Bulletin

Anticompetitive practices

The EU Commission sends a statement of objection to a pharmaceutical company regarding possible pay-for-delay agreement (Teva / Cephalon)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission sends Statement of Objections to Teva on ’pay for delay’ pharma agreement* The European Commission has informed pharmaceutical company Teva of its preliminary view that an agreement concluded with Cephalon was in breach of EU antitrust rules. Under the agreement, Teva (...)

The EU Commission fines three car lighting system producers for cartel (Automotive Lighting / Hella / Valeo)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission fines three car lighting system producers €27 million in cartel settlement* The European Commission has fined Automotive Lighting and Hella a total of €26 744 000 for participating in an automotive lighting cartel, in breach of EU antitrust rules. Valeo was not fined as it (...)

The OECD holds a workshop to address algorithms and collusion issues
Norton Rose Fulbright (Brussels)
OECD workshop addresses algorithms and collusion issues* On June 21-23, the OECD held a roundtable on the theme of “Algorithms and Collusion,” as part of a wider work stream on competition in the digital economy. The OECD roundtable reflects a shift in the debate over the antitrust implications (...)

The UK Competition Authority fines a lighting supplier for price resale maintenance (National Lighting Company)
UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)
Lighting company fined £2.7 million for restricting online prices* A lighting supplier has been fined for requiring retailers to use a minimum price when selling their products online. The National Lighting Company (NLC) supplies light fittings to a range of retailers who then sell them on. (...)

The Belgian Administration implements the EU Damages Directive
Simmons & Simmons (Brussels)
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Simmons & Simmons (Brussels)
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Simmons & Simmons (Brussels)
On 12 June 2017, the Act implementing the EU Damages Directive into Belgian law was published in the Belgian State Gazette. The Act adds a new chapter to the Belgian Code of Economic Law. The EU Damages Directive (Directive 2014/104/EU, the Directive) sets out rules which must ensure that (...)

The German administration adopts significant changes to the German Act against Restraints of Competition
White & Case (Hambourg)
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White & Case (Hambourg)
Today, significant changes to the German Act against Restraints of Competition have entered into effect. This newsletter provides an overview of the most significant aspects of the 9th amendment to the German competition law. Cartel Damages The amendment strengthens the procedural and legal (...)

The U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York dismisses a class action lawsuit alleging a large number of entities and individuals in a cartel case (Sea brent crude oil)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
The U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York recently dismissed a class action lawsuit alleging, among other claims, that a large number of entities and individuals in the market for producing, refining and trading Brent crude oil (together, Defendants) manipulated the prices of (...)

The EU Commission opens a formal investigation into distribution agreements of a clothing manufacturer and retailer (Guess)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission opens formal investigation into distribution practices of clothing company Guess* The European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation into the distribution agreements and practices of clothing manufacturer and retailer Guess. The Commission will examine (...)

The Italian Competition Authority opens a market investigation on Big Data
Shearman & Sterling (Rome)
Introduction On 30 May 2017, the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”), together with the national regulators for communications and data protection, opened a joint market investigation on Big Data. The investigation appears to be wide-ranging, covering not only competition issues, but data (...)

The Italian Competition Authority opens a market investigation on Big Data
Shearman & Sterling (Rome)
Introduction The Italian Competition Authority, together with the national regulators for communications and data protection, opened a joint market investigation on Big Data. The investigation appears to be wide-ranging, covering not only competition issues, but data protection, consumer (...)

The Irish Central Criminal Court fines a company executive for his participation in a cartel and imposes a suspended prison sentence
McCann FitzGerald (Dublin)
Ireland - Hard-core cartel offender gets €7,500 fine and suspended sentence* Following a guilty plea to criminal bid-rigging and obstruction charges, a company director was fined €7,500 by an Irish judge on 31 May and sentenced to three months’ imprisonment (suspended – meaning no jail time). (...)

The Italian Competition Authority launches an inquiry into big data
Stanford University - Stanford Law School
Big Data: Italian authorities launch inquiries on competition, consumer protection and data privacy issues* On 30 May 2017, the Italian Competition Authority, the Italian Data Protection Authority and the Communications Authority opened a joint inquiry on “Big Data”. Sector Inquiry The joint (...)

The Latvian Competition Authority fines nine distributors of professional stage equipment for bid-rigging (SGS Sistēmas)
Competition Council of Latvia
The CC detects bid-rigging among distributors of professional stage equipment* On 30 May, the Competition Council of Latvia (the CC) adopted a decision to impose a fine on nine companies, which had coordinated their activities within the framework of procurements of public and municipal (...)

The Belgian Parliament implements the EU Damages Directive
Hogan Lovells
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Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
Damage Control: The implementation of the EU Damages Directive in Belgium* On 18 May 2017, the Belgian Parliament transposed the EU Damages Directive (the “Directive“) into national law by way of the Act on Damage Claims for Breaches of Competition Law (the “Act“), which was published on 12 June (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority sends a letter explaining the basic rules regarding fair competition to over 3,500 companies operating in the ports of Amsterdam and Rotterdam
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
ACM calls port industry’s attention to competition rules* The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has sent a letter explaining the basic rules regarding fair competition to over 3,500 businesses based in Amsterdam and Rotterdam that are active in the ports of those cities. ACM (...)

The Croatian Competition Authority accepts remedies proposed by companies operating in the marine engines market (Duing / Fred Bobek)
Croatian Competition Agency
Accepted Commitments by Duing and Fred Bobek* The Croatian Competition Agency (CCA) closed two proceedings for the establishment of prohibited agreements by accepting commitments proposed by the parties concerned – Duing d.o.o. from Viškovo and Fred Bobek d.o.o. from Vodice active in the sales (...)

The Russian Competition Authority opens administrative proceedings against an international audit company for its possible participation in an anticompetitive agreement (Deloitte)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
FAS opened an administrative case against Russian office of “Deloitte”* On 15 May 2017, FAS opened administrative proceedings against “Deloitte and Tuche CIS” CJSC – Russian representative office of an international audit company “Deloitte”. In March 2017, investigating an antimonopoly case “on a (...)

The Latvian Competition Authority fines four providers of security services for bid-rigging (Bruks)
Competition Council of Latvia
The CC detects bid-rigging by four security companies* On 11 May, the Competition Council of Latvia (the CC) took a decision to impose a fine on four providers of security services – SIA “Bruks”, SIA RK “Nivios-LTD”, SIA “Puma” and SIA “Lat Jur Fin” – for lasting and systematic implementation of (...)

The EU Commission publishes final e-commerce sector inquiry report
Van Bael & Bellis
On 10 May 2017, the European Commission (“Commission”) published its final Report on the e-commerce sector inquiry (“the Report”), aimed at identifying business practices in the sector that might restrict competition and limit con- sumer choice. The Report consists of two documents: (i) a 16-page (...)

The EU Commission publishes its final report on the e-commerce sector inquiry
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
On 10 May 2017, two years after launching its e-commerce sector inquiry on 6 May 2015, the European Commission published its final report (Final Report) on the inquiry. The inquiry was opened in the framework of the Commission’s broader Digital Single Market strategy, which was aimed at (...)

The EU Commission issues its final report on e-commerce sector
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission publishes final report on e-commerce sector inquiry* The European Commission’s final report on the e-commerce sector inquiry identifies business practices that may restrict competition. It allows the Commission to target its enforcement of EU antitrust rules in e-commerce (...)

The EU Commission issues a final report on its e-commerce sector enquiry and updates its digital single market plans
Norton Rose Fulbright (Brussels)
EU issues final report on its e-commerce sector inquiry and updates its digital single market plan* On May 10, 2017, the European Commission published the final report on its sector inquiry on competition in the e-commerce sector (the E-Commerce Report) and a mid-term review of its digital (...)

The EU Commission publishes its final report on the inquiry into the e-commerce sector
DLA Piper
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DLA Piper (London)
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DLA Piper
On 10 May 2017, DG Competition of the European Commission (the "Commission") published its final report on the inquiry into the e-commerce sector (launched in May 2015 as part of the Digital Single Market strategy). The findings in the report are based on information gathered from 1,900 (...)

The Indian Supreme Court clarifies the scope of the investigative powers of the Director General and the establishment of an agreement to indulge in collusive bidding (Crop Care)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co (New Delhi)
On 10 May 2017, the Supreme Court of India published its judgment dated 8 May 2017 in Excel Crop Care Ltd. v. Competition Commission of India & Anr . This judgment deals with important issues on the applicability of the Competition Act, 2002 (Competition Act) to conduct prior to its coming (...)

The EU Commission publishes its final report on the e-commerce sector inquiry
Shearman & Sterling (London)
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Shearman & Sterling (Rome)
The European Commission has published, on 10 May, its final report on the E- commerce Sector Inquiry (the “Final Report”). The Commission launched the E-commerce Sector Inquiry in May 2015 in the context of its Digital Single Market (“DSM”) strategy, aiming to ensure better access for consumers (...)

Unilateral Practices

The EU Commission fines a multinational technology company for abuse of dominance on the market of online comparison shopping service (Google)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission fines Google €2.42 billion for abusing dominance as search engine by giving illegal advantage to own comparison shopping service* The European Commission has fined Google €2.42 billion for breaching EU antitrust rules. Google has abused its market dominance as a search (...)

The EU Commission imposes a record fine for abuse of dominance in the search engine market (Google)
Simmons & Simmons (London)
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Simmons & Simmons (London)
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Simmons & Simmons (London)
Introduction On 27 June 2017, the European Commission (the Commission) imposed a record €2.42bn fine on Google after finding it had abused its dominant position in the search engine market by giving favourable treatment to its comparison shopping service in its search results. Background (...)

The Russian Competition Authority fines a gas producer for abuse of dominance (Gazprom)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
Ingushia OFAS fined “Gazprom Mezhregiongaz Pyatigorsk” Ltd. 140 million RUB* Fines are imposed for infringing the interests of small companies The decisions on abusing dominance were made after investigating several cases upon statements of small companies in the Republic of Ingushetia with (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority rejects a request for interim measures on the pharmaceutical market (Medicare-Market group)
Belgian Competition Authority
The Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) has rejected a request for interim measures of the Medicare-Market group* The SA Medicare-Market (hereafter Medicare-Market) filed on 2 June 2016 a complaint against the Order of Pharmacists and requested interim measures on 28 April 2017. The (...)

The EU General Court addresses concepts of vexatious action and abuse of regulatory procedure in judgment upholding rejection of a complaint (Agria Polska)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 16 May 2017, the General Court offered guidance on the concepts of vexatious action and abuse of regulatory procedure in the context of a judgment upholding a Commission decision to reject a complaint brought by Agria Polska and four other companies active in the parallel importation of (...)

The Russian Competition Authority issues a warning letter to a multinational technology company to prevent an abuse of dominance (Microsoft)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
FAS warned “Microsoft” not to create discriminatory conditions* On 13 June 2017, FAS issued warnings to “Microsoft” to stop actions that have signs of violating the antimonopoly law (Clause 8 Part 1 Article 10 and Articles 14.2, 14.8 of the Federal Law “On Protection of Competition”). (...)

The French Competition Authority dismisses a complaint of a railway company accusing the incumbent of abuse of dominance (TRANSDEV)
French Competition Authority
The Autorité de la concurrence examines the state of competition in the coach transport sector and dismisses the complaint lodged by TRANSDEV against SNCF* Having been referred to by TRANSDEV GROUP (TRANSDEV) regarding practices implemented by the SNCF group in the intercity coach transport (...)

The EU Commission opens a formal investigation to assess whether a Romania’s gas has abused of its dominant position (Transgaz)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission opens investigation into gas export restrictions from Romania* The European Commission has opened a formal investigation to assess whether Romania’s gas transmission system operator Transgaz has been hindering gas exports from Romania to other EU Member States. The (...)

The EU Commission opens formal investigation into a pharmaceutical company pricing practices (Aspen Pharma)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission opens formal investigation into Aspen Pharma’s pricing practices for cancer medicines* The European Commission has opened a formal investigation into concerns that Aspen Pharma has engaged in excessive pricing concerning five life-saving cancer medicines. The Commission (...)

The Russian Competition Authority announce the payment of a fine by a multinational technology undertaking following a settlement (Google)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
Google paid the fine* On 9 May 2017 Google Inc. Paid a 438,067,400 RUB administrative fine imposed by the Federal Antimonopoly Service. On 17 April 2017 the 2-year dispute between the Federal Antimonopoly Service and “Google” ended in an amicable settlement reached at the Arbitration Court of (...)

The Russian Competition Authority sanctions an energy company for abuse of dominance in the electricity market (Novgorodoblenergo)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
“Novgorodoblenergo” JSC abused market dominance* Novgorod OFAS found that the company violated the Federal Law “On Protection of Competition” The antimonopoly body opened a case upon complaint from “Elkom” Ltd. Prior to initiating the proceedings Novgorod OFAS issued a warning to (...)

Mergers

The EU Commission sends statements of objection to three undertakings regarding possible breach of EU merger procedural rules (Merck / Sigma-Aldrich, General Electric / LM Wind and Canon / Toshiba)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission alleges Merck and Sigma-Aldrich, General Electric, and Canon breached EU merger procedural rules* The Commission has sent three separate Statements of Objections to Merck and Sigma-Aldrich, General Electric and Canon alleging they breached EU merger rules: General Electric, (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger subject to remedies in the chemicals market (Huber Silica / Evonik)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Huber Silica by Evonik, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation Evonik’s acquisition of Huber Silica. The decision is conditional on the divestment of some of both companies’ activities related to (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority clears a merger subject to remedies on the telecommunication market (Coditel / Telenet)
Belgian Competition Authority
The BCA has approved conditionally the acquisition of Coditel by Telenet* The Competition College of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) has approved conditionally on 12 June 2017 the acquisition of Coditel Brabant SPRL and her subsidiary Coditel SARL (hereafter ‘Coditel’) by Telenet Group (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger subject to remedies on the markets for debt collection and debt purchasing (Intrum Justitia / Nordic Capital)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Intrum Justitia by Nordic Capital, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Intrum Justitia by Nordic Capital. The decision is conditional on the divestment of the companies’ (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger subject to remedies on the pharmaceutical market (Actelion / Johnson & Johnson)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Actelion by Johnson & Johnson, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Actelion Pharmaceuticals by Johnson & Johnson. The decision is subject to conditions (...)

The Polish Competition Authority imposes a fine of more than EUR 124,000 for gun-jumping (Bać-Pol)
WKB Wierciński Kwieciński Baehr (Warsaw)
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WKB Wierciński Kwieciński Baehr (Warsaw)
In its decision of 5 June 2017, the Polish Competition Authority (Prezes Urzędu Ochrony Konkurencji i Konsumentów, the “PCA”) fined Bać-Pol S.A. PLN 527,000.00 (approx. EUR 124,000.00) for failure to notify of the takeover of a portion of assets of another company called Klementynka. The PCA (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger subject to remedies in the telecommunication market (Telecom Italia / Vivendi)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves Vivendi’s acquisition of Telecom Italia, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved the acquisition of de facto control over Telecom Italia by Vivendi. The decision is conditional on the divestment of Telecom Italia’s stake in Persidera. Telecom (...)

The German FCO publishes merger remedies guidelines
Heinz & Zagrosek (Köln)
Bundeskartellamt publishes merger remedies guidelines* On May 30, 2017, the Bundeskartellamt (Federal Cartel Office, "FCO“) has published guidelines on remedies in German merger control, also available in an English translation. The very detailed guidelines (87 pages) provide a comprehensive (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a merger in the commercial restaurant sector (Flo / Bertrand)
French Competition Authority
Restaurant sector* As part of group Flo’s takeover by group Bertrand, the Autorité de la concurrence considered the case under merger control. The Autorité has authorized the transaction for which the agreement protocols have to be approved by Nanterre’s commercial court. Group Bertrand notified (...)

The German Competition Authority clears a joint venture in the retail sector (EDEKA / Budnikowsky)
German Competition Authority
Bundeskartellamt clears EDEKA/Budnikowsky cooperation* The Bundeskartellamt has cleared the launch of a joint venture between EDEKA and Budnikowsky. Andreas Mundt, President of Bundeskartellamt: "When we assess mergers in the retail sector we always have to examine the competitive conditions (...)

The EU Commission fines a company for providing incorrect or misleading information during its investigation on a merger (Facebook / WhatsApp)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
On May 18, 2017, the European Commission (the “Commission”) fined Facebook €110 million for providing incorrect or misleading information during its 2014 investigation of its acquisition of WhatsApp The magnitude of the fine dwarfs the few penalties the Commission has imposed in the past for (...)

The EU Commission fines a social network company for providing misleading information during the merger investigation (Facebook)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission fines Facebook €110 million for providing misleading information about WhatsApp takeover* The European Commission has fined Facebook €110 million for providing incorrect or misleading information during the Commission’s 2014 investigation under the EU Merger Regulation of (...)

The EU Commission alleges a telecommunication company has breached EU rules by implementing its merger before notification or approval (Altice)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission alleges Altice breached EU rules by early implementation of PT Portugal acquisition* The European Commission has sent a Statement of Objections alleging that multinational telecommunications company Altice (the Netherlands), breached the EU Merger Regulation by implementing (...)

The EU Commission sends a statement of objections to a company to investigate whether a merger was implemented prior to the Commission’s clearance (Altice)
Shearman & Sterling (London)
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Shearman & Sterling (Brussels)
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Shearman & Sterling (Brussels)
When a transaction meets the thresholds of the EU Merger Regulation, companies must notify and obtain clearance from the European Commission before implementing the transaction. This means that until clearance is obtained, companies should continue to operate independently (including (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger, subject to remedies, on the market of semiconductor devices (Brocade / Broadcom)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Brocade by Broadcom, subject to conditions* The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of networking products supplier Brocade (US) by semiconductor manufacturer Broadcom (US/Singapore), subject to (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger, subject to remedies, on the chemicals market (Reichhold / Polynt)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves merger between chemical producers Reichhold and Polynt, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the merger between chemical producers Reichhold (US) and Polynt (Italy). Both produce unsaturated polyester resins, (...)

The Polish Competition Authority clears a merger in the airport duty-free shops market (Inflight Service Poland / Lagardère Duty-Free)
WKB Wierciński Kwieciński Baehr (Warsaw)
The President of the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (“OCCP”) in his decision no. DKK 72/2017 of 11 May 2017 issued consent for concentration on the market for duty-free shops. As the proceedings demonstrated, the acquisition of Inflight Service Poland by Lagardère Duty-Free (...)

State Aid

The EU Court of Justice rules that a Member State could not request reimbursement of an aid that had been granted to an undertaking in compliance with the General Block Exemption Regulation (Nerea)
Jones Day (Brussels)
In Short The Situation: On July 6, 2017, the European Court of Justice ruled that a Member State could not request reimbursement of aid that had been granted to an undertaking in compliance with the General Block Exemption Regulation solely because that undertaking later became the subject of (...)

The EU Commission approves a State aid for construction Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport express rail line (CDG Express)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves French support for construction of €1.3 billion Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport express rail line* The European Commission has approved French support measures for the construction of an express railway line between Paris and the Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport. (...)

The French Council of State rules out as non-compensable losses the recovery, however belated, of a State aid unlawfully granted together with the accrued interest (Le Muselet Valentin)
DLA Piper (Paris)
In its confirmatory ruling issued on 7 June 2017, the French administrative supreme court (Conseil d’Etat, 9ème et 10ème chambres réunies, hereafter the “French Council of State”) dismissed the compensation claims brought against the State by the beneficiary of an incompatible State aid on the (...)

Procedures

The German Parliament adopts a new amendment to the Act Against Restraints of Competition in order to adapt its competition law to the digital economy
Hogan Lovells (Munich)
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Hogan Lovells (Munich)
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Hogan Lovells (Munich)
On 9 June 2017, the 9th amendment of the German Act Against Restraints of Competition (ARC) entered into effect introducing important amendments for companies to German competition law. The reform deals with two main issues: the implementation of the European Cartel Damages Actions Directive (...)

The Spanish government implements the EU antitrust damages directive
Callol, Coca & Asociados
The government has issued an urgent Royal Decree-Law 9/2017 of 26 May (RDL) implementing Directive 2014/104/UE, of the European Parliament and the Council, of 26 November 2014 (Directive) into Spanish law. A Royal Decree-law is an instrument used by the government to legislate on matters that (...)

Regulatory

The Romanian Competition Authority issues its recommendations for the improvement of the medical services market
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
The Competition Council makes recommendations for the improvement of the medical services market* The Competition Council finalized the sector inquiry on medical services in Romania and related activities and elaborated a series of recommendations for the development of this sector and (...)

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