August 2009

Anticompetitive practices

The Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic fines a leading producer of electronic cash registers for resale price maintenance (Elcom)
BPV Braun Partners
The article presents the decision of the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic (“Office”) n° 2009/KV/1/1/038 of 21 August 2009 (“Decision”). The subject-matter of the Decision does not go beyond the well-known resale price maintenance doctrine. However, the procedure applied by the Office and (...)

The UK’s Office of Fair Trading proposes an in-depth Competition Commission market investigation into the market for local bus services
RBB Economics (London)
On 20 August 2009 the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) proposed to refer the market for local bus services to the Competition Commission (CC) after a five month investigation and invited submissions on its proposal. The market excludes London and Northern Ireland, which were found to have (...)

The Irish Competition Authority publishes information for consumers and businesses on the provision of pay-TV to apartment developments
Irish Competition Authority
Competition Authority Publishes Guidance on Pay-TV in Apartments* The Competition Authority has today published information for consumers and businesses on the provision of pay-TV to apartment developments. In recent years, the Authority has received a large number of complaints from (...)

The US Department of Justice publishes the indictment filed by a grand jury in the New Jersey District Court against a former Scandinavian Airlines sales director (Jan Lillieborg)
Simmons & Simmons (London)
On 08 August 2009, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) published the indictment filed by a grand jury in the New Jersey District Court against a former Scandinavian Airlines sales director. Jan Lillieborg faces three counts - of conspiracy to restrain trade, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and (...)

The UK Competition Commission concludes that a new Grocery Supply Code of Practice is needed to apply to more retailers, with a proper enforcement mechanism and oversight by an Ombudsman (GSCOP)
UK Competition Appeal Tribunal (London)
Introduction This paper deals with one aspect of competition in the supply of grocery products, namely the relationship between grocery retailers and their suppliers, and focuses in particular on the new UK Grocery Supply Code of Practice, known as the “GSCOP”. Background One of the central (...)

The Polish Competition Authority sanctions a resale price maintenance agreement on hearing aids market (WIDEX Polska)
French National Research Agency (ANR)
By the preset decision n° RWR 18/2009, issued on the 3rd of August 2009, the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (hereafter: OCCP President) had to deal once more with distribution contracts containing resale price maintenance clauses. Therefore, the outcome of the (...)

The Italian Competition Authority inflicts fines in excess of € 13 million to several firms operating in lead recycling, and their consortium, for fixing market shares and foreclosing the creation of alternative consortia (COBAT)
Luigi Prosperetti & Partners
COBAT was formed to in 1998 as the Consortium for the gathering and processing of used lead-based batteries. Up to 2006, COBAT enjoyed a legal monopoly, and any company engaged in any activity concerned with the recycling of lead-based batteries (i.e.: smelters, producers or importers of (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Italian Competition Authority investigates alleged abuse of dominance in the market for online advertising (FIEG / Google)
Ashurst (Milan)
Italian Competition Authority investigates Google’s alleged abuse in the market for online advertising* On 26 August 2009, the Italian Competition Authority opened an investigation (see also press release of 27 August 2009) to determine whether Google is abusing its dominant position in online (...)

The Italian Competition Authority starts investigation against the main IT operator for abuse of dominance on the online collecting advertisement market (Google Italy)
Codacons
Google Italy is an Italian company belonging to the US Google Group INC. It is active world-wide and it is the most popular engine search. Among others, Google provides also "Google News" and it gains the majority of its turnover from the collection and intermediation of advertisement on line . (...)

The Italian Competition Authority starts a proceedings against Google Italy for an alleged abuse of dominant position against Italian newspaper and magazines editors (Federazione Italiana Editori Giornali/Google Italy)
University Luiss Guido Carli - GRIF (Rome)
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University Luiss Guido Carli - GRIF (Rome)
On the 26th August 2009 the Italian Competition Authority (the ICA) decided to start a proceedings against GOOGLE Italy (the Italian branch of the GOOGLE Group) for alleged infringement of article 82 of the EU Treaty (abuse of dominant position). The proceedings follows a complaint by the (...)

The German Competition Authority rejects finding of margin squeeze by the incumbent telecommunications operator (Deutsche Telekom)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Practising Law Institute
In a decision made available this month, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) declined to charge Deutsche Telekom AG (“DTAG”) for allegedly abusing its dominant position with respect to telecommunication services necessary to provide premium rate services, rejecting a complaint by competitor (...)

The Italian Competition Authority starts investigating into alleged abuses of dominant position of a ferry operator (T-Link/Grandi Navi Veloci)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
The Italian Competition Authority or ICA opened an Article 82 proceedings against a major Italian ferry operator, Grandi Navi Veloci (GNV)[alian Competition Authority (Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato - AGCM), 6 August 2009, Case n° A417, Decision n° 20179, T-Link/Grandi Navi (...)

Mergers

The UK’s Office of fair trading clears merger in newspaper and magazine distribution sector by reference to forward-looking counterfactual (Completed acquisition by Smiths News Trading Limited of Certain Assets of Surridge Dawson Limited)
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
On 28 August 2009, the UK’s Office of Fair Trading ("OFT") announced that it had unconditionally cleared the acquisition of assets by Smiths News from Surridge Dawson (the "Transaction"). Both parties were active in the supply of wholesale newspaper and magazine distribution in the UK. The (...)

The Turkish Council of State orders by unanimity stay of execution of Turkish NCA’s clearance regarding acquisition of “Tekel Birası” brand by the dominant company in Turkish beer market (Mey İçki/Anadolu Efes Biracılık)
Hewlett Packard (Istanbul)
Background In its decision of 25 August 2009, the Turkish NCA authorized the acquisition of “Tekel Birası” brand of MEY İçki by Anadolu Efes Biracılık (Efes), the dominant company in Turkish beer market. “Tekel Birası” is the first national beer brand created by TEKEL, the state-owned enterprise which (...)

The German Bundeskartellamt clears in phase II a merger in the energy sector with remedies and still divides the relevant geographic market for gas supply in regional markets (EnBW-VNG/GESO)
Angermann
The German Bundeskartellamt cleared on August 24th, 2009 in phase II a merger between EnBW and VNG in the energy sector with remedies consisting in the sale of a subsidiary of EnBW (GESO). The Bundeskartellamt defines regional relevant geographic markets in the sector for grid-bounded gas (...)

The UK OFT clears a merger in the passenger rail transport sector while applying the SLC test and de minimis exemption to rail franchise (Govia / South Central Passenger Rail)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
1. Introduction By its decision of 17 August 2009 the OFT unconditionally cleared the Govia acquisition of South Central Passenger Rail Franchise (the Franchise) without referring it to the Competition Commission for further examination. The OFT decision is worth reading for it makes some (...)

State Aid

The European Commission issues a communication on criteria for the analysis of the compatibility of State aid for training subject to individual notification
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission Representation in Spain
"State aid for training: criteria for compatibility analysis in notifiable cases"* I. Background Training usually has a positive impact on society as a whole because it increases the pool of skilled workers from which firms can draw. So it improves the competitiveness of the economy and (...)

Procedures

The UK OFT proposes changes to Director Disqualification Guidelines
Linklaters (London)
Overview On 18 August 2009, the OFT published a consultation draft of proposed changes to its guidance on director disqualification orders in competition law cases. The OFT Senior Director of Policy commented with release of the draft revised guidance that “we know that the prospect of being (...)

The UK OFT ramps company directors’ responsibility for competition law compliance
Jones Day (London)
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Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft (Brussels)
On 18 August 2009, the UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) published a consultation on significant proposed changes to its guidance on the adoption of competition disqualification orders (CDOs) against company directors. The OFT’s proposed changes present a significantly more aggressive approach in (...)

The Luxembourg Competition Council applies for the first time the 2009 communication on Art. 82 EC in a case concerning domestic fuel capacities (Tanklux)
Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH) (Luxembourg)
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Arendt & Medernach (Luxembourg)
1. Background of the case In 2007, the Luxembourg Competition Council (“the Council”) received a complaint from a small distributor of domestic fuel (“Rock Fernand distributions”) who wanted to have fuel storage capacity in the river port of Mertert in order to avoid the cost of passing through (...)

Regulatory

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