Block Exemption Regulation for Research & Development Agreements (Draft Regulation)
Research and development agreements can stipulate provisions on the partial outsourcing of R&D activities, R&D co-operations or the common distribution and marketing of jointly developed products. Thus they can increase efficiency, lower costs and intensify the exchange of ideas and experience. The revised version of the Block Exemption Regulation for research & development agreements provides for a new exemption condition, namely that, prior to starting an R&D, all parties must disclose their existing and pending rights in intellectual property. Moreover, the Commission extends the scope of “hardcore restrictions” for both, the passive and active distribution.
R&D agreements can improve the innovative capability of the participating parties but can also restrict competition and the diversity of products. The Commission’s approach to define exemption requirements, hardcore restrictions and a market share threshold in order to ensure that R&D agreements have a positive impact on consumers is appropriate. The exemption requirements, notably the parties’ obligation to disclose all relevant intellectual property rights, protect competition from excessive restrictions.