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PERVASIVE TECHNOLOGIES PROJECT WORKING DOCUMENT SERIES: DOCUMENT 1 - RESEARCH METHODOLOGY FOR A PAPER ON COMPETITION LAW + IPR + ACCESS TO < $100 MOBILE DEVICES

This blog post is the research methodology for my research paper under the Pervasive Technologies Project. This is a work in progress and is likely to be modified from time to time.

See a subsequent version titled Pervasive Technologies: Working Document Series - Research Questions and a Literature Review on the Actor-Network Theory


Preliminary

The realization of the promise of the sub hundred dollar mobile device as a facilitator of access to knowledge is contingent inter alia on its availability in the market place. In turn, the market availability of the sub hundred dollar mobile device is influenced by the existence of an enabling environment for producers to produce, and consumers to consume. From a regulatory perspective, the enabling environment itself is a function of existing laws and policies, and the 'developmental effects' of certain laws and policies (Saraswati, 2012).

This research paper under the Pervasive Technologies: Access to Knowledge in the Market Place Project ("PT Project") examines one such legal and policy lever and the role of a regulator in the development of an enabling environment for access to sub hundred dollar mobile devices. This paper is founded on four assumptions: first, that access to sub hundred dollar mobile devices is influenced by their price; second, that the question of access necessitates conversation between the intellectual property regime and several other actors, sites and tools; third, that one of the fundamental goals of regulatory reform is the creation of a 'stable, open and future- proof environment' (Guermazi and Satola, 2005) that encourages access to these devices; and fourth, that there exist public law implications of intellectual property that justify the involvement of State actors and regulators in matters that may arise out of private transactions.

Research Questions

This research paper will examine whether there is a role to be played by one regulator, that is, the Competition Commission of India (“CCI”), in this narrative of innovation, intellectual property and access to sub hundred dollar mobile devices. Specifically, the following research questions will be addressed:

First, what is the relationship between intellectual property and competition law? Second, what are the competition law/antitrust concerns that arise around the licensing of intellectual property (standard essential patents)? Third, can existing mechanisms in competition law address concerns around the licensing of standard essential patents on sub hundred dollar devices, and is competition law a viable solution to address this issue? If so, which ones? Fourth, given the frequency of these litigations, is there a role to be played by an ex-post regulator, such as the CCI, or is there a need for ex-ante regulation?

Research Objects

In an attempt to address these research questions, this paper will examine the role of the Competition Commission of India and the Indian Judiciary. This paper will also examine the role of similarly placed institutions in the United States of America as well as some member states of the European Union.

This research paper will also examine select tools and sites sought to be used to create an enabling environment to facilitate access to these sub hundred dollar mobile devices: first, principles, legal frameworks and provisions of competition law/antitrust law; second, all relevant judicial decisions.

Research Method

First , this research paper will begin with establishing the case for the intervention of the regulator and/or the judiciary in the sub hundred dollar mobile device market by undertaking a review of primary and secondary literature[1]("literature"). Second, also through a literature review, the research will be contextualized to India in terms of the market, the actors involved and the legal framework. Third, a cross jurisdictional comparative legal search will be undertaken to understand the potential areas of intervention for the judiciary and the Competition Commission of India based on existing legal disputes in other jurisdictions; and the possible challenges that might ensue. Fourth, in a scenario building exercise, an attempt will be made to outline the role that the judiciary and the regulator might play in India, in order to ensure access to sub hundred dollar mobile devices is not impeded by litigation around standard essential patents.

Generally, in the writing of this paper, inputs will be sought from experts including MHRD Chair Professors, legal practitioners in India, academics in India and abroad and members of relevant departments of the Indian Government.

Research Communication

This research will be communicated through a series of blog posts- one every month from December, 2014 to December, 2015. A preliminary draft of a research paper will be produced by December, 2015, tentatively to be presented at the 4th Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest, New Delhi. The final output will be a research paper.

References

  1. Bouthenia Guermazi and David Satola, Creating the "Right" Enabling Environment for ICT, in Robert Schware (ed.), E-development: From Excitement to Effectiveness (2005, World Bank Publications).
  2. Jyoti Saraswati, Dot. Compradors- Power and Policy in the Development of the Indian Software Industry (2012, Pluto Press)

[1] Unless otherwise specified, for the purposes of this document, primary and secondary literature includes academic articles and books, newspaper articles and opinion pieces, blog posts, case law and other legal provisions.

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