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Newsletter 2015.02 – IP Licensing Pitfall in Brazil: Brazilian Antitrust Authority Releases New Rule on Contracts Subject to Prior Approval

A new resolution defining the legal concept of “associative contract”, which was issued last year by CADE (Conselho Administrativo de Defesa Econômica) – the Brazilian antitrust authority – came into force in January 2015. According to the Brazilian current antitrust law (Law n. 12.529/2011), once other legal premises are met, such as annual revenue standards, “associative contracts” must be previously notified to and approved by CADE before being performed by the parties despite the fact that the Law does not clarify the meaning of “associative contracts”. Therefore CADE’s Resolução n°. 10 de 29 de outubro de 2014 is expected to eliminate the former legal uncertainty on which kinds of commercial agreements had to be submitted to CADE, a doubt that used to reach intellectual property licensing agreements.
 
Brazilian antitrust Law establishes that “acts of economical concentration” must be previously submitted to CADE’s approval before coming into force whenever (a) the annual gross revenue in Brazil of one of the parties involved is of 750 million BRL or more and (b) the annual gross revenue in Brazil of the other party is of 75 million BRL or more.
 
In addition to these parameters, section 90 of the Law lists the strict cases which shall be considered “acts of economical concentration”, the majority of which are related to mergers and acquisitions. Exception made to item (IV) which provides for the prior consent of CADE to “associative contract, consortium or joint venture” though without defining the meaning of “associative contract”, which could reach several agreements with no repercussion on market competition.
 
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