INTERNATIONAL EXPERTS CAME TO SKOLKOVO TO DISCUSS DIGITAL ECONOMY
The discussion took place on 6 December 2017 at the III International Research-to-Practice Conference – “Antimonopoly Policy: Science, Practice”
“The topic of digital economy is somehow related to “Skolkovo” Innovations Centre”, said Igor Drozdov, Board Chairman, the “Skolkovo” Foundation, welcoming the Conference participants. He emphasized that under the modern conditions the antimonopoly law requires significant changes. “It concerns not only pin-point tuning of the law but reviewing approaches to the key concepts in antimonopoly regulation”, pointed out Igor Drozdov.
He outlined the two main issues - in his opinion - for regulating information technologies: data circulation and IP rights.
According to the speaker, information by itself, even non-structured and aimed only for official use, has value: “A concept should be introduced in the law that information may be an object of civil rights since economic entities exchange, buy and sell it”.
Board Chairman of the “Skolkovo” Foundation reminded that work of the largest companies is based on information”: “This is a monopoly through which one can rule the world. It allows using economic leveraging to remove the companies that do not possess such data from the market”.
Regarding use of information under IP rights restrictions, Igor Drozdov said that “Russia is the only developed jurisdiction that has exceptions for IP rights in the antimonopoly law, which should be abandoned”.
Summing up, the representative of the “Skolkovo” Foundation expressed hope that the fifth antimonopoly package will be drafted to fit the digital economy.
Gadis Gadzhiev, a judge of the Constitution Court of the Russian Federation also took part in the plenary session. He said: “Big data are a new type of capital with an enormous value. They are part of the economic structure. At the same time, the cost of traditional capital is determined according to Marx and the cost of digital capital – by the number of users.” Gadis Gadzhiev specially emphasized that information cannot be withdrawn from civil turnover and it is necessary to resolve a contradiction between protection of personal data and implementation of modern technologies.
Alexei Ivanov, Director of the Institute of Law and Development, High School of Economics – Skolkovo discussed in detail the transformation of economic processes in the digital economy. “Concentration of data and technologies in the hands of a small number of players increases inequality and strengthens oligopoly, аnd supermonopolies in the digital economy are becoming increasingly customary”. In view of Alexei Ivanov, the rights for knowledge and information in the form of IP (intellectual property) tend to establish excessive restrictions and barriers for developing digital economy, depriving businessmen and start-up companies from possibilities to create something new under tight dominance of digital platforms and technological giants on the markets in the digital economy.
Professor Hamid Ekbia, Indiana University, analyzed development of monopolies and the antimonopoly law in the USA. He emphasized that “the approach to antimonopoly regulation in the digital economy should be more creative” and added that “it depends only on us for whom the new economy will work”.
Denis Gavrilov (Dr of Law), Deputy Head of the Competition Law Department at Kutafin State Law Academy and an advisor at “Yegorov, Puginsky, Afanasiev and Partners” Law Offices, informed participants about antimonopoly cases in the digital sphere, the specifics of determining the market boundaries in the course of case investigations, and defining the rights for IP objects. Such cases include FAS investigations against “Google” and “Microsoft’.