October 2010

Anticompetitive practices

The Hungarian Competition Authority fines undertakings operating in the milling industry for their participation in national cartel (Mills cartel)
King’s College (London)
The Gazdasági Versenyhivatal (GVH – Hungarian Competition Authority) imposed a fine of HUF 2.3 billion (Approx. EUR 8.4 million) on 16 Hungarian undertakings active in the milling industry due to their participation in a hard-core cartel fixing prices and sharing markets. The undertakings that (...)

The French Court of Appeals holds that the EU principle of intragroup immunity does not apply to coordinated offers made by "seemingly" independent entities (Maquet)
Jones Day (Paris)
Undertakings with a (seemingly) divided self: Beware* It is commonly accepted that, pursuant to the principle of intragroup immunity, Article 101 TFEU cannot catch agreements or concerted practices between entities that belong to the same undertaking. Article 101 TFEU requires coordination (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority fines hard-core milling cartel over €8 million (Cerbona Élelmiszeripari és Kereskedelmi)
Van Bael & Bellis
On 28 October 2010, the Hungarian Competition Authority (“GVH”) issued a decision fining a number of milling companies a total of HUF 2.3 billion (approximately €8.4 M) for their participation in a hard-core cartel. The companies were found to have committed a complex and continuous infringement (...)

The EU General Court rules on liability for Spanish raw tobacco cartel (Alliance One International)
Winston & Strawn (New York)
On October 27, 2010, the General Court rendered a decision in the appeal by Alliance One International (formerly Standard Commercial Corp. (“SCC”)), and its subsidiaries Standard Commercial Tobacco Co., Inc. (“SCTC”) and Trans-Continental Leaf Tobacco Corp. Ltd (“TCLT”) (together, the “Applicant (...)

The Danish Competition Council adopts commitment decision to remove a prohibition against resale of ferry tickets for freight (Scandlines)
European Commission
Denmark: Scandlines - Commitments to remove a Prohibition against Resale of Ferry Tickets for Freight On 27 October 2010, the Competition Council adopted a decision which renders legally binding the commitments offered by Scandlines to remove a prohibition against the resale of ferry tickets (...)

The Belgian Competition Council imposes interim measures on leading diamond company (De Beers, Diamond Trade)
Liège University - IEJE
,
Linklaters (Brussels)
1. The Parties Spira is a ‘sightholder’(a company purchasing rough diamonds). De Beers is the world leading company in the mining and trading of diamond. De Beers UK Limited - formerly The Diamond Trading Company Limited - and Diamdel NV are part of the De Beers Group. Diamond Trading Company (...)

The Hungarian Metropolitan Court of Appeal rules on the validity of the agreements concluded by members of a horizontal cartel with their customers (Fruit contracts)
Oppenheim
,
Oppenheim - Budapest
In a landmark decision published in December 2010, the Court of Appeal of Budapest had the opportunity to rule on the important question of the validity of agreements concluded by members of a horizontal cartel with their customers (so-called “fruit contracts” or “Folgeverträge”) under Hungarian (...)

A Czech Regional Court confirms CZK 53 million fine for the concerted practices of bakeries (Delta Pekárny, Odkolek and Penam)
Kinstellar (Prague)
,
Kinstellar (Prague)
On 21 October 2010, the Regional Court in Brno (the “Court”) confirmed a fine of almost CZK 53 M imposed on three Czech bakeries, DELTA PEKÁRNY, a.s., ODKOLEK, a.s. and PENAM, a.s. (the “Bakeries”). The fine was imposed by the Chairman of the Czech Competition Authority (the “Authority”) by his (...)

The German Federal Court of Justice clarifies the requirements of the reduction of the termination period according to Article 3(5)(b) Reg. 1400/2002 (Renault Nissan Deutschland)
Dentons (Berlin)
The German Federal Court of Justice (“BGH”) clarified in a decision of 20 October 2010 the requirements set by Article 3(5)(b)(ii) Regulation 1400/2002 for the short termination period for authorized distributor agreements on the grounds of the restructuring of distribution network. By this, it (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority launches investigation into possible anticompetitive practices in the manufacture, distribution and marketing of envelopes, filing materials and other paper products sectors
European Commission
Spain: Competition Authority’s Investigation into the Manufacture, Distribution and Marketing of Envelopes, Filing Materials and other Paper Products On 19 October 2010, inspectors from the National Competition Commission (CNC) carried out inspections at the headquarters of the main (...)

The UK OFCOM decides not to launch a full investigation on a venture aimed to design common technical specifications for the provision of web-based content to consumers’ television sets (Project Canvas - YouView)
Central Bank of Ireland
On 19 October 2010, the UK communications regulator, Ofcom, announced that it would not initiate a full investigation under the Competition Act into the Project Canvas/YouView venture. Virgin Media and IPVision had submitted complaints to Ofcom under the Competition Act. Also, Ofcom received (...)

The US DoJ challenges "most favoured nations" clauses in the healthcare sector, analyzing their anticompetitive effects under section 1 of the Sherman Act (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan)
Richard Wolfram, Esq. (New York)
‘Most Favored Nations’ (MFN) Clauses under the Spotlight: U.S. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan — When Might Otherwise Competitively Neutral or Procompetitive MFN Clauses Violate the Antitrust Laws?* On October 18, 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice and the State of Michigan sued Blue (...)

The US DoJ targets so-called “most favored nation” - MFN - agreements in the health care industry (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan - BCBSM)
Gibson Dunn (New York)
U.S. Dep’t of Justice Targets MFN Agreements* The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is seeking to curb the use of so-called “most favored nation” (MFN) agreements — a common business practice that the DOJ believes can sometimes result in anticompetitive effects when entered into by a dominant (...)

The Swiss Competition Commission fines firms dealing with window and window doors a total of 7.6 million CHF for fixing the date and level of price increases (Window mounting cartel)
Agon Partners (Zurich)
,
Swatch
I. Summary The Swiss Competition Commission fines firms dealing with window and window doors a total of 7.6 million CHF for fixing the date and level of price increases. II. Case A. Parties/market structure Leading procuders of mountings for windows and window doors Roto Frank AG, Germany (...)

The US DoJ issues indictments and announces guilty pleas for price-fixing cartel in the thin-film transistor liquid crystal display panels sector (TFT-LCD Investigation)
Skarzynski Black LLC (New York)
On October 14, 2010, the former vice president of sales and marketing for Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp. (“Chi Mei”), Hsin-Tsung Wang, was indicted on price-fixing charges relating to the sale of thin-film transistor liquid crystal display panels (“TFT-LCD”), which are commonly used in televisions, (...)

The Romanian Competition Council holds public procurement as a priority (Report: The challenges of the Single Market and the competition in sensitive sectors)
Musat & Asociatii (Bucharest)
On October 14 2010 the Competition Council issued a Report entitled ‘The Challenges of the Single Market and the Competition in Sensitive Sectors’. Drafted in collaboration with a Romanian Centre for Economic Policies (‘CEROPE’) and the Romanian Academic Society (‘SAR’), the Report focuses on a (...)

The German Competition Authority imposes fine on manufacturers of printing chemicals (DC Druck Chemie Holding, Felix Böttcher, Helmut Siegel)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
According to a press release of 7 October 2010, the German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) has imposed a fine of € 660,000 on two manufacturers of printing chemicals for having concluded anti-competitive agreements. According to the findings of the FCO, over a period of almost 20 years, the (...)

The European Commission readopts decision in pre-stressing steel cartel case after miscalculation of fines (ArcelorMittal, WDI/Pampus)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 6 October 2010, the Commission issued a decision in which it recalculated the fines it imposed earlier this year in the pre-stressing steel cartel case. In its original decision of 30 June 2010, the Commission imposed fines totalling € 518.5 million after having found that that seventeen (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority releases a detailed report on commercial relations between large retailers and suppliers of food products (Food trade report)
Sérvulo & Associados
,
Eduardo Paz Ferreira & Associados
Starting in December 2008, the European Commission published several documents relating to pricing and distribution practices on European food markets, in particular the Communication “A better functioning food supply chain in Europe” (COM(2009)591) and the retail market monitoring report (...)

The US DoJ and seven US States file an antitrust suit against three credit and charge card transaction networks, challenging rules that allegedly restrict price competition at the point of sale (Visa, Mastercard, American Express)
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
Visa, MasterCard Settle U.S./State Antitrust Suit, While American Express Vows to Fight* The Department of Justice and seven states have filed a civil antitrust suit against the three largest credit and charge card transaction networks in the United States, challenging rules that allegedly (...)

The UK Parliament revokes land agreements’ exemption from competition law
Morgan Lewis (London)
,
Squire Patton Boggs (London)
The UK Competition Act prohibits agreements that have the object or effect of restricting competition within the UK. Currently, land agreements - such as freehold, leasehold and rental agreements - are exempt from the prohibition, but that is all about to change. With effect from 6 April 2011, (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Athens Administrative Court of Appeal annuls the decision of the Hellenic Competition Commission on a refusal to supply in the film distribution sector (Technopolis Cine)
Bank of Greece
Introduction On 29 October 2010, the Athens Administrative Court of Appeal (Dioikitiko Efeteio Athinon, hereafter: the Court) delivered Decision No 2498/2010 annulling Decision No 429/V/2009 of the Hellenic Competition Commission (Elliniki Epitropi Antagonismou, hereafter: HCC) which rejected (...)

The French Competition Authority accepts the commitments undertaken by a search engine company as regards possible exclusionary conduct on the market for online advertising (AdWords)
Ashurst (Milan)
French Competition Authority makes Google’s commitments in Navx case binding* On 28 October 2010, the French Autorité de la Concurrence (“FAC”) formally accepted and thereby made binding on Google a set of improved commitments (available only in French) which the FAC considered to properly address (...)

The French Competition Authority accepts commitments relating to online advertising service (Google AdWords)
Hewlett Packard (Boulogne-Billancourt)
In its decision n° 10-D-30 dated 28 October 2010, relating to practices implemented in the online advertising sector (relative à des pratiques dans le secteur de la publicité en ligne), the French Competition Authority (the «Competition Authority«) accepted the commitments offered by Google to solve (...)

The Slovakian Supreme Court rules that holding a successor liable under the economic continuity test does not constitute circumstances which warrant a reduction of the fine imposed (ZS Cargo)
BPV Braun Partners
On 26 October 2010, the Slovak Supreme Court as the final instance rejected the appeal made by the Slovak state-owned rail cargo incumbent, Zeleznicna spolocnost Cargo Slovakia, a.s.(“ZS Cargo”), against the first and second instance decision of the Slovak Competition Authority which imposed on (...)

The Slovakian Supreme Court upholds the Competition Authority’s decision fining an undertaking’s successor for abuse of its dominant position (ZS Cargo)
European Commission
Slovakia: Supreme Court upholds Competition Authority’s Decision in Cargo Railway Case At an oral hearing held on 26 October 2010, the Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic upheld the decision of the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic (“AMO”) of 22 December 2006 in the matter Zeleznicna (...)

The Maltese Commission for Fair Trading rejects a freight forwarder’s claim of abuse of dominance against a carrier’s agent (Central Marine Limited / Focal Maritime Service Company Limited)
In terms of Article 13A of Maltese Competition Act (Chapter 379 of Laws of Malta, hereinafter referred to as ‘MCA’), the Director of the Office for Fair Trading (hereinafter referred to as ‘Director’) requested the Commission for Fair Trading (hereinafter referred to as ‘Commission’) to review its (...)

The UK OFT reaches early resolution agreement in abuse of dominance investigation in the pharmaceutical sector (Reckitt Benckiser, Gaviscon)
UK Competition Appeal Tribunal (London)
On 15 October 2010, the UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) announced that it had reached an early resolution agreement with Reckitt Benckiser whereby the OFT agreed to reduce the fine it would impose on Reckitt Benckiser in return for the company’s admission of infringement of the Chapter II (...)

The UK OFT agrees to reduce the fine imposed against a pharmaceutical firm for abuse of its dominant position (Reckitt Benckiser)
European Commission
United Kingdom: Early Resolution Agreement in Reckitt Benckiser Abuse Case On 15 October 2010, the OFT announced that it had agreed to reduce the proposed fine by £ 1,800,000 (about € 1,162,040) to £ 10,200,000 (about € 6,584,893), following Reckitt Benckiser’s admission and decision to co-operate (...)

The EU Court of Justice upholds the €12.6 million fine imposed by the EU Commission for abuse of dominant position in the German telephony fixed market (Deutsche Telekom)
Dentons (Brussels)
,
BDO Legal Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH
On October 14, the Court of Justice of the European Union (the Court) issued its judgment in Deutsche Telekom AG vs. Commission (Case C-280/08 P, hereinafter the “Judgment”) dismissing an appeal brought by Deutsche Telekom AG (Telekom) against a judgment of the Court of First Instance (now the (...)

The EU Court of justice rules on predatory pricing in the form of price squeeze (Deutsche Telekom)
General Court of the European Union (Luxembourg)
The case discussed in this brief has lasted several years as it gave rise to a decision adopted by the European Commission and a judgment issued by the general Court before ending up, on appeal, before the European Court of justice. As other judgments, this ruling raises the question to what (...)

The EU Court of Justice upholds EU Commission’s fine against telecommunications operator in margin squeeze case (Deutsche Telekom)
Jones Day (Brussels)
,
Jones Day (Brussels)
This article is the winner for the business category, unilateral conducts section of the 2012 Antitrust Writing Awards. Click here to learn more about the Antitrust Writing Awards. On 14 October 2010, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) upheld the European Commission’s € 12.6 million fine on (...)

The Italian Competition Authority investigates the allegations of foreclosure of market access for a new generic drug for treating visual glaucoma (Pfizer)
Ashurst (Milan)
Italian Competition Authority investigates Pfizer’s effort to obstruct market access for a new generic drug for treating visual glaucoma* On 13 October 2010, the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”) opened an investigation to ascertain whether Pfizer’s attempt to prolong the patent protection for (...)

The Federal Court of Justice holds that prices of a dominant company charged in a new market may be lower than the prices in the dominated market for a limited market entry period (Entega II)
Gleiss Lutz (Frankfurt)
On 7 December 2010, the Federal Court of Justice (FCJ) overruled partially a judgement of the Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt of 26 January 2010 and partially upheld the decision. The question at stake was whether a regional gas supplier with a market dominant position is allowed to charge (...)

The Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal annuls decision of Competition Authority on abuse of dominance regarding rebates (CRV Holding)
De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB)
,
Smeets Van Empel advocaten (Amsterdam)
I. Facts and procedure Reversing the judgment of the District Court Rotterdam (“District Court”), the Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal (“Tribunal”) has annulled the fine imposed by the Dutch Competition Authority (“NMa”) on CRV Holding B.V. (“CRV”) for abuse of a dominant position. By (...)

The Icelandic Competition Authority begins an investigation into the development and formation of prices in food retail sector (Inquiry into food retail sector )
European Commission
Iceland: Competition Authority is investigating Food and Retail Sector* In the fall of 2010, the Competition Authority (the Authority) began an investigation into the development and formation of prices in the food and retail sector due to the fact that prices had significantly risen since the (...)

Mergers

The Spanish Competition Authority clears the acquisition of sole control of a rival TV channel subject to remedies (TV Channel Cuatro/Telecinco)
Hogan Lovells (Madrid)
,
Linklaters (Madrid)
On 28 October 2010, after a long and complex process, the Council of the National Competition Commission ("the NCC") authorised the acquisition by the TV operator Gestevisión Telecinco, S.A. ("Telecinco") of sole control of rival TV channel Cuatro in a decision that has had an important impact (...)

A US Court of Appeals denies divestiture as equitable relief for Missouri consumers seeking to enjoin the transaction between the two largest brewers under the Clayton Act (Ginsburg / InBev)
Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
I. Introduction Section 7 of the Clayton Act outlaws acquisitions, directly or indirectly, the whole or any part of the stock or other share capital, the effect of such acquisition, may be substantially to lessen competition, or tend to create a monopoly. In this cause, to establish liability (...)

The Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service clears a € 1.5 bln merger between two major dairy companies in Russia subject to behavioural remedies (Danone and Unimilk)
RBB Economics (Brussels)
,
RBB Economics (Brussels)
Introduction In June 2010 the French dairy producer Danone announced plans to purchase a stake of 58% in the Russian dairy company Unimilk. The proposed € 1.5 bln merger would make Danone-Unimilk the leader for dairy products in the CIS area, with a 21% share of the Russian dairy market. In (...)

The European Commission approves the merger between two British consumer goods companies subject to divestments commitments (Reckitt Benckiser/SSL International)
Main developments between 1 September and 31 December 2010* On 25 October 2010 the European Commission approved the proposed acquisition of SSL International by Reckitt Benckiser, both of which are British pharmaceutical companies. The decision is conditional upon Reckitt Benckiser’s (...)

The China’s State Council approves the merger between the largest pharmaceutical and healthcare group under the State-Assets Supervision and Administration Commission and a centrally-administered state-owned enterprise (CNSC / Sinopharm)
University of Melbourne
,
China Competition Bulletin (Beijing)
,
Institute of American Studies
The China National Service Corporation for Chinese Personnel Working Abroad (CNSC, 中 国出国人员服务总公司), a centrally-administered state-owned enterprise, has merged with the China National Pharmaceutical Group Corporation (Sinopharm, 国药集团). The State Council approved the merger. Sinopharm is the largest (...)

The German Competition Authority acknowledges withdrawal of merger between two companies active in the iron ore sector (BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 18 October 2010, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto announced that they have abandoned plans to enter into a proposed $120 billion joint venture combining their Western Australian iron ore production activities in light of strong resistance from regulators, including the Commission and the German (...)

The Polish Competition Authority conditionally clears a vertical merger between a company operating in the sale and extraction of coal and a producer of mining accessories (Kompania Węglowa / Huta Łabędy)
Orange (Warsaw)
The Polish Competition Authority (the OCCP President) gave consent for Kompania Węglowa to take over Huta Łabędy. It was however a conditional consent. The Authority very rarely issues any conditions in relation to the merger decisions, only around 2% of decisions issued by the OCCP President are (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority amends merger notification requirements (Regulations on the notification of concentrations)
White & Case (Stockholm)
,
White & Case
According to Swedish national merger control law, a concentration shall be notified to the Swedish Competition Authority (“SCA”) (Sw. Konkurrensverket) if the combined turnover of the parties in Sweden exceeds SEK 1 billion (approximately € 94.167 M) and each of at least two parties has turnover (...)

The Bosnian & Herzegovinan Competition Authority clarifies the application of the mandatory thresholds for notification of concentrations under the new merger regulation
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 10 October 2010 the Competition Authority of Bosnia & Herzegovina (KV) issued an opinion concerning application of the thresholds for mandatory notification of concentrations under the new Merger Regulation. Pursuant to Article 14(1) of the B&H competition law, a concentration (...)

The Brazilian CADE vetoes transaction in the industry of concrete services based on a conservative presumption of economic group by summing minority equity interest in companies with small cross-sharing (Tupi/Polimix)
Tauil & Chequer (in cooperation with Mayer Brown)
The author thanks Natali de Vicente Santos for researching and debating this case law with him, which contributed for this article. I. Summary of the case In this case, the discussion at CADE focused on the corporate relationship between rivals being able to raise anticompetitive effects even (...)

The German Federal Court of Justice limits judicial review of merger clearances subject to commitments (EDEKA / Plus)
Heinz & Zagrosek (Köln)
Federal Court of Justice limits judicial review of merger clearances subject to commitments in Germany (EDEKA/Plus)* On October 5, 2010, the Federal Court of Justice upheld the Düsseldorf Court of Appeals’ rejection of an appeal against the conditions of a merger clearance decision brought by (...)

The Austrian Higher Cartel Court rules on the interpretation of “undertaking” and the distinction of the scope of merger control and abuse of dominance
Saxinger Chalupsky & Partners (Brussels)
I. Introduction The decision at hand, OGH as KOG Rs 16 Ok 6/10 dated October 4, 2010, deals with two general concepts in the context of the acquisition of the stock of merchandise of a bankruptcy’s estate: (i) the interpretation of “undertaking” and (ii) the distinction of the scope of merger (...)

State Aid

The European Commission refers Italy to the EU Court of Justice for failure to implement a previous Court’s decision ordering the recovery of illegal and incompatible state aid from utilities with a majority public capital holding
European Commission - DG COMP
,
Hogan Lovells (Madrid)
State Aid: Main developments between 1 September and 31 December 2010* On 28 October 2010 the Commission decided to refer Italy to the Court of Justice for failing to implement a previous Court ruling decision ordering the recovery of illegal and incompatible State aid from utilities with a (...)

The EU Commission finds that the Italian authorities failed to prove the exceptional nature of the delayed provision of aid for shipbuilding and declares the aid to be incompatible with the internal market (Cantiere Navale De Poli)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on Lexxion State Aid Blog Exceptional Circumstances, Natural Disasters, Commercial Risk and Rights of Complainants* Exceptional circumstances: Commission Decision 2013/197 on aid to Cantiere Navale De Poli (IT) The measure in question concerned State aid that Italy intended (...)

The European Commission concludes that part of the State support granted to Hungarian fertiliser producer infringed EU State aid rules (Péti Nitrogenmuvek)
European Commission - DG COMP
,
Hogan Lovells (Madrid)
State Aid: Main developments between 1 September and 31 December 2010* On 27 October the Commission concluded that part of the State support granted in 2009 to fertiliser producer Péti Nitrogenmuvek infringed EU State aid rules. In January 2009 Hungary issued guarantees in favour of (...)

The European Commission authorises the Netherlands to provide a € 150 M grant for a CO2 capture and storage (CCS) demonstration project to a joint venture between two energy companies (E.ON and GDF Suez)
European Commission - DG COMP
,
Hogan Lovells (Madrid)
State Aid: Main developments between 1 September and 31 December 2010* By its decision of 27 October 2010 the Commission authorised The Netherlands to provide a € 150 million grant for a CO2 capture and storage (CCS) demonstration project to a joint venture between E.ON and GDF Suez. The joint (...)

The European Commission approves the Danish Government’s measures for the liquidation of a regional bank (Fionia Bank)
European Commission - DG COMP
,
Hogan Lovells (Madrid)
State Aid: Main developments between 1 September and 31 December 2010* On 25 October 2010 the Commission approved the Danish Government’s measures for the liquidation of Fionia Bank. Fionia Bank was a regional, full service bank based on the island of Funen and neighbouring islands in central (...)

The European Court of Justice upholds General Court’s judgment and dismisses action for damages regarding State aid scheme for investment in the less-favoured regions of Italy (Nuova Agricast, Cofra)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 14 October 2010, the Court of Justice sided with the General Court and dismissed an action for damages brought by two Italian companies, Nuova Agricast and Cofra (the “Appellants”), against the Commission. In 1998, following an invitation published by the Italian authorities, the Appellants (...)

The European Commission approves a French State aid scheme that subsidises legal downloads of music by French residents aged from 12 to 25 years
European Commission - DG COMP
,
Hogan Lovells (Madrid)
State Aid: Main developments between 1 September and 31 December 2010* On 12 October 2010 the Commission approved a French scheme that subsidises legal downloads of music by French residents aged from 12 to 25 years. France proposed the creation of a Carte musique for young Internet users to (...)

The EU General Court upholds Commission’s decision ordering recovery of state aid granted through warranties relating to the operation of a leading express transportation’s hub (DHL)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 7 October 2010, the General Court rejected DHL’s application for partial annulment of a decision adopted by the Commission on 23 July 2008 with regard to an agreement concluded between DHL and FLH, the company operating Leipzig-Halle Airport. Under the terms of that agreement, FLH was to (...)

The European Commission intends to prolong temporary framework for state aid measures to support access to finance in the current financial and economic crisis
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In a Communication published on 6 October, the Commission suggests to prolong by one year the so-called Temporary Community framework for State aid measures to support access to finance in the current financial and economic crisis (the “Temporary Framework”), which was adopted on 19 January 2009 (...)

Procedures

The European Commission revives discussions on collective redress mechanisms
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
After the failure of the initiative launched by former Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes at the end of her tenure, the Commission has revealed plans to revive discussions on the introduction of coherent collective redress mechanisms at the EU-level. This is an initiative taken by the three (...)

A US District Court applies broad standard to enforce FTC subpoena (Church & Dwight)
Jones Day (Washington)
,
Jones Day
In a rare court decision on the enforceability of agency subpoenas, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has ruled that the Federal Trade Commission (« FTC ») is entitled to receive documents from the Canadian subsidiary of Church & Dwight Co. (« C&D ») relating to the sale (...)

The European Commission publishes its work programme for 2011
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 27 October 2010, the Commission published its work programme for 2011. This sets out the strategic new initiatives that the Commission promises to deliver in 2011, as well as a number of other possible initiatives which are due to be completed under the current Commission’s mandate and a list (...)

A US Court grants the Federal trade Commission an order of enforcement, precising standards of its investigative tools on extraterritorial bases (FTC / Church & Dwight)
Tauil & Chequer (in cooperation with Mayer Brown)
Summary of the case In connection with a non-public investigation into a possible monopoly in the distribution or sale of condoms, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) petitioned for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (“Court”) for an order enforcing a subpoena duces tecum and (...)

The European Court of Justice holds that in-house lawyers are not protected by legal professional privilege in antitrust investigations (Akzo)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
,
Dentons (Brussels)
On September 14, 2010, the Court of Justice (the Court) issued its judgment in Akzo v. Commission (Case C-550/07 P, hereinafter the Judgment) dismissing an appeal brought by Akzo Nobel Chemicals Ltd. (Akzo) against a judgment of the Court of First instance (now the General Court) of September (...)

The Luxembourg Government proposes the merger of the competition authorities which raises questions on compliance with Art. 6 ECHR
NautaDutilh (Luxembourg)
In 2007 the Minister of Economy filed on behalf of the Luxemburg government a law proposal to the Luxembourg Parliament (Chambre des députés) to amend the 2004 Competition Act (Loi du 17 mai 2004 relative à la concurrence). The proposal in essence aims to integrate the Competition (...)

The UK Court of Appeal’s rejects claims of apparent bias in the supply of airport services market investigation (BAA, Ryanair)
Linklaters (Hong Kong)
The UK Court of Appeal recently rejected claims made by BAA that the Competition Commission’s Report into the common ownership of the UK’s main airports was tainted by apparent bias. One member of the Competition Commission’s inquiry group had indirect links to a potential bidder for one of the (...)

The Polish Competition Authority fines a mobile telephone operator € 30 M for obstruction of an inspection (Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa)
Greenberg Traurig Grzesiak (Warsaw)
,
Hogan Lovells (Warsaw)
Background An unannounced inspection combined with a search was carried out at the business premises of Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa (hereinafter, Era or the Company) by the President of the Office for Competition and Consumer Protection (hereinafter, the OCCP) in the course of proceedings (...)

The Italian Competition Authority launches a general sector inquiry into the food retail sector (Inquiry into food retail sector)
European Commission
Italy: Inquiry into Food Retail Sector currently ongoing in Italy: Preliminary Results show significant Increase in Degree of Concentration and Italian Competition Authority (ICA) further investigates upfront Payments* The ICA is carrying out a general sector inquiry into the food retail (...)

Regulatory

A UK independent Committee issues a report that highlights competition in the higher education sector
Morgan Lewis (London)
,
Jones Day (London)
Today an independent committee, chaired by Lord Browne of Madingley, reported its recommendations for university funding and student finance in England. Lord Browne’s report, which could significantly affect future competition in higher education, includes the following recommendations: (...)

The Nordic Competition authorities issue a joint report on the relationships between environmental and competition policies
European Commission
Nordic Countries: Joint Report on Competition Policy and Green Growth In October 2010, the Nordic countries - Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden - published a joint report on the relationship between environmental and competition policy. The report contains (...)

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