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Commission Clears AJ Park’s Acquisition Of Baldwins


The Commerce Commission has granted clearance for AJ Park IP Limited, in conjunction with AJ Park Law Limited (together, AJ Park), to acquire the assets of Baldwins Intellectual Property, Baldwin Holdings Limited, Baldwins Intellectual Property Limited and Baldwins Law Limited (together, Baldwins).

The Commission’s investigation focussed on the potential effect of the proposed acquisition on competition in the markets for the provision of professional services relating to patents. In particular, it considered effects in the chemical, biotechnology, ICT, mechanical and electrical areas.

The Commission also considered the likely impact of the proposed acquisition on competition to provide professional services related to other forms of intellectual property (IP) such as trade marks, registered designs, copyright and plant variety rights.

Chair Anna Rawlings said the Commission is satisfied that the acquisition is unlikely to substantially lessen competition in any relevant New Zealand markets.

“We consider that the presence of competing suppliers in the relevant markets, alongside the increasing presence of Australian firms, is likely to constrain AJ Park’s ability to profitably raise prices or reduce service quality," Ms Rawlings said.

“We are also satisfied that the presence of competing suppliers that vary in size, structure and service offerings would make it difficult for AJ Park and its competitors to coordinate their behaviour post-merger. Further, we are satisfied that AJ Park does not offer any ‘must have’ services that it could bundle or tie in a way that its competitors could not match.”

A public version of the written reasons for the decision will be available on the Commission’s case register in the near future.

Background

AJ Park IP Limited is a subsidiary of the ASX listed IPH group of IP professional services businesses. AJ Park IP Limited provides a range of IP related services including the registration and maintenance of patents and trademarks. AJ Park Law Limited operates a New Zealand-based law firm business that specialises in IP commercial law and IP enforcement and litigation. Other IP services businesses in the IPH group include Spruson & Ferguson, Pizzeys, Griffith Hack and Shelston IP.

Baldwins also provides a range of IP related professional services including the registration and maintenance of patents and trademarks, and IP enforcement and litigation.

Patent services involves a range of services relating to the registration, granting and defending of patents. These services can include searching, patentability analysis, drafting, filing and prosecution, maintenance, opposition and litigation of patents.

We will give clearance to a proposed merger if we are satisfied that the merger is unlikely to have the effect of substantially lessening competition in a market.

Further information explaining how the Commission assesses a merger application is available on our website.
 

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