Abuse of market dominance

Merck Sharp and Dohme Limited – Principi Attivi (Italian Competition Authority (ICA), Case A364, Decision n° 14388, Bulletin n° 23/2005, 15 June 2005)

This case concerned an active ingredient for antibiotics whose patents had expired in most of European markets but not in Italy. The patent holder, Merck & CO. Inc. (Merck Sharp & Dohme; hereinafter “MSD”) refused to grant a license requested by an Italian company, ACS Dobfar S.p.A.

IMS Health GmbH v NDC Health GmbH (Court of Justice of the European Union Case C-418/01, 29 April 2004)

In the IMS Health case, the Court of Justice of the European Union (hereinafter “CJEU”) clarified the ‘exceptional circumstances’ test used to determine whether a refusal to license an intellectual property right (hereinafter “IPR”) constitutes an abuse of a dominant position under Art. 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

Case Summary

AstraZeneca AB & AstraZeneca plc v European Commission, 6 December 2012 (Court of Justice of the European Union)

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) upheld the General Court’s decision that AstraZeneca abused its dominant position by excluding from the market competing manufacturers of generic products. The CJEU concluded that AstraZeneca’s attempt to mislead the patent offices amounted to an abuse of a dominant position and that the deregistration of the marketing authorizations (MAs) for its anti-ulcer medicine with the principal intention of preventing generic market entry was inconsistent with European competition law.