Latest News issue: February 2018 - II

Anticompetitive practices

The EU Commission fines maritime car carriers and car parts suppliers in three separate cartel cases (MOL, NYK, "K" LINE, WWL-EUKOR, CSAV, Denso, Bosch, NGK, TRW and Continental)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission fines maritime car carriers and car parts suppliers a total of €546 million in three separate cartel settlements* In three separate decisions, the European Commission has fined four maritime car carriers €395 million, two suppliers of spark plugs €76 million, and two (...)

The German Competition Authority launches a sector inquiry into market conditions in the online advertising sector
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt launches sector inquiry into market conditions in online advertising sector* The Bundeskartellamt has launched a sector inquiry into the online advertising sector. Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartellamt: "Online advertising has experienced an extraordinarily high (...)

The EU Commission publishes a report on the implementation of collective redress mechanisms in EU Member States
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 26 January 2018, the European Commission (the “Commission”) published a report on the implementation of collective redress mechanisms in EU Member States (the “Report”). The Report is the Commission’s opportunity to comprehensively review the implementation of its 2013 Recommendation on common (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issues a decision holding that purchasers have standing to seek damages from suppliers accused of price-fixing (Egg Products)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington DC)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
,
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
Last week, in In re: Processed Egg Products Antitrust Litigation, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued a decision holding that purchasers of processed egg products have standing to seek damages from egg suppliers accused of price-fixing in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman (...)

The Russian Arbitration Court of the Far East District upholds a cartel decision in the passenger transportation market (Flagman-Auto)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
Court supported a decision of primorie OFAS on a passenger transportation case in Vladivostok* The parties to the case entered into an agreement that restricted competition on the market of urban passenger transportation In July 2015, the Commission of Primorie OFAS found that Vladivostok (...)

The Russian Competition Authority opens a proceeding against forensic equipment suppliers for cartel (Krim-Market)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
FAS exposed collusion between forensic equipment suppliers* Nine companies are guilty of collusion at auctions organized by the Ministry of Interior and Russian Federal Forensics Centre at the Ministry of Justice On 15 January 2018, the Federal Antimonopoly Service found that “Krim-Market” (...)

The Russian Competition Authority opens a proceeding for cartel in the market of supplying gas chromatographs (Chromatec)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
FAS exposed a cartel for supplying gas chromatographs* Actions of “Chromatec” and “Chromatec-Service Yoshkar-Ola” at an auction for the needs of the Federal Drug Control Service resulted in maintaining auction prices Having investigated an antimonopoly case, FAS found that “Chromatec” Special (...)

The Russian Competition Authority opens a proceeding for cartel in the rail tracks market (Partnerstvo)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
Rail track collusion* Moscow OFAS exposed cartels at auctions of the Ministry of Defence for supplying materials for rail tracks. “Partnerstvo” Ltd., “Pravda” Ltd. and “DorRem” Ltd. concluded and implemented oral cartel agreements throughout 5 auctions (in breach of Clause 2 Part 1 Article 11 of (...)

The Russian Arbitration Appeal Court upholds a cartel decision regarding a cartel between suppliers of individual respiratory protection equipments (Tambovgalvanotekhnika)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
Court confirmed a cartel of 30 companies – suppliers of individual respiratory protective equipment* The cartel dividing the market between its participants maintained prices at 1 308 tenders On 10 January 2018 the 9th Arbitration Appeal Court confirmed legitimacy of FAS decision regarding 30 (...)

The Hainan High People’s Court fines a company for anticompetitive distribution agreement and affirms the principle of prohibition in principle on a case-by-case basis (Hainan Yutai)
Global Law Office (Beijing)
I. Background Hainan Yutai Technology Feed Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as ’Hainan Yutai’) entered into agreements with its distributors in 2014 and 2015, pursuant to which it was agreed that “Party B (distributor) would maintain the confidentiality of Party A’s (Hainan Yutai) discount (...)

The German Federal Court of Justice confirms that the general prohibition of the use of price comparison engines by retailers is illegal (Asics)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
ASICS dealers allowed to use price comparison engines - Federal Court of Justice confirms Bundeskartellamt’s decision* In its decision of 12 December, 2017, published on 19 January, 2018, the Federal Court of Justice decided that ASICS may not forbid its dealers from using price comparison (...)

The Hong Kong Competition Commission receives an application for an exemption decision in relation to the Code of Banking Practice
Hong Kong Competition Commission
Notice issued under section 10 of the Competition Ordinance of an application for a decision in relation to the Code of Banking Practice* On 11 December 2017, the Competition Commission (“Commission”) received an application for a decision (“Application”) under section 9 of the Competition (...)

The German Federal Court of Justice quashes a decision which had ruled that minimum resale pricing did not result in an appreciable restriction of competition given its limited timeframe and scope (Almased Wellness)
Commeo (Frankfurt)
In its judgment of 17 October 2017, the Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof - “BGH” or the “Court”) quashed a decision taken by the Celle Higher Regional Court (Oberlandesgericht Celle – “OLG Celle”) in April 2016 which had ruled that minimum resale pricing did not result in an appreciable (...)

The Turkish Competition Board publishes a decision following its preliminary investigation on alleged restrictive practices by an undertaking and its retailers in a wide range of sectors (Doğtaş Kelebek Mobilya / Yataş Yorgan ve Yatak San ve)
ELIG, Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
Introduction On January 9 2018 the Competition Board published a reasoned decision dated September 27 2017
( 1 7-30/487-211) following its preliminary investigation into allegations by Doğtaş Kelebek Mobilya San ve Tic AŞ that Yataş Yorgan ve Yatak San ve Tic AŞ had violated Article 4 of Law 4054 on (...)

Unilateral Practices

The EU Commission fines a company for abuse of dominance on the market for baseband chipsets for smartphones and tablets (Qualcomm)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 24 January 2018, the European Commission (the “Commission”) announced that it had imposed fines totalling € 997.439 million on chipset producer Qualcomm for abusing a dominant position contrary to Article 102 TFEU. While the public version of the decision has not yet been published, the (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines a company for abuse of dominance for refusal to licence press release rights (Editorial Initiatives Company)
Osborne Clarke (Rome)
With a decision dated 20 December 2017, the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”, “Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato”, “AGCM”) has sanctioned S.I.E. S.p.A. (“SIE”) for an abuse of dominant position in the press review services sector, in violation of Article 3 of Italian Law no. 287/1990. (...)

The French Competition Authority fines pharmaceutical laboratories for preventing and restricting the development of generic drugs (Janssen-Cilag / Johnson & Johnson)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 20 December 2017, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) imposed a fine of € 25 million on Janssen-Cilag laboratory and its parent company Johnson & Johnson for preventing and then restricting the development of a generic version of its analgesic Durogesic (the “Decision”). Ratiopharm, now (...)

The Italian Competition Authority sanctions telecom companies for two different abuses of dominance in the Italian market of SMS bulk (Telecom Italia / Vodafone)
Osborne Clarke (Rome)
On 13 December 2017, the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”) fined Vodafone S.p.A. (“Vodafone”) and Telecom Italia S.p.A. (“Telecom”) for two different abuses of dominant position in the Italian market of SMS bulk, in breach of Article 102 TFUE. More specifically, the ICA has found two distinct (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines several telecom companies for margin squeeze (Telecom Italia / Vodafone)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 13 December 2017, the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”) fined Telecom Italia S.p.A. (“TIM”) and Vodafone Italia S.p.A. (“Vodafone”) € 3.7 million and € 5.8 million respectively for abusing their dominant position on the market for wholesale bulk SMS services. The ICA considered that each mobile (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines a company for abuse of dominance in the single-wrapped ice cream market through rebates (Unilever)
Osborne Clarke (Rome)
On 6 December 2017, the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”, “Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato”, “AGCM”) sanctioned Unilever Italia Mkt. Operations S.r.l. (“Unilever”) for an abuse of dominant position in the Italian ice cream sector in breach of Article 102 TFUE. After a two-years (...)

Mergers

The EU Commission clears a merger subject to remedies in the global media market and rejects a referral request by the Polish Competition Authority (Discovery / Scripps)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves Discovery’s acquisition of Scripps, subject to conditions; rejects referral request by Polish competition authority* The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of Scripps by Discovery, both US based global media (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority clears a merger subject to remedies in the market of garages for maintenance and repairs of trucks (Kant / Volvo)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
The Competition College of the BCA authorises conditionally the acquisition of garages of the group Kant by Volvo Group Belgium* The Competition College of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) has authorised on 31 January 2018 the acquisition of garages of Kant NV by Volvo Group Belgium NV. (...)

State Aid

The EU Court of Justice annuls a Commission decision due to the lack of motivation in the assessment of the selectivity criteria in the determination of the compatibility of an aid (Comunidad Autónoma de Galicia and Retagal)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 20 December 2017, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“ECJ”) issued its judgment in case C-70/16 P, Comunidad Autónoma de Galicia and Retagal v Commission. The ECJ annulled, on appeal, a Commission decision of 19 June 2013 ordering the recovery of state aid granted by Spain to operators (...)

Procedures

The Brussels Court of Appeal clarifies the obligation of the Competition Authority to provide statement of reasons regarding documents seized during dawn raids (Distripaints / Novelta)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 13 December 2017, the Brussels Court of Appeal (the “Court”) held that documents seized by the Belgian Competition Authority (“BCA”) during an inspection had been legally included in the scope of the investigation as the BCA had provided a satisfactory statement of reasons following a (...)

Regulatory

The Moldovan Competition Authority holds the government accountable for the anti-competitive actions of a State-owned enterprise (Ministry of Finance / Loteria Națională a Moldovei)
Faculty of Law - University of Macau
On 24 August 2017 the Competition Council (CC) held that the Ministry of Finance has violated competition law by endorsing the decision of the state-owned enterprise to accord favorable treatment to a private company in the gaming market. In 2014 the CC has commenced an investigation into the (...)

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