The smart phone wars have led to heated discussions over standard setting in technology markets. It seems only a question of time before the standard setting debate spills over into other areas. My personal candidate is the standard setting that underpins product quality, origin and safety certification.
Certification – where invisible features matter
An average consumer comes face to face with product certification in her local grocery store. Organic meat, cage-free eggs and fair-trade coffee are only a few examples of certified products, which increasingly populate store shelves. The expansion of green markets has also prompted certification and labelling programs for a wide [...]
Canada’s first competition legislation was enacted in 1889, with the intention of combatting the price-fixing and other anti-competitive conduct of so-called “combinations.” Trade and professional associations figured prominently among the “combinations” alleged to have engaged in this anti-competitive behaviour. As one observer commented at the time, “there are few branches of trade in this or any country which are not represented by associations which seek to prevent unprofitable competition”.
Fast forward to 2012, and it is apparent that Canadian competition authorities continue to harbour similar concerns about the legality of certain trade and professional association acti [...]
One of the most complex and daunting challenges facing competition regulators is the evolving intersection of antitrust and intellectual property law. Given that both antitrust law and patent law seek to enhance consumer welfare and promote innovation, but do so through very different mechanisms, it is natural for regulators to struggle when harmonizing monopoly-granting patent law with competition-enforcing antitrust law.
Notwithstanding these hurdles, representatives from the Department of Justice Antitrust Division, the Federal Trade Commission, and the European Commission made it clear in a recent series of speeches that they intend to broaden their patent and competition focus to go bey [...]