Revised technology transfer block exemption adopted by the European Commission

On 21 March 2014, the European Commission adopted a revised technology transfer block exemption (TTBE), which applies to bilateral licences of technology rights, by which the licensee is permitted to exploit the rights to produce goods or services. The commission has also issued new guidelines setting out how the TTBE will be applied.

The new TTBE, adopted by the commission following a lengthy consultation process, does not represent a significant departure from the previous approach to technology licensing. The underlying architecture of the exemption remains the same: namely that agreements complying with the requirements of the block exemption will benefit from a ‘safe harbour’ from the competition rules. There are, however, some important changes to the conditions that must be met for the ‘safe harbour’ to apply.

The new TTBE and accompanying guidelines will come into force on 1 May 2014 and will remain in force until 30 April 2026. Under the transitional provisions, businesses have until 1 May 2015 to ensure that any existing agreements that currently benefit from the current ‘safe harbour’ comply with the new TTBE…

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