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  • Peter Kam Fai Cheung SBS

Real Win-Win Results

Yesterday evening, I went to a talk to learn about the practical application of competition rules in the real context in Hong Kong and elsewhere. I believe competition drives creativity and innovation, supplying the free market with the best range of goods or services at the best prices. Hong Kong's Competition Ordinance, Cap 619 came into effect on December 14, 2015, when I was still sanitizing myself from my last official position and would not compete unfairly.

When a competition law was first mooted in Hong Kong, a conceptual issue that had to be clarified was the relationship between competition and intellectual property. Right users or competitors might feel the object/effect of the intellectual property regime is anti-competitive as they cannot generally use them without right holders' consent. Yet, international and domestic laws have long secured the exclusive rights of intellectual property right holders.

Despite intellectual property's monopolistic nature, the special regime's object/effect is to prohibit users/competitors from free-riding on the results of others' creativity/innovation/investment. In the general competition context, Hong Kong has outlawed anti-competitive conduct via "The First Conduct Rule, "The Second Conduct Rule" and "The Merger Rule". Both regimes, however, share the value of fair competition.

In the era of standardization, collaboration and "intellectualpropertization" (coined by me), entrepreneurs have strategies to achieve effectiveness and efficiency in their entrepreneurial ways. However, legal compliance and good governance are the ultimate success keys. Thus, when embracing competitors, it is prudent to have lawyers conversant with the rules and the contexts to help manage the legal risks before achieving real win-win results!

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