation of whatever products have been removed from copyright protection. It cannot be the government's intention to render competition law incoherent. If, perchance, the government intends by its repeal of parallel import provisions (whether across-the-board or product-specific) that conduct that impedes imports should be simply forbidden and penalised (regardless of a competition analysis), the government should include provisions to that effect in its amendments to the Copyright Act.