In Japan, the Anti-Monopoly Act sets forth the interaction between antitrust and intellectual property (IP) law. Specifically, Article 21 of the Anti-Monopoly Act states: ‘The provisions of this Act shall not apply to such acts recognisable as the exercise of rights under the Copyright Act, the Patent Act, the Utility Model Act, the Design Act, or the Trademark Act.’ Based on such a provision, the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) has published the Guidelines for the Use of Intellectual Property under the Anti-Monopoly Act2 (the IP Guidelines) to deal with various issues involving such an interaction (see Section III). The JFTC has also issued the Guidelines on Standardisation and Patent Pool Arrangements3 (the Standardisation Guidelines) on antitrust issues in relation to standardisation (see Sections III and IV).
Year in review
i Recent legal precedents related to IP and antitrust
Recently, the Tokyo District Court issued some noteworthy decisions on antitrust issues related to ink cartridges. On 30 September 2021, the Tokyo District Court decided that Japanese electronics manufacturer Brother violated the Anti-Monopoly Act by designing its inkjet printers to be incompatible with third-party ink cartridges, and ordered Brother to pay damages of ¥1.5 million to the electronics equipment manufacturer Elecom.