23 Jun 09:00

Call for Abstracts: Competition & IP in the Digital Markets: A comparative & inter-disciplinary perspective

Following digitalization of even the most traditional brick and mortar sectors of the economy - such as books, retail and even education - a well-functioning internal market can only be guaranteed by ensuring competitiveness of the digital markets. The benefits of a digital single market cannot be under-estimated. Relentless innovation has facilitated this trend of digitalization and digitization. What role do intellectual property law and competition law play in this digital world? How can a more economic analysis strengthen our innovation policies to achieve a truly competitive digital single market?

In this conference, we explore this digital dynamic of competition and intellectual property law from an inter-disciplinary perspective. A well-balanced debate and meaningful discussion on innovation in the digital economy, calls for a discussion on the legal and economic perspective on digital markets, such as by an examination of the potential effects of (allegedly) exclusionary and exploitative conduct carried out by the multi-sided platforms.

Call for Abstracts: VIDEO available HERE

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Call for Abstracts


Participants are encouraged to submit a detailed abstract. The paper can concentrate on any aspect of competition, including the recently introduced ECN+ Directive and IP laws. The paper, can for example, focus either on competition law or on IP law or consider the two areas of law simultaneously. Papers discussing the economics of IP and competition law are also highly encouraged.

Abstracts should be submitted in Word-format, written in English and about 1000 words long with up to 5 main references. The paper must not yet have published elsewhere and the abstract should refer to the methodology used.

  • Submission of abstracts: 6th February 2022 
  • Notification of acceptance: 4th March 2022
  • Submission of final papers: 1st May 2022
  • Date of conference: 23-24 June 2022 (Maastricht University Campus Brussels - hybrid conference, registration will be available as of April)

Suggested topics

  • Impact of the ECN+ Directive on competition law enforcement in digital markets
    Efficient enforcement is the key to competitive digital markets system.  ECN+ Directive promises this through some notable changes in the current enforcement practices. Even though  the ECN+ Directive represented views shared by the members of the ECN, very few Memer States met the deadline for the transposition of the Directive into national law. The delay in implementation notwithstanding, ECN+ promises more investigative powers to Member States. Remedies are an important aspect of this power. Contributions on how ECN+ Directive will empower the Member States and facilitate more effective enforcement of EU competition law (both procedural and substantial) are highly encouraged.
  • Competition & IP in digital markets
    A discussion on innovation in the digital economy must be complemented by reference to intellectual property laws. Competition and IP relish a very special relationship. The then Commissioner for Competition Mario Monti remarked that the debate in the economic and legal circles has lingered on for long on how to marry the innovation bride with the competition groom. These sessions are an attempt to bring together these two very special fields of EU law. Whereas competition law, at least on the face of it, promises more competition and thereby, more products and services; IP law offers exclusive proprietary rights. The two, however, converge at some point. Exclusionary rights offered by IPRs brings more innovation in the markets. It is this power of innovation that drives the engine of digital markets. Contributions to this session may look at the role of intellectual property law in facilitating the emergence of digital markets and what many call Industry 4.0. Policy papers looking at the interplay between IP, competition and regulation, such as the proposed Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act and the role of patent and competition law in the FRANDly (Fair, Reasonable and Non-discriminatory) SEP (Standard Essential Patents)  debate are highly welcome.
  • Exploitative & exclusionary conduct in the digital world: An economic perspective
    The concept exclusionary conduct refers to anti-competitive forms of abuse by dominant undertakings, which leads to foreclosure of competitors. A crucial question, from an economic perspective, is whether foreclosure of competitors also results in actual consumer harm.

    The concept exploitative conduct refers to practices that can directly harm consumers, such as excessive pricing or unfair trading conditions. The concept has not been applied as much in competition law practice as the classic economic models (focused more on static efficiency). However, more recently competition law scholars and practitioners have started to debate the potential relevance of exploitative abuse in relation to the use of consumer data by digital platforms. While an obvious reference can be made here to the Facebook decision by the German Bundeskartellamt, the discussion in the literature is broader. Does the concept of exploitative conduct in relation to data use make economic sense in the digital world? 

    Contributions can either reflect on a particular type of exclusionary abuse, for example by providing economic reflections on recent case law at national or EU level, or on the concept of exploitative abuse and its relevance to assess the conduct of the digital undertakings. Of course, a contribution that focuses on the interaction between the different types of abuse (exclusionary, exploitative, and abuses harming the internal market) are also highly welcome.

Scientific Committee

  • Caroline Cauffman (Associate Professor, Maastricht University).
  • Michael Faure (Professor & Academic Director of the Maastricht European Institute for Transnational Legal Research (METRO), Maastricht University and Professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam)
  • Anselm Kamperman Sanders (Professor IP & Academic Director of the Institute for Globalisation and International Regulation (IGIR), Maastricht University and Deputy Judge, Court of Appeal, Hague).
  • Niels Philipsen (Associate Professor Maastricht University and Professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam)
  • Kalpana Tyagi (Assistant Professor IP & Competition Law & Managing Coordinator The Innovator’s Legal Aid Clinic, Maastricht University)