April 2016

Anticompetitive practices

The EU Commission invites interested third parties to comment the commitments proposed in the ongoing pay-TV investigation (Paramount Pictures)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission seeks feedback on commitments offered by Paramount Pictures in pay-TV investigation* The European Commission is inviting comments from interested parties on commitments offered by Paramount Pictures to address competition concerns relating to contractual clauses (...)

The Polish Supreme Court rules that moving a file to the “trash” folder during a control violates the obligation to cooperate (Inco-Veritas)
Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (Poland)
In its decision of 28 November 2011, the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (hereinafter the “Polish Competition Authority”) imposed a fine on Inco-Veritas S.A. in the amount of PLN 2,047,475.10 (equivalent of EUR 517,000) for the lack of cooperation during a control (...)

ECJ Advocate General Nils Wahl suggests that the EU Court of Justice prevent retailers from selling tobacco products below the prices indicated on the tax stamps (Colruyt)
Tsvetkova Bebov Komarevski (Sofia)
Does the restriction upon the retail sale of tobacco products below the minimum prices set by manufacturers or importers on the tax stamp breach competition law?* On 21 April 2016, the Advocate General Nils Wahl issued his Opinion in Case C-221/15 – a proceeding initiated by a request for (...)

The German Competition Authority opens an administrative proceeding to examine dairies’ conditions of supply
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt examines dairies’ conditions of supply* The Bundeskartellamt has initiated an administrative proceeding to examine the conditions which the dairies have set farmers for the supply of raw milk. In a test case it will examine first of all the conditions of supply set by the large (...)

The Turkish Competition Board takes legal action against an undertaking for abuse of dominance and restrictive agreements (Soda Sanayii)
ELIG, Attorneys-at-Law
Introduction On April 20 2016 the Turkish Competition Board published reasoned Decision 16-14/205-89, following its preliminary investigation into allegations that Soda Sanayii AŞ had violated: Article 6 of Law 4054 on the Protection of Competition by abusing its dominant position in the (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines undertakings for an anticompetitive agreement concerning the assignment of broadcasting rights to Italian football league matches (Vendita diritti televisivi Serie A 2015-2018)
Bonelli Erede Pappalardo (Rome)
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Bonelli Erede Pappalardo (Rome)
In its decision of 19 April 2016, the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”) imposed fines totalling EUR 66 million on Sky and Mediaset, the main television operators in the pay-tv market, and on the Italian Football League (“Lega Calcio”) and its advisor Infront, for breach of Article 101 of the (...)

The Frankfurt Court of Appeals submits preliminary reference on how to treat bans on sales via third-party internet platforms in selective distribution systems (Coty)
Heinz & Zagrosek (Köln)
Ban on sales via third-party internet platforms in Germany and Pierre Fabre – recent referral to the Court of Justice* The question of how to treat bans on sales via third-party internet platforms in selective distribution systems and the impact of the Court of Justice’s Pierre Fabre ruling (see (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority fines manufacturers of prefabricated concrete garages for cartel (Rekers)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
ACM fines cartel of manufacturers of concrete garages* The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has imposed a fine on a cartel of manufacturers of prefabricated concrete garages. The two largest manufacturers of such garages, Rekers Betonwerk and Juwel Betonbauteile, had (...)

The Hellenic Competition Authority accepts remedies proposed by steel producers regarding exchange of information in the context of their trade association (Sidenor)
Hellenic Competition Authority (Athens)
The HCC accepts commitments by steel producers regarding the exchange of information in the context of their trade association, while further rejecting complaints about other alleged infringements in the markets for the production, distribution and accreditation of steel products* The HCC (...)

The Paris Court of Appeal reduces the fines of three wallpaper manufacturers for their involvement in a price-fixing cartel (Graham)
Van Bael & Bellis
On 14 April 2016, the French Court of Appeal reduced the fines imposed on three wallpaper manufacturers for their involvement in a price-fixing cartel in the wallpaper sector between May 2006 and September 2010. In a decision of December 2014, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) found that (...)

The Beijing High People’s Court releases guidelines on the trial of Internet-related intellectual property right cases
China Competition Bulletin (Beijing)
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China Competition Bulletin (Beijing)
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Hogan Lovells (Beijing)
On 13 April 2016, the Beijing High People’s Court released the Guideline on the Trial of Internet-Related Intellectual Property Right Cases. The guideline contains 42 provisions, covering copyright, trademark, and unfair competition issues. Specifically, there are two competition-related (...)

The Shaanxi Price Bureau fines a motor vehicle inspection industry association for price fixing (Xi’an / Shangluo / Yangling)
China Competition Bulletin (Beijing)
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China Competition Bulletin (Beijing)
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Hogan Lovells (Beijing)
The Shaanxi Price Bureau fined the Shaanxi Motor Vehicle Inspection Industry Association and 31 motor vehicle inspection businesses in Xi’an, Shangluo, and Yangling for price fixing. Motor vehicle inspection fees were originally government guided in Shaanxi, and they became liberalised on 15 (...)

The Shanghai Price Bureau fines a tire manufacturer for resale price maintenance (Hanook Tire)
China Competition Bulletin (Beijing)
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China Competition Bulletin (Beijing)
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Hogan Lovells (Beijing)
On 13 April 2016, the NDRC reported that the Shanghai Price Bureau recently fined Hanook Tire for engaging in RPM. From 2012 to 2013, Hanook signed agreements with its distributors in Shanghai relating to the sale of truck and bus tires and passenger car tires. Those agreements contained (...)

The Danish Competition Appeals Tribunal confirms a cartel decision concerning a consortia agreement between two road-contractors (LKF / Eurostar)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
The Danish Competition Appeals Tribunal confirms that consortia agreement between two road-contractors was illegal* On 11 April 2016, the Danish Competition Appeals Tribunal upheld a decision by the Danish Competition Council (DCC) of 24 June 2015. The DCC had found that LKF Vejmarkering A/S (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority initiates proceedings for a suspected cartel during a procurement of health equipment aimed at saving energy (Siemens Healthcare)
Hungarian Competition Authority (Budapest)
The GVH has initiated a proceeding for a suspected cartel* On 11 April 2016 the Hungarian Competition Authority (Gazdasági Versenyhivatal – GVH) initiated a competition supervision proceeding against several undertakings (Siemens Healthcare Kft., GE Hungary Ipari és Kereskedelmi Kft., PHILIPS (...)

The German Higher Regional Court of Celle finds that limited resale price maintenance does not amount to an appreciable restriction of competition (A-Vitalkost)
Van Bael & Bellis
On 7 April 2016, the Higher Regional Court of Celle held that resale price maintenance in the framework of a promotion offered to pharmacies for the sale of a dietary product did not constitute an appreciable restriction of competition and therefore did not infringe competition law. In 2014, (...)

The German Higher Regional Court of Celle court finds that a minimum resale price campaign does not result in an appreciable restriction of competition given the campaign’s limited timeframe and scope (Almased Wellness)
Commeo
In its judgement of 7 April 2016, the Celle Higher Regional Court (“the Court”) found that resale price maintenance (“RPM”) does not per se result in an appreciable restriction of competition. The Court held that the setting of a minimum resale price in the framework of a promotion offered to (...)

The EU Commission fines an undertaking in the market of canned mushrooms for its participation to a cartel (Riberebro)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission fines Riberebro €5.2 million for participation in canned mushrooms cartel* The European Commission has found that Spanish canned and fresh vegetable company Riberebro participated in a cartel to coordinate prices and allocate customers of canned mushrooms in Europe for (...)

Unilateral Practices

The EU Commission invites interested third parties to comment the commitments proposed in the credit default swaps case (ISDA / Markit)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission seeks feedback on commitments by ISDA and Markit on credit default swaps* The European Commission is inviting comments from interested parties on commitments offered separately by ISDA and by Markit to address competition concerns relating to the licensing of data and (...)

The Moldovan Competition Authority prosecutes suppliers of pharmaceutical products for the failure to supply to the public health care institutions (Esculap)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 21 April 2016 the Moldovan Competition Authority (CC) has issued an infringement decisions against six suppliers of various pharmaceutical products for their failure to deliver the agreed quantities of medicines to the public health care institutions. The fines imposed on the undertakings (...)

The Chinese Sandong and Ningxia Administrations for Industry and Commerce fine a public undertaking for forcing several companies to purchase goods (Jinan Public Transportation / Yinchuan Public Transportation)
China Competition Bulletin (Beijing)
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China Competition Bulletin (Beijing)
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Hogan Lovells (Beijing)
On 21 April 2016, the SAIC reported a case where the Shandong AIC and the Ningxia AIC fined local bus companies for breaching Article 6 of the AUCL, which provides that public enterprises and other state- sanctioned monopolies must not force others to purchase goods from designated parties and (...)

The EU Commission sends a statement of objections to a technology company suspected of imposing restrictions on device manufacturers and mobile network operators (Google Android)
Constantine Cannon (London)
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Constantine Cannon (London)
EU Commission Hits Google With Abuse Of Dominance Charges Over Android*Just as expected, following a one-year investigation and a number of information requests, the European Commission formally announced today that it is accusing Google’s parent company, Alphabet, of abusing its dominant (...)

The EU Commission sends a statement of objections to a technology company suspected of imposing restrictions on device manufacturers and mobile network operators (Google Android)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission sends Statement of Objections to Google on Android operating system and applications* The European Commission has informed Google of its preliminary view that the company has, in breach of EU antitrust rules, abused its dominant position by imposing restrictions on (...)

The EU Commission sends a statement of objections concerning the imposition of restrictions on smartphone manufacturers and mobile network operators (Google)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 20 April 2016, the European Commission confirmed it issued a Statement of Objections (“SO”) to Google concerning the imposition of restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators. The investigation was formally opened in April 2015. Google now has until July 2016 to (...)

The Lithuanian Competition Council terminates the investigation of an alleged abuse of a dominance in the maritime industry (Vakarų Laivų Gamykla)
Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition (Munchen)
On 19 April 2016 the Competition Council terminated the investigation against AB “Vakarų Laivų Gamykla“ (AB VLG) with regard to an alleged infringement of Article 102 TFEU and Article 7 of the Law on Competition of the Republic of Lithuania. During the investigation, which the Competition Council (...)

The Croatian Competition Agency adopts interim measures aiming at ending abusive behaviour implemented by an undertaking in the burial service market (Flora VTC)
Croatian Competition Agency
Proceeding and interim measure for undertaker Flora VTC* Within the proceeding against the undertaker Flora VTC from Virovitica the CCA will establish whether the undertaking in question has been engaged in abusive behaviour on the basis of the applicable Prices for Funeral Services in the (...)

The EU Commission allows early termination of commitments made by a railway power supplier (DB Energie)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: successful market opening allows early termination of commitments in Deutsche Bahn case* The European Commission has relieved Deutsche Bahn ahead of schedule from commitments made binding in December 2013, as several competitors have now entered the German railway traction current (...)

The EU Commission relieves an undertaking of its obligation to meet commitments decision following market developments (Deutsche Bahn)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 8 April 2016, the Commission announced that it had adopted a decision to relieve Deutsche Bahn of its obligation to comply with a commitments decision made binding on the company in December 2013. According to the Commission, the commitments decision had achieved its “main purpose”, which it (...)

The Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf rejects an appeal lodged by the German incumbent postal services operator, against a decision of the Federal Cartel Office in an abuse of dominance case (Deutsche Post)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In a recently published decision of 6 April 2016, the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf (“Court”) rejected an appeal lodged by Deutsche Post AG (“DPAG”), Germany’s incumbent postal services operator, against a decision of the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”). By decision of 2 July 2015, the FCO (...)

Mergers

The EU Commission clears, subject to remedies, a merger between two container liner shippers (CMA CGM / NOL)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves container liner shipping merger between CMA CGM and NOL, subject to conditions* The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Neptune Oriental Lines ("NOL") of Singapore by rival CMA CGM, a French shipping company (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a merger, subject to remedies, on the smoked trout market (Aqualande Group / Labeyrie)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence clears the acquisition of joint control of the Aqualande Group by Labeyrie together with the agricultural cooperative Les Aquaculteurs Landais, subject to commitments* On 21 January 2016, Labeyrie and Les Aquaculteurs Landais notified the Autorité de la concurrence (...)

The EU Commission conditionally approves a merger subject to divestment commitments and behavioural conditions in the payment services and terminals sector (Equens / Worldline)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 20 April 2016, the European Commission (“Commission”) approved the acquisition by Worldline of Equens (and its subsidiary PaySquare) under the EU Merger Regulation, subject to divestment commitments and behavioural conditions. Worldline is the incumbent operator of payment services and (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a mobile phone company for non-compliance with some of its merger remedies (SFR / Numéricable)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Overseas Mobile Telephony* The Autorité de la concurrence fines Altice/Numericable group for non-compliance with some of the commitments linked to the divestiture of Outremer Telecom’s mobile telephony business made at the time of its acquisition of SFR. Having observed the non-compliance by (...)

The Finnish Competition Authority clears a merger subject to remedies on the food retail market (Kesko Food / Suomen Lähikauppa)
Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA)
FCCA to approve a merger between Kesko Food and Suomen Lähikauppa, subject to conditions* The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) has approved Kesko Food Ltd’s acquisition of Suomen Lähikauppa Oy, subject to certain conditions. The conditions imposed by the FCCA are an obligation to (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority releases sectoral report on cinema services
Turkish Competition Authority
Background In 2011, Turkish Competition Authority cleared the merger of two cinema undertakings, namely AFM and Mars, upon the condition of divestiture of 12 cinema venues . The clearance decision of the Board was annulled by the 13rd Chamber of the State Council in 2014 . Although annulment (...)

The US Department of Justice files a complaint against an activist investor before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California for violations of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act’s (ValueAct)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
On April 4, 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division (DOJ) led
 a complaint against activist investor ValueAct Capital in California federal court, requesting a $19 million fine for violations of the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Act’s notifcation provisions . The DOJ’s complaint alleged (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority clears a merger between two rivals in the pharmaceutical sector (DA group / Holland Pharma)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
ACM clears acquisition of DA group by rival Holland Pharma* The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has cleared the acquisition of the DA group by Holland Pharma Exploitatie B.V. Both Holland Pharma and DA are wholesale companies that trade in drugstore items. In addition, DA (...)

Procedures

The UK Patents Court declines application to transfer dispute on FRAND to UK Competition Appeals Tribunal (Unwired Planet / Huawei / Samsung)
Stephenson Harwood
UK Patents Court refuses to transfer Unwired Planet competition claims to CAT*Background and status of proceedingsIn summary, Unwired Planet is asserting a number of patents against Huawei and Samsung, both of whom sell mobile devices and infrastructure equipment. The litigation has been (...)

The South African Minister of Economic announces the entry into force of new amendments to the Competition Act introducing criminal liability for cartel conduct on 1 May 2016
Norton Rose Fulbright (Johannesburg)
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Norton Rose Fulbright (Johannesburg)
For the first time in South Africa, directors and managers will face jail time for participation in a cartel. Minister Patel announced yesterday that the amendments to the Competition Act which introduce criminal liability for cartel conduct will come into effect from 1 May 2016. The amendment (...)

The Regional Court of Potsdam rules on validity of standard term stipulating fix percentage of cartel damages (Public local transport)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In a judgment of 14 April 2016, the Regional Court Potsdam (the “Court”) ruled on the validity of a standard term in a procurement contract stipulating a fix percentage (15%) of damages in case of future follow-on action in relation to a competition law infringement. The claimant, a public local (...)

The Chinese NDRC releases the anti-monopoly guideline for the automotive industry for public consultation
China Competition Bulletin (Beijing)
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China Competition Bulletin (Beijing)
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Hogan Lovells (Beijing)
The NDRC released the Anti-Monopoly Guideline for the Automotive Industry (Consultation Draft) for public consultation on 23 March 2016. The consultation period ran from 23 March to 12 April 2016. The draft guideline covers market definition, monopoly agreements, abuse of dominance, and abuse (...)

Regulatory

The French Competition Authority issues an unfavourable opinion concerning draft orders on online sales of medicinal products
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence issues an unfavourable opinion to the government.* The envisaged "good practice" create a discriminatory system in comparison with the conditions required for over-the-counter sales, removing all interest in the sale medicinal products on the Internet, both for (...)

The Latvian Competition Authority identifies, in the context of a sector inquiry, gaps of regulation and governance that distort competition into the market of medical services
Competition Council of Latvia
The CC spots Unseized Opportunities to Reduce Prices of Medical Services* In the context of a sector inquiry into the market of medical services, the Competition Council (CC) of Latvia identified gaps of sector regulation and governance that distort competition and hinder price reduction and (...)

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