Technology transfer agreements and antitrust law: positive potential on competition

In the field of biotechnology, technology transfer emerges as a crucial element for advancing innovations from the research stage to the commercial arena. The adoption of licensing agreements, collaborations, and strategic alliances facilitates the dissemination of patented technologies and scientific expertise among various institutions. With this goal in mind, ITTBioMed by Edra and DLA Piper, supported by Lendlease, MIND, and T-Factor, promoted the event “Patents and Secrets: Technology Transfer in Life Sciences.” The event aimed to foster beneficial exchange among biotechnology industry experts, to strengthen sector infrastructure in Italy and advance the protection of industrial property and technical-scientific know-how.

Massimo D’Andrea, Senior Lawyer at DLA Piper, has examined the link between antitrust law and technology transfer agreements, emphasizing that the latter, “despite their positive potential on competition and efficiency, may sometimes contain clauses that limit competition.” He highlighted the importance of “evaluating these clauses through the antitrust lens, referring to European Commission Regulation No. 316/2014, which provides an exception to competition restrictions for certain agreements, under specific conditions related to market shares and the absence of severe restrictions.

He also discussed research and development agreements, explaining that they are “also subject to antitrust evaluation, according to specific regulations governing their exemption from antitrust rules,” and emphasizing the need “for detailed analysis to ensure compliance with competition laws, also in light of additional regulations relevant to the competitive relationship between the parties involved.”