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Commerce Act changes proposed

Home Insights Commerce Act changes proposed

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Contributed by: Troy Pilkington and Bradley Aburn

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Published on: January 25, 2019

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Market power, intellectual property, and land covenant laws under review

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) this morning announced yet another review of the Commerce Act, issuing a Discussion Paper proposing that the Commerce Act's:

  • market power prohibitions be amended to mirror the equivalent prohibitions recently introduced in Australia (which now has an "effects" based prohibition);
  • intellectual property exemptions be repealed; and
  • cartel prohibitions be extended to also apply to land covenants (not just contracts, arrangements, and understandings).  

These reforms, if implemented, would result in significant changes to New Zealand's competition law framework.

While the announced review of the market power prohibition was expected (with the Government as recently as December 2018 restating its intention to review that prohibition), the proposed reforms to the intellectual property exemptions and the land covenant laws had not been as clearly signalled.  

Given these proposed reforms will have wide reaching consequences, it will be important that the business community reflects carefully on the proposals and makes its views heard so there can be a robust assessment of both the costs and benefits before any law reform is implemented.  

MBIE has called for submissions by 1 April 2019, and its Discussion Paper can be accessed here

If you would like to discuss how the proposed changes could affect your business, or you would like assistance in considering your options for responding to these proposals, please get in touch with Troy Pilkington or Sarah Keene.

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Competition Update
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