The European Economic Area consists of the European Union and Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. Switzerland was to have become a member, but did not ratify the EEA Agreement. The non-EU members of the EEA have undertaken to comply with many of the economic rules with respect to markets of the EU including many intellectual property provisions and effectively to apply EU competition law. In particular, Articles 53 and 54 of the EEA agreement essentially mirror Article 101 and Article 102 of the TFEU (formerly called the Treaty of Rome (Amsterdam.)) The EEA was formerly referred to as the European Free Trade Association (EFTA, Switzerland is the sole remaining member) and its status is sometimes referred to as External Association with the EU.
From a legal perspective the key issue is that European Law and regulations largely applies within the EEA.