The Proper Position of Essential Facility Doctrine in Competition Law—Focusing on Infrastructure Theory
|關鍵字:||關鍵設施原則;樞紐設施原則;關鍵設施;樞紐設施;基礎設施理論;競爭法;essential facility doctrine;essential facility;infrastructure theory;competition law|
|摘要:||一般據信關鍵設施原則（essential facility doctrine）是源自美國聯邦最高法院的判例而來，主要目的是防止因擁有特定設施而享有市場力量的事業，拒絕其他競爭事業使用設施，使其他事業因此無法生產下游產品，或被迫墊高生產成本，而無法與設施擁有者在設施鄰接市場抗衡，最終被逐出市場。因此要求設施擁有者在特定情況下，需以公平、合理且不歧視的交易條件，開放設施供其他事業使用。換言之，關鍵設施原則係為防止事業將其在設施所在市場之市場力量，不當延伸至設施之鄰接市場，屬於維護市場競爭的法律原則。
In some circumstances, certain facilities owned by monopolists may be the essential input of products produced by both the monopolists and other firms. If other firms are refused to have access to the facilities, they will be unable to produce the products or produce the products with higher costs than the monopolists. Eventually, firms who have no access to the facilities will be foreclosed, and the adjacent markets of the facilities will be dominated by the monopolists. In order to avoid such outcome and keep the market competitive, essential facility doctrine, which is said to have originated from the precedent determined by Supreme Court of the U.S., requires the monopolists to open access to the facilities with fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms. In other words, the purpose of this doctrine is to prevent the monopolists from leveraging their market power to the adjacent markets of the facilities. Therefore, essential facility doctrine is a legal principle which aims to maintain market competition. Although it seems that this doctrine is consistent with competition law, it raises great controversy among authorities and scholars. Both the authorities of competition law in Europe Union and Taiwan admit this doctrine is a legal principle under competition law; however, Supreme Court of the U.S, which is said to create this doctrine, never expressly admits that. In addition, scholars in the U.S also have not reached consensus whether this doctrine is a legal principle compatible with competition law, and it seems that the negative opinions have been the dominant perspectives among academics. Due to the conservative perspectives among authorities and scholars, essential facility doctrine has not been pervasively accepted in the U.S. Despite that, some scholars proposed a new theory called infrastructure theory in 2008, trying to analyze essential facility doctrine in economic perspectives. The scholars argue that certain facilities shall be open to everyone in order to increase total welfare of society, and they also believe infrastructure theory provides solid reasons to explain why essential facility doctrine is a workable legal principle under competition law. With the appearance of infrastructure theory, it seems that it is worthy to discuss the proper position of essential facility doctrine under competition law. This thesis is aimed to examine whether infrastructure theory could revitalize essential facility doctrine. And the answer is positive. In addition, this thesis argues that essential facility doctrine defined by infrastructure theory is not only applicable to facilities appeared in cases in the past, but also applicable to other facilities which have not be discussed. Therefore, infrastructure theory provides clear guidance and help authorities apply essential facility doctrine more correctly.