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India: Assocham event sparks row over conflict of interest by CCI

 |  August 6, 2015

An upcoming conference on intellectual property has triggered a controversy, as a section of the civil society has urged the Competition Commission of India (CCI) not to participate in the event, sponsored by Swedish multinational Ericsson, alleging it would be a conflict of interest since the watchdog is investigating cases against the telecom company on the very same issues that will be discussed in the function.

CCI Chairman Ashok Chawla is the key speaker of the conference, organised by industry chamber Assocham with Ericsson being the event partner. The conference scheduled for Friday also has three CCI members as participants, according to the event brochure.

In a letter, signed by six civil society organisations, argued that the participation of CCI in any form in a conference organised with the financial support of Ericsson would question the integrity and independence of CCI.

On the issue, Chawla said, “I am not aware of the point raised. (I) will see and take a position.”

“The participation of CCI at this conference raises serious concerns of conflict of interest. Further, CCI’s sharing of platforms with private actors would compromise the credibility and independence of CCI,” said the letter sent to Chawla and also marked to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Chief Justice of India and several other ministries.

Ericsson is currently facing three CCI investigations on matters related to Standard Essential Patents and licensing of technologies on fair and equitable terms.

Full content: New Kerala

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