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AstraZeneca judgment: Court clarifies the boundaries

Overview

On 6 December 2012, the EU Court of Justice handed down judgment in the long-running AstraZeneca litigation. Practitioners hoping for an opinion that tempered some of the more extreme dicta of the General Court found a more measured judgment. The Court upheld the General Court's judgment in its entirety. But it refrains from endorsing the General Court's dangerously low threshold as to what conduct before a patent office will constitute an abuse of a dominant position. That said, there is no comfort to be gained on market definition. The Court brushes aside any errors that the General Court made as being a side show that would not alter the final outcome. The Commission's very broad discretion to find a narrow market, and hence a dominant position, is maintained.

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