The European Union adopted on March 21, 2014, revised competition rules for the transfer of technology covering certain categories of agreements for licensing of patents, know-how and software copyrights. The EU reaffirmed its long-held view that technology transfers are generally pro-competitive. Under the terms of the new technology licensing rules, they are ‘block exempted’ from the application of the European competition prohibitions on anticompetitive agreements, provided certain conditions are met.

This is the latest in a series of Technology Transfer Block Exemption Regulations (TTBER) creating a ‘safe harbor' for licensing agreements between companies provided that the parties have limited market share, i.e. not exceeding 20% for agreements between competitors and 30% for agreements between non-competitors and provided that the agreement otherwise satisfies the conditions set out in the TTBER. Agreements that meet these conditions are considered compatible with the EU competition rules.