India: Untangling The Patent Thickets

Last Updated: 11 August 2016
Article by Chadha & Chadha IP


"Thickets please ..."1

In 1856, a group of firms jointly acquired a dominant position in sewing machine's patents and formed the first patent pool in the world, which lasted till 1877.2 Around the same time, a company by the name of Draper acquired a commanding patent position for loom temples as well and ergo, began a long-term practice employing aggressive use of patent thickets.3 Organizations thereon have formed multiple patent thickets in the last 150 years.4 Such a strategy of "mutual non-aggression" became quite common in the semiconductor and computer industries5 and led to software companies obtaining a number of "defensive" patents.6 Despite that, it was in the 1970s that the term "patent thicket" originated, when Xerox dominated the photocopier industry.7 These defensive thickets reduced research and development incentives for many new and upcoming innovators but as an advantage to those who became a part of it, reduced transactions costs and created a vertical monopoly.

The debate on the impact of patent thickets on innovation has been as old as the term itself. Yet the same has not reached at a just conclusion. Thickets create dense and overlapping set of complementary patent rights and seek to derive the strategic value from such a hold-up. The potential for patent thickets to stifle innovation depends on the extent to which the concerned organizations raise the costs for other innovators. Nevertheless, such a possibility of hold up can make thickets anti-competitive and decrease the level of innovation and competition in a particular market. Patents held by one organization impose costs on other innovators such as research and development expenditures and licensing fees paid for rights to use patented technology and in extreme set of circumstances may block inventors from accessing certain technologies.8Multiple blocking patents are a result of strongly cumulative innovations, or highly complex products.9 Obtaining all of the necessary licenses reduces remaining profits of an innovator to an unacceptable level.10 Prime cause for the growth of patent thickets has been the strengthening and broadening of patent rights and the growth and development in the technology and innovation sectors. People who can afford thickets aren't worried about their cost; it's the third parties i.e. licensee/assignees who have to pay such costs, for whom this is a cause of concern.11

Through this article, we shall understand the meaning of Patent thickets, the problems that it brings with it and seek to determine the possible solutions/alternatives that could be used to eradicate this problem. There is a dearth of case law on this subject in India. Therefore, much of the discussion herein is anticipatory, placing reliance on the international scenario prevailing on this issue particularly in the United States (US) and the European Union (EU).


"[T]hickets are a bit like nuclear weapons – the problem isn't so much the fact of their existence; it's what happens when you start using them."12

Granting a patent in itself is anti-competitive as it creates exclusivity in the form of a monopoly. Patent thickets cover a greater and establish a broader monopoly than a single patent for the individual or organization owning them. No single authoritative definition has been provided for patent thickets, rather any and all meanings attached to it have been used to describe its economic implications. The term "patent thicket" is descriptive of the difficulties that new entrants to a market may face when attempting to innovate within a technology space of inventions having existing Intellectual Property Rights.13 They consist of patents that "protect components of a modular and complex technology".14 Shapiro defined a patent thicket as: "a dense web of overlapping intellectual property rights that a company must hack its way through in order to actually commercialize new technology."15 He further stated, "..with cumulative innovation and multiple blocking patents, ... patent rights can have the perverse effect of stifling, not encouraging, innovation."16

Perusal of various readings on the subject suggests that the exponents/researchers of this concept have not been able to arrive at a common focal point and concrete definition.17 As per the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office, patent thickets have been broadly fragmented into the following rights:18

  1. When multiple organizations each own individual patents that are collectively necessary for a particular technology, in such cases their competing intellectual property rights form a patent thicket.
  2. Sets of overlapping property rights occurring in fragmented technology markets.
  3. When too many patents covering individual elements of a commercial product are separately owned by different entities.

Hussingger (2006) speaking in the context of patent thicket states, "A further development is that patents gained in value by their ability to be linked with other patents, which encourages patenting of marginal inventions. The resulting complex network of single patents ... was given the name 'patent thicket'."19

The academic literature on this area has highlighted a number of technology areas consisting of patent thickets such as:20 Semiconductors, Biotechnology, Computer Software, E-Commerce, Nanotechnology, Telecommunications and Pharmaceuticals. We shall now look at the broad scope of problems that patent thickets bring with themselves.

The Problems of Patent Thicket

"...[C]omplex web of patents which may stunts invention and discourages research and development."21

A Negative concept: Patent thickets are used to restrict organizations and individuals to enter into a particular sphere of technology. High density of patents and aggressive patent filings has created many "no-go" areas in terms of research and development.22 This prevents new inventors from accessing various technology areas.23 Thickets can also be used for strategic patenting, which involves accumulation of patents to achieve design freedom.24 Hall and Ziedonis described strategic patenting with respect to patent thickets as: "To obtain the rights to infringe patents held by external parties and to improve their leverage in negotiations with other patent owners, these firms amass large patent portfolios of their own with which to trade."25 Empirical research has suggested that thickets have a negative effect on entry into these industries.26 It stifles innovation and creativity and therefore is rightfully termed as a negative concept.

Barriers to Entry: As already reflected upon above, granting a patent in itself creates a monopoly, however the area a thicket covers may be more with a patent thicket. "The combination of complex technology and high volume patenting creates patent thickets which can be defined as dense webs of overlapping patent rights... The measures derive directly from information on blocking of one patent by another. A dense and overlapping set of complementary patent rights of which at least one patent right is blocking the production of an innovation."27 Further, Hemphill (2003) established the view that organizations create thickets to strengthen patent rights and anticipate and prevent imitation.28 Thickets help build robust patent positions.29 Patent thickets create costs for the firms whose patents make up the thicket and they also create costs for the firms who are considering future inventions. Organizations with a thicket monopoly over the market may constitute a barrier to entry into patenting, if the costs of entry or licensing of such patent rights are increased to a great degree.

Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs) or "Patent trolls": PAEs are companies that do not actually produce a tangible product or service. It is believed that such companies merely pretend to be trading in secondary markets of patents that others have filed for, while their main intention is to sue large multinationals for exponentially large amounts of money.30 The actions taken by PAEs are in no way illegal or beyond the scope of vested intellectual property rights in patents. There has been an increase in the United States in the number of patent infringement cases by PAEs, with high profiles cases such as NTP vs. RIM or Eolas vs. Microsoft being the prime examples of the same.31 This has had a negative effect on innovation.


"We need to invent ourselves out of this mess."32

Patent Pools: Patent pools have always been considered as the best fit to tackle the potential for anti-competitiveness.33 They basically involve, "an agreement between two or more patent owners to pool their patents and license amongst themselves or to a third party on pre-determined licensing terms."34 For the last 150 years, organizations have constructed multiple patent pools for collectively acquiring patent rights.35 America saw its first patent pool for sewing machines in the 1850s, when no one person could manage to come up with the complete sewing machine and as such the use of multiple patents became essential. This resulted in the creation of the "Sewing Machine Combination", where the individuals pooled their patents.36 The DVD pools between Philips & Sony and Hitachi, Matushita, Mitusbishi, Time Warner, Toshiba and JVC in the 90s is also another example of strong patent pools and their impact.37

For a patent pool to be successful, the pool has to be pro-competitive.38 They have been considered as the perfect countering tool to patent thickets, especially in developing countries, particularly, in the fields of pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, nanotechnology and clean energy technologies etc.39 For patent pools to be effective, "all patents can be licensed at a single price."40

The problems, if any, have only been from an antitrust standpoint, but a pool in itself has pro-competitive benefits. They do come with their own share of risks, which apart from fostering monopoly and limiting competition, involve a much more serious threat in the form of a cartel.41 A cartel is an agreement between organizations at the same stage of the supply chain, used to fix prices, allocate customers or territories, restrict outputs or rig bids.42 This is the reason why in most of the jurisdictions, a Cartel is considered anti-competitive and is severely punished. As per the India Competition Act, 2002, a cartel includes "an association of producers, sellers, distributors, traders or service providers who, by agreement amongst themselves, limit, control or attempt to control the production, distribution, sale or price of, or, trade in goods or provisions of services."43 A cartel is considered as an anti-competitive agreement,44 punishable with a penalty up to three times of the profits for each year of the continuance of such agreement or ten percent of the average of the turnover of the cartel for preceding thee financial years, whichever is higher.45

The U.S. Supreme Court in observed that a pool might be essential if technical advancement is not be blocked by threatened litigation, such interchange may promote rather than restrain competition, if patent pools are available in reasonable terms. In the USA, the entire patent pool system has been brought under one parameter, "blocking (essential) or complementary patents belong in a pool, while substitute or competing patents are to remain separate."46

Affordable health care has been the biggest concern for India, as new diseases require new medicines at affordable prices, which the pharmaceutical companies are not wiling to produce owing to the limited nature of the markets and the limited profit window. In such circumstances, a patent pool appears to be an achievable solution for various pharmaceutical industries that can pool together in order to reduce research & development and production costs for such pharmaceuticals thereby expanding profits and availability of pharmaceuticals as well. As the patent pools involve multiple licensing agreements, the Indian Patents Act, 1970 (hereinafter referred to as the "Act") governs such agreements. Section 68 of the Patents Act mandates an assignment of a patent to be in writing and duly executed, Section 69 of the Act requires an assignee, mortgagee, licensee or a person otherwise to any interest in a patent, to apply to the Controller in writing for registration of his title, or, of notice of his interest in the register and Section 140 of the Act establishes certain restrictive conditions that need to be avoided in a contract or a license, which may include:47

  1. Requiring the purchaser, lessee, or licensee to acquire from the vendor, lessor, or licensor or his nominees, or prohibiting him from acquiring or restricting in any manner or to any extent his right to acquire from any person or prohibiting him from acquiring except from the vendor, lessor, or licensor or his nominees any article other than the patented article or an article other than that made by the patented process; or
  2. Prohibiting the purchaser, lessee or licensee from using or restricting in any manner or to any extent the right of the purchaser, lessee or licensee, to use an article other than the patented article or an article other than that made by the patented process, which is not supplied by the vendor, lessor or licensor or his nominee; or
  3. Prohibiting the purchaser, lessee or licensee from using or restricting in any manner or to any extent the right of the purchaser, lessee or licensee to use any process other than the patented process,
  4. Providing exclusive grant back, prevention to challenges to validity of Patent & Coercive package licensing, and any such condition shall be void.

In furtherance to the above, while Section 84 of the Act allows compulsory licensing of certain goods on a number of stated conditions. Section 102 of the Act vests the power with the central government to acquire a patent for public purposes. The Act and the Competition Act therefore consist provisions that may take care of situations and problems, which arise out of patent pools. With India's stringent regimes against anti-competitive practices in place, keeping patent pools are a system of checks and balances, the pools in India may thus hold out as an alternative IP strategy to thicketed patent landscape in many crucial sectors.

Review of the renewal fees charged: Patent thickets act as barriers to entry only when the prospective social benefits of the factors giving rise to thickets outweigh the social costs induced by lower entry rates. In a hypothetical scenario, if the renewal charges for one company entering into multiple patent protection are exponentially increased, this would result in exponentially increasing the transactions cost for patent protection and as a result, may create doubts in the minds of organizations looking for blocking and creating monopoly in markets.

Role of Courts: India has many landmark judgments on Patent law in general; wherein the Courts have taken stringent measures to accord protection to intellectual property rights of individuals. However, the adjudication on patent pool/ thickets disputes is barely minimal. Prime reason for the same could be non-understanding or lack of knowledge about this concept in the country. However, in the future if such a need arises, involving PAEs and patent trolls into litigation may enable reduction in the prevalence of patenting strategies overall and in turn may limit patent densities and potential thickets.48 The high costs of litigation, enacting legislations imposing high level of damages, employing specialists to determine inventive step and lack of obviousness in an invention, shall discourage many trolls from infringing with patent rights of multinational corporations.

It is evidently clear that in the manner the Courts interpret patent claims and the extent to which they are willing to provide injunctions play an important role in creating incentives for firms to pursue aggressive legal strategies.49 The courts have to act to stern the tide of litigation in high technology markets and ensure that a party establishes a right to relief effectively and beyond any cavil.

Stringent conditions for grant of patent: Patent system was devised to inspire innovation and creativity, while getting a monopoly for a limited time in return. However, the ordeal of issuing patents too easily for trivial ideas has made the patent system discouraging for breakthrough innovations and ideas.50 The Registrar of patents must remember that the patents are to be granted particularly on the basis of a condition that it should not be obvious to those skilled in the art. Companies should not be allowed Patent protection merely for killing their competition. This requires enacting stringent requirements for granting patents and in addition to that strict monitoring and screening of patent applications, understanding inventions and granting patents only when it satisfies all the necessary conditions of the Act. The bar for patent applications needs to be higher than what it is presently. Inviting third-party comments and expert consultations and making the patent filing public may help in better execution of patent applications.51

International Treaties on Patents: Businesses have always and will always need freedom to operate. Instead of applying for ten patents according protection in separate countries, the patent applicants would be much more benefited if they are able to apply for just one patent globally, which comes at a higher fees. It would help them reduce their transaction costs and realize the enhanced economic value of patents. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) administers various patent-related treaties such as: Patent Cooperation Treaty and Budapest Treaty, which act as international systems for filing and deposits of patents.52 These treaties offer significant advantage to long-term success of an organization. Further by getting patent rights in other countries, organizations may be able to establish licensing agreements with international corporations.

Cross licensing: Cross licensing is another strategy to tackle patent thickets. They are the preferred means to escape blocked patent positions.53 Two organizations may cross license their patents and provide each other the freedom to operate on the technology patented by the other. Cross licensing agreements that license future inventions, as well as current portfolios reduce transaction costs.54 Examples include: Intel entering into many broad cross licenses with other companies such as IBM, agreements between Microsoft and JVC, which came into effect in 2008, agreement between Hewlett-Packard and Xerox, to settle their outstanding patent disputes.55 The traditional concerns regarding cross licensing have been elevation of prices and formation of a cartel and stringent competition laws restrains creation of such formations. Another concern with cross licenses comes in the form of lack of incentive to innovate as organizations run under the constant fear of their rival imitating their improvements. However, empirical support for this concept is evidence of the fact that such cross licenses promote rather than stifle innovation.56 When IBM and Intel sign a forward looking cross license, both of them must have ensured that they incorporate clauses in such agreements that enable each one of them to innovate more freely. Policies such as IP for IP, essential patents patentability are some examples that encourage large companies to enter into bilateral agreements to break thickets and the accompanying monopoly.


United States of America (USA)

The number of pending patent applications in the USA has increased from 270,000 to over 1.1 million.57 Prime reason for this has been increased patent trolling and doubling of patent infringement lawsuits, which have accounted for almost nine-tenths of that increase.58 The litigation risk in the USA is much higher in pharmaceuticals and other technologies such as biotechnology, wherein it was roughly estimated that there was a likelihood of six cases per hundred patents in biotechnology.59 This has resulted in various organizations getting increasingly confronted with serious challenges when trying to develop and commercialize technology in the presence of patent thickets.60 This has also resulted in an increase in the post-grant opposition, which hasn't been very effective in breaking the patent thickets and its effects due to low patent protection. Much hope is being derived from the America Invents Act, 2011, which has created scope of collective activity and is considered as a means to keep weak patents off the register.61

United Kingdom (UK)

There has been a steady growth in the number of international patent applications in the UK, yet in contrast to the USA there hasn't been any significant increase in the number of cases involving patent thickets in the UK.62 There is a lack of evidence in prior empirical evidence on the impact of patent thickets on the UK organizations.63 However, the uncertainty generated by patent thickets is driven as much by patents that are granted as those that are pending. The problem has been seen in the computer technology sector and is slowly emerging to be one that may disproportionately affect smaller businesses.64 It was Ian Hargreaves who in his Report in May 2011 called Digital Opportunity (A Review of Intellectual Property and Growth) had understood the problem and the impact it may cause in the form of obstructing entry to some markets and impeding innovation and recommended the following:

  • "Take a leading role in promoting international efforts to cut backlogs and manage the boom in patent applications by further extending "work sharing" with patent offices in other countries;
  • Work to ensure patents are not extended into sectors, such as non-technical computer programs and business methods, which they do not currently cover, without clear evidence of benefit;
  • Investigate ways of limiting adverse consequences of patent thickets, including by working with international partners to establish a patent fee structure set by reference to innovation and growth goals rather than solely by reference to patent office running costs. The structure of patent renewal fees might be adjusted to encourage patentees to assess more carefully the value of maintaining lower value patents, so reducing the density of patent thickets."65

It is still to be seen how the government is able to incorporate these changes into the legislations and established procedures of filing patent applications across the country.


"A dense web of patents with overlapping claims that are held by several (competing) companies."66

Thickets are driven by multitude of reasons, which mainly include increase in the number of patent filings, reductions in patent quality, increase in technological complexity and interdependence of technological components.;67 The theoretical analysis and the qualitative evidence suggest that thickets impose significant costs on organizations.68 Radical simplifications offered above may positively impact innovation and economic growth by simplifying and speeding up the patent granting process and help in reduction of litigation. The discussion above leads to the conclusion that the operation of the patent system even though favours the patentee but could still use some more improvement. However, legislation should ensure that the Patent system promotes innovation rather than putting brakes on it. Stringent regulation of thickets shall ensure effective utilization of highly innovative and breakthrough inventions and further developing the technological landscape of the country and enabling functioning of patents as the key drivers of economic prosperity. With the focus of thickets on smartphones, semiconductors, nanotechnology and genetics in the modern day era, it would be interesting to see whether history repeats


1. IPKat, 'Gwilym and the thicket collectors, or why life isn't as bad, and is more interesting, than one might think...' (IPKat, 29 November 2011) ( accessed 01 March, 2015


J.Bessen, 'Patent Thickets: Strategic Patenting of Complex Technologies', at page 12

3. Ibid

4. G. Clarkson, 'Objective Identification of Patent Thickets: A Network Analytic Approach' v.3.9, at 2.

5. Id 2 at page 1

6. Ibid

7. SCM Corp. v. Xerox Corp., 645 F.2d 1195 (2d Cir.1981); In re Xerox Corp., 86 F.T.C. 364 (1975).

8. I.M. Cockburn, M.J. MacGarvie and E. Muller 'Patent Thickets, Licensing and Innovative Performance' Discussion Paper No.08-101 (ZEW Discussion Paper, October 29, 2009), at 2 ( ) accessed on 01 March 2016

9. Ibid

10. Id at 3.

11. IPKat, 'It's not just copyright: further thoughts on the UK government's further thoughts' (IPKat, 04 August, 2011) ( accessed on 01 March 2016

12. Ibid

13. IPO, 'Patent thickets, an overview subject to peer review' (IPO, 25 November 2011) at (iii) ( accessed 01 March, 2016

14. B. Hall, C. Helmers, G.V. Graevenitz, C. R. – Bondibene, 'A Study of Patent Thickets' (UKIPO, October 29, 2012), at 2

15. G. Clarkson, 'Objective Identification of Patent Thickets: A Network Analytic Approach' v.3.9, at 2.

16. Ibid.

17. Id 13, at 3

18. Ibid.

19. E.J. Egan & D.J.Teece,'Untangling the Patent Thicket Literature' (Tusher Center for Management of Intellectual Capital, July 2015) at 16.

20. Id 13, at 4

21. Andrew Gowers, 'Andrew Gowers Quotes'

( ) accessed April 12, 2016


Id 13, at 6


Id 13, at 6

24. Id 19, at 13

25. Ibid

26. S.Wagner, 'Are 'Patent Thickets' Smothering Innovation?' ( accessed 06 March, 2016

27. Id 13, at 4

28. Id 19, at 15

29. Ibid.

30. Id 13, at 16

31. Id 14, at 19

32. Bloomberg Business, 'Cutting Through the Patent Thicket' (BloomberBusiness, 19 December, 2005) ( accessed 03 March 2016

33. Id 13, at 11

34. I Barpujari, 'Facilitating Access or Monopoly: Patent Pools at the Interface of Patent and Competition Regimes' (Journal of Intellectual Property Rights, Vol.15 September 2010, pp 345-346),

35. Id 15, at 2.

36. Id 13, at 9

37. Id 34, at 347

38. Ibid, at 22 and 23

39. Id 34, at 345

40. Id 34, at 346

41. Id 34, at 348

42. Ibid

43. Section 2 (c) Competition Act, 2002 ( accessed on 04 March, 2016

44. Section 3(3), Ibid

45. Section 27(b), Ibid

46. Id 34, at 350

47. Section 140 (1) (iii) of the Patents Act, 1970 ( accessed 04 March 2016

48. Id 13, at 18

49. Id 14, at 14

50. Id 25

51. Id 25

52. WIPO, 'Patent-related Treaties administered by WIPO' available at ( accessed March 7, 2016

53. C Shapiro, 'Navigating the Patent Thicket: Cross licenses, Patent Pools and Standard Setting in [Innovation Policy and the Economy]' (MIT Press, January 2001), at page 129

54. Id 19, at 18

55. Id 53, at 130

56. Ibid

57. J. Pethokoukis, 'How the US patent system is strangling US innovation' (American Enterprise Institute, November 24, 2014), ( accessed 03 March, 2016

58. Ibid

59. D. Harhoff, G.v. Graevenitz, S.Wagner 'Conflict Resolution, Public Goods and Patent Thickets', (May 3rd, 2014) at Page 7 ( seminarios/seminarios_externos_2014_2015/082E13C063A544D2E05075A36FB0584C ) accessed 04 March, 2016

60. Ibid, at 18

61. Id 31, at 19

62. Id 14, at 24

63. Ibid, at 59

64. C Waelde, G Laurie, A Brown, S Kheria, J Cornwell 'Contemporary Intellectual Property', at 392 ( +thickets+in+the+UK&source=bl&ots=fr87_WE9n3&sig
) accessed 05 March, 2016

65. At Page 9, ( accessed 05 March, 2016

66. Id 10, at 51

67. B.H. Hall, C. Helmers, G.V. Graevenitz, 'Technology Entry in the Presence of Patent Thickets' (IFS Working Paper, January 16, 2016) at page 19 ( accessed 06 March, 2016

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.