FAS proposed amendments to the law "On Protection of Competition"


According to the amendments to the law "On Protection of Competition", prepared by the FAS in mid-February, the agency proposed to withdraw the "immunity" from software developers. This means that the application of antitrust laws to the results of intellectual activity in the software sector will become possible, thus expanding the regulatory powers in digital markets.

At the moment the law "On Protection of Competition" stipulates that the results of intellectual activity, which include software, are not regulated by antitrust laws. That means that software developers are not subject to scrutiny regarding the abuse of a dominant position in the market, participation in anticompetitive agreements and other similar violations. The developer has the right to set an arbitrary price for their products, which may vary for different customers and different regions.

According to FAS - "the 'immunity' creates unreasonable advantages for copyright holders who are abusing their rights to the detriment of competition in the Russian commodity markets, and does not allow the application of antitrust response mechanisms when in foreign countries they are practical tools to ensure the balance of the protected values of competition and intellectual property". Therefore, the Federal Antimonopoly Service proposed to withdraw the 'immunity' to computer programs and databases in order to prevent unfair practices. Furthermore, alongside the 'immunity' amendment, other restrictions and changes were proposed in the IT sector to improve the regulation of the market.

IT developers are not happy with the proposed changes and go as far as to warn of the risk of potential industry collapse as a result of the possible amendments. However, the debates regarding the impact are still going on, and the result is yet unclear.