December 2005

Anticompetitive practices

The Dutch District Court of Zutphen holds in an interim judgment that the Vertical Restraints Block Exemption Reg. n° 2790/99 covers the application of dissimilar terms and conditions of supply to internet retailers (Groen Trend & Schouten Keukens / AEP Home Products)
The AES Corporation
In December 2005 interim proceedings were brought before the District Court of Zutphen in a dispute between AEP Home Products (“AEP”), a supplier of kitchen appliances of the brands Atag, Etna and Pelgrim, and two of its buyers namely the internet retailer Groen Trend and the specialist shop (...)

The Slovak Antimonopoly Office imposes high fines for bid-rigging (Highway D1)
PRK Partners (Bratislava)
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SA Legal
In January 2006 the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic (“AMO”) published a decision of the first instance (adopted in December 2005) fining several Slovak and foreign construction companies a total of almost SKK 1.5 billion (approx. EUR 40 million) for alleged bid-rigging. In addition to (...)

The Hungarian Competition Office, following parallel investigation with the EC Commission, fines € 2, 7 M an international cartel on the gas-insulated switchgears market (Alstom Holding, VA Tech T&D, Siemens and Areva)
Gide Loyrette Nouel
Background / Facts of the case On April 15, 1988, nine European and five Japanese undertakings had signed an agreement whose purpose was to divide the worldwide market for high voltage gas-insulated switchgears (GIS) over 72 kV) (GIS-agreement). Between 1988 and 2004, the companies rigged bids (...)

The Slovak Antimonopoly Office holds that several provisions of the lawyers’ rules of professional conduct breach both Slovak and EU competition provisions (Slovak Bar Association)
Gide Loyrette Nouel (Prague)
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PRK Partners (Prague)
In this contribution we provide a summary of the decision issued on 22 December 2005 by the Slovak Anti-monopoly Office (“Office”) whereby the Office held that several provisions of the Rules of professional conduct for Attorneys (“Rules”) issued by the Slovak Bar Association breached Slovak and EU (...)

The European Commission fines 3 undertakings a total of € 76 M for participating in rubber chemicals cartel (Chemtura, Bayer and General Quimica)
European Commission - DG COMP
"Commission fines 3 undertakings a total of € 76 million for participating in rubber chemicals cartel"* In the fifth decision against hard core cartels adopted in 2005, the Commission imposed fines totalling EUR 76 million on a number of rubber chemicals producers, including Chemtura (USA), (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority considers cooperation and joint selling of network services for PIN-transactions to be an infringement of the cartel prohibition (Interpay)
Stibbe (Amsterdam)
Introduction Interpay is a joint venture between 8 Dutch banks ("the shareholders"), founded in 1994 to provide network services for PIN-transactions. PIN-transactions are payments with debit cards with PIN through pay machines at retailers. The network services consist of the authorization of (...)

The Belgian Competition Council rejects a complaint on alleged discriminatory licensing practices from the national football union (URBSFA)
Smartflats
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Liège University - IEJE
The Parties SA Tilleur-Liège is a company which main activity was the management of a football team (Tilleur-Liège). It went in bankruptcy in 2004. The URBSFA (Union Royale Belge des Sociétés Football Association) is responsible for the organization of football events in Belgium. It holds (...)

The UK High Court holds abusive a threat to refuse to supply pre-race data constituting an essential facility (Attheraces v. The British Horseracing Board)
Reckitt Benckiser Group
Background The British Horseracing Board (“BHB”) plays a central role in organising British horseracing. It maintains a large database which includes detailed “pre-race data” regarding forthcoming fixtures. Attheraces (“ATR”) obtained such pre-race data from BHB (via an intermediary) and (...)

The Danish Competition Council approves natural gas supply agreement under Art. 81 and 82 EC with commitments to an early termination of the exclusive supply clause and prohibition of such clause in future contracts (DONG and HNG/MN)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
On 21 December 2005 the Danish Competition Council (DCC) approved a supply agreement between natural gas provider DONG and its customers Hovedstadsregionens Naturgas (HNG) and Naturgas Midt-Nord (MN), as the parties had given a binding commitment that would improve competition on the Danish gas (...)

The Austrian Supreme Court holds that a fee structure of a trade association infringes Art. 81 EC despite its voluntary nature and limited application in practice (Honorarordnung der Baumeister)
DORDA
Background The Austrian Supreme Court (acting as the highest appellate court in competition matters) upheld a decision of the Austrian Cartel Court, by which the latter declared a fee structure (in the following the "Fee Structure") of the Austrian trade association of builders as infringing (...)

The French Competition Council authorises pharmaceutical laboratories’ practices concerning drugs parallell imports and exports on the basis of both French and EC provisions (Pharma-Lab / GlaxoSmithKline)
Gide Loyrette Nouel (Paris)
Pharma-Lab, Pharmajet, Pharmadex TMC, European Trade Company (ETC) and AD Pharm export drugs bought at the government-fixed price from pharmaceutical laboratories and sell them abroad for a higher price. These companies claimed to suffer from delivery restrictions, discriminatory commercial (...)

A Dutch Court of Appeal declares a franchise agreement compatible with national competition law on the basis of the ECJ Pronuptia Case (Multicopy)
European Commission - DG HR
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Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice
In 1989, Multicopy (the franchisor) and the applicant (the franchisee) concluded a franchise agreement for the exploitation of a Multicopy print service establishment. This agreement was concluded for a duration of 10 years and was due to expire in October 1999. Under this agreement, the (...)

The French Competition Authority sanctions several companies for having engaged in vertical price agreements regarding the distribution of video cassettes for children (Disney video cassettes)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. Disney video cassettes for children: The Conseil de la concurrence fines the companies BVHE, Casino, Carrefour and SDO for engaging in vertical price agreements.* Following a referral from the Ministry of (...)

The Swiss Competition Commission adopts a de minimis notice
Université de Neuchatel
On December 19th, 2005, the Swiss Competition Commission (the “SCC”) issued a notice in relation to small and medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”) and micro-enterprises, entitled Communication on agreements with a limited effect on the market (“SME Communication”). The SME Communication is analogous to (...)

The French Competition Authority sanctions six building and civil engineering companies for having entered into a complex and continuous agreement during the awarding of public roadworks contracts (Roadworks in the Seine-Maritime département)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. Roadworks in the Seine-Maritime département: The Conseil de la concurrence imposes fines totalling 33.6 million Euros on six building and civil engineering companies specializing in the supply of bituminous (...)

The Polish NCA restates that professional bodies must comply with competition law provisions notwithstanding the existence of potential alternative legal basis (Poznan Chemists’ Chamber)
French National Research Agency (ANR)
The decision at hand, rendered on December 15, 2005 recalls previous decisions issued by the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (hereafter “OCCP President”) (See J. Faruga and V. Metonidze, The Polish Competition Court upholds the decision of the competition authority (...)

The European Commission proposes to repeal the liner conference block exemption regulation
European Commission - DG COMP
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European Commission - DG COMP
"The Commission proposes to repeal the Liner Conference Block Exemption"* On 14 December 2005 the Commission adopted a proposal for a Council Regulation repealing Council Regulation 4056/86 applying Articles 81 and 82 EC to maritime transport services and amending Regulation 1/2003 to extent (...)

The German Federal Cartel Office issued a statement of objections against Germany’s major gas company with the aim of prohibiting certain long term supply agreements with regional and local gas distributors that violate European and German competition law (E.ON Ruhrgas)
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Berlin)
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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Berlin)
In its ongoing efforts to open the German wholesale market to new gas suppliers, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) issued a statement of objections against E.ON Ruhrgas (“E.ON”), Germany’s largest gas supplier, in December 2005. According to this statement of objections and the preliminary (...)

Publication of the Amendment to the Irish Competition Bill 2005: Substantial modifications in the grocery trade regime
London School of Economics
The Competition (Amendment) Bill 2005 (hereinafter “the Bill”) has been drafted with a view to fulfilling a twofold purpose ; firstly, it will revoke the antiquated Groceries Order 1987 and secondly, it aims to strengthen certain existing elements of the Competition Act, 2002 in order to prevent (...)

A Dutch Court decides that the decision of the competition authority should have been annulled since the latter did not examine whether a restrictive distribution agreement had an appreciable effect on competition (Secon & G-Star)
European Commission - DG HR
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Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice
G-Star is a subsidiary of Secon. It supplied clothes to clothing shops. The distribution agreement between the supplier and the retailers provided that the contract goods could not be sold to consumers from other premises than those to which the goods were supplied. Retailers were therefore (...)

The Finnish competition authority states that rebates granted by pharmaceutical companies to pharmacies are unlawful on the basis of both EC and national competition provisions
Smartflats
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Liège University - IEJE
In Finland, pharmaceutical companies very often offer to pharmacies rebates on the wholesale price of drugs. Typically, they try to attract pharmacies by granting them generous additional rebates on all their products. As such, rebates granted by a furnisher to its distributors do not raise (...)

The French Supreme Court holds that low-price practice cannot be sanctioned on the basis of tort law if it does not fall under competition provisions (Usines Merger / Giat Industries)
Université du Maine
In a judgement delivered on December, 6th 2005, the commercial Chamber of the French Supreme Court ruled on the relationship between competition provisions and unfair trading provisions on the one hand and tort law provisions on the other hand. The issue at stake concerned the practice of low (...)

The Administrative Court of Appeal of Athens quashes a decision of the NCA ruling that a refusal to integrate into a cosmetics selective distribution network undertakings not providing for dispensing chemists constituted a disproportionate requirement on the basis of both EC and Greek competition laws (Lavicosmetica)
Hellenic Institute of International and Foreign Law (HIIFL)
The case relates to a recourse brought by Lavicosmetica Cosmetique Active Hellas A.E. (hereafter Lavicosmetica) against the decision of the Hellenic Competition Commission considering that its refusal to integrate into its selective distribution network of cosmetics the department stores Hondos (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Turkish Competition Authority fines € 4 M the telecom incumbent for abusive exclusive practices on the mobile phone market (Turkcell)
Jones Day (Paris)
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Gide Loyrette Nouel
Pursuant to Article 6 of the Law on the Protection of Competition n° 4054 (the “Law”), abuse of dominant position is prohibited (For a restatement of Turkish Competition provisions, see Prof. Dr. Ercüment Erdem, Overview on Turkish Competition Law, e-Competitions, n° 13152). It is forbidden for (...)

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal considers the appropriate tests to apply in an interim decision regarding abuse of dominant position in pricing access to a water distribution channel in the context of the regulated UK water industry (Albion Water)
Paul Hastings (London)
The case commenced in 2001 and the instant decision relates to an appeal by an inset water undertaking (i.e. a local retailer of water services), Albion Water Limited (“Albion”) against a decision of the Director General of Water Services (the “Director”). The decision was to the effect that a (...)

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal makes an interim judgement in an appeal against a water industry regulator decision on alleged abuse of dominant position (Albion Water)
FTI Consulting (London)
Competition Appeal Tribunal, Interim Judgment, 22 december 2005, Albion Water Limited v. Director General of Water Services (Dwr Cymru/Shotton Paper), Case n° 1046/2/4/04 [2005] CAT 40 The Competition Appeal Tribunal (“the Tribunal”) has made an interim judgment in an appeal against a decision (...)

The Lithuanian Competition Authority fines the national oil refinery for abuse of dominant position under Art. 82 EC (Mazeiki nafta)
Lithuanian Competition Council
The Lithuanian Competition Council (CC) finished the year of 2005 on a high note by establishing a record fine of LTL 32 million (approx. EUR 9.27 million) on AB Mažeikiu nafta (MN), the national oil refinery, for the discriminatory pricing practices said to infringe Article 82 EC and its (...)

The Slovak Council of the Competition authority imposes significant fine for repeated abuse of dominant position by not granting access to essential facilities (Slovak Telecom)
Havel, Holasek & Partners (Brno)
I. Relevant facts In the following decision, the Slovak Antimonopoly Office (Office) concluded that Slovak Telecom (ST) abused its dominant position by not granting access to the essential facility of a local network. The office forbid the infringement and imposed a fine in the amount of SKK (...)

The Slovenian Competition Authority rejects an abuse of dominant position claim by a mobile phone operator against the incumbent after a full-blown economic analysis (Mobitel / Western Wireless)
Fatur Law Firm (Ljubljana)
This case started in 2003, when mobile phone operator Western Wireless International complained to the Slovenian Competition Authority about the abusive pricing practices, cross-subsidizing of different telecommunication services and restrictive contracts condition of its rival Mobitel on the (...)

The Belgian Competition Council fines the Association Sportive Automobile Francophone for an abuse of dominant position relating to sporting rules (ETE-KILT/ASAF)
Smartflats
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Liège University - IEJE
Background The present case was initiated by two Dunlop tires distributors which complained about alleged anti-competitive sporting regulations on the part of a Belgian sporting organisation in the field of kart racing. The “Association Sportive Automobile Francophone” (“ASAF”) is a non-profit (...)

The French Competition Authority hands down a non-suit decision regarding alleged abuses of dominant position in the parallel trade of medicines (Pharma-Lab / GlaxoSmithKline)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. Parallel trade in medicines: Pharmaceutical laboratories do not abuse their dominant position when they restrict or refuse deliveries of medicines to exporters, who seek to purchase products in France at an (...)

The Austrian Supreme Court accepts a dominant undertaking’s refusal to deal as objectively justified (Penicillin G Sodium)
Salzburg University
On 20 December, 2005, the Austrian Supreme Court ruled that a dominant undertaking`s refusal to supply a potential customer is objectively justified by lack of trust. This was due to the potential customer`s negotiation behaviour. Background Since 1999, Defendant has been the sole producer of (...)

The French Competition Council deems that pharmaceutical companies can, under certain conditions, impose quotas restricting parallel exports (Pharma-Lab / GlaxoSmithKline)
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
Summary This decision of the French Competition Council concerns the quota systems put in place by pharmaceutical companies in the framework of wholesaling, here limited to exporter wholesalers. The Plaintiffs were : Pharma-Lab, Pharmajet, Pharmadex TMC, European Trade Company and AD Pharm. (...)

The European Commission publishes discussion paper on abuse of dominance
European Commission - DG COMP
"Commission publishes discussion paper on abuse of dominance"* On 19 December 2005 the European Commission published a discussion paper on the application of the EC Treaty competition rules on the abuse of a dominant market position (Article 82). The discussion paper is designed to promote a (...)

The Slovak Competition Authority fines telecommunications company for margin squeezing in virtual private network market (Slovak Telecom)
Norton Rose Fulbright (London)
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Rentsch Legal
Slovak Telecom (“ST”) was fined SKK 80,000,000 for margin squeezing in the Virtual Private Network services (VPN) market due to its dominant position in the upstream leased private lines market in which it had no competitors. The decision was based on ST’s practice in one particular tender for VPN (...)

The Italian Antitrust Authority opens an investigation for abuse of dominance in the market for autoclaved cellular concrete (Italgasbeton/RDB)
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Rome)
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WilmerHale (Brussels)
On 14 December 2005, the Italian Antitrust Authority (“IAA”) opened proceedings under Article 82 EC Treaty - as well as under the correspondent national provision - against RDB S.p.A. (“RDB”) and its controlled company RDB Hebel S.p.A. (“RDBH”), for an alleged abuse of dominant position in the (...)

The Czech Office for the Protection of Competition confirms the abuse of dominant position by the operator of a municipal cemetery by refusing to grant access to a funeral chapel (TSP/PSM)
Government of the Czech Republic
By a decision rendered on 13 December, 2005, the President of the Office has confirmed a first instance decision according to which Technické služby Prostejov (“TSP”), a city-owned company charged inter alia with the operation and maintenance of the municipal cemetery in the city of Prostejov, has (...)

The Hungarian Competition Office applies both national and EC leading abuse case concerning spare parts (Hewlett-Packard)
lakatos, koves and partners
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lakatos, koves and partners
The Hungarian Competition Office (HCO) applied European law in proceedings against a leading printer manufacturer that had been launched due to its alleged abuse of its dominant position on the market of printer cartridges. The alleged abuse concerned the wording of the warranty letter of the (...)

The Polish Competition Authority holds that the practice of the public coal company aiming to prevent intermediaries’ access to final customers is an abuse of dominant position (Kompania Weglowa)
French National Research Agency (ANR)
The decision at hand, rendered on December 12, 2005, by the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (hereafter, “OCCP President” or “President of the Office”) concerns practices of Kompania Weglowa S.A., the biggest coal company in the European Union (hereafter, the “Public (...)

The Polish Competition Authority, by condemning a town for abusing its dominant position, restates that competition law apply to practices of local government units (Commune of Kielce)
French National Research Agency (ANR)
The present decision, rendered on December 2, 2005, concerns the practice of the Municipal Administration of Roads in the city of Kielce (the organizational unit of the commune of Kielce) consisting on the refusal to give access to the municipal transport bus stops to operators other than the (...)

Mergers

The Turkish Competition Authority clears a merger in the cereals market subject to revision of a provision aiming at resale price maintenance (Kellogg-Yildiz)
Esin
The operation Kellogg is a company of Kellogg Group. Kellogg Group is a global leader in the production of cereals. At the time of the subject matter notification, Kellogg was active in Turkey through exports. Yildiz is a holding company which is active in the production, distribution and (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority cleared a merger in the the carbonless developers market subject to remedies including regular notifications of its market shares and prices to the NCA (Rockwood Süd-Chemie)
Esin
The operation Süd-Chemie is a company which is active in the field of production of chemicals. It operates in Turkey through its Turkish subsidiary. However this subsidiary is not active in any businesses which are related to the relevant product market. On the other hand, Rockwood is a global (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority clears with divestments a merger in the radio sector but the Council of Ministries reduced the extent of the remedies (Unión Radio/Antena 3 Radio)
PwC (Madrid)
The operation The proposed merger was the acquisition of Antena 3 Radio by Unión Radio. Antena 3 Radio was a company operating 93 radio stations in Spain. The main shareholders of Antena 3 Radio were Inversiones Godó (64.6%) and Paltrieva (24.8%). Unión Radio was a company that managed radio (...)

The Bulgarian Commission for Protection of Competition finds that a call option and certain minority shareholder protection rights do not confer control (Novator – Bulgarian Telecommunication Company)
Kinstellar (Sofia)
The Bulgarian Commission for Protection of Competition (the “CPC”) held that a call option for purchase of a majority stake in a target company, as well as certain minority shareholder protection rights, conferred no control in the competition law meaning of the notion and, thus, did not lead to (...)

The European Commission partially clears a merger in the retailing sector and refers part of the examination to the Slovakian competition authority (Carrefour/Tesco)
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European Commission - DG COMP
"Mergers — Main developments between 1 January and 30 April 2006"* The proposed acquisition, which was notified on 4 November, involved the acquisition of sole control of the Czech and Slovak business of the undertaking Carrefour (France) by Tesco (UK). Tesco, based in the UK, is active in (...)

The European Commission conditionally clears a merger in the airlines industry (Lufthansa/Eurowings Luftverkehr/ Germanwings)
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European Commission - DG COMP
"Mergers — Main developments between 1 January and 30 April 2006"* On 22 December 2005 the Commission gave its approval to the proposed acquisition by Deutsche Lufthansa AG of Eurowings Luftverkehr AG and its subsidiary, the low cost airline Germanwings. Lufthansa is the principal airline in (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority cleared an internal shares transfer as a a merger subject to the removal of the non-compete obligation from the transaction agreement (Inteltek-Intralot)
Esin
The operation Intralot is a Greek company whose shares are being publicly held. Intralot is vastly experienced in integrated gaming systems, as well as design, development, operation, and support of gaming systems. It is the third biggest supplier company in the global lottery market. Intralot (...)

The European Commission conditionally approves the acquisition of two subsidiaries of the incumbent oil and gas Hungarian company by a German energy supplier (MOL / E.ON)
European Commission - DG COMP
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Compass Lexecon (Brussels)
,
European Commission - DG COMP
"A combination of gas release programmes and ownership unbundling as remedy to a problematic energy merger: E.ON / MOL"* 1. Introduction Following an in-depth investigation, on 21 December 2005, the Commission approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of MOL WMT and MOL Storage, (...)

The Belgian Competition Council approves the acquisition of a financial newspaper subject to conditions, including a prohibition on tied offers of newspapers or of advertising space and a prohibition on applying discriminatory conditions to the supply of financial information to the written press in Belgium (Editeco - Les Echos)
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Hong Kong)
The operation NV Uitgeversbedrijf De Tijd, owned by NV Rossel & Cie. and NV De Persgroep, acquired all the shares of NV Editeco, owner of the "Les Echos" financial newspaper. The original transaction was notified and approved on 26 January 2004 (2004-C/C-16). Third parties appealed the (...)

The Belgian Competition Council confirms its jurisdiction and the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal in merger cases (L’Echo)
Leuven University
On 20 December 2005 the Belgian Competition Council approved (under conditions) the acquisition of the Walloon financial newspaper “L’Echo” by the Flemish media group De Persgroep and by the Walloon press group Rossel. In September 2005, the Competition Council also gave green light for the (...)

The EU Court of First Instance denies application for annulment of Commission decision on merger prohibition, though it finds that the assessment of the conglomerate effects resulting from the concentration was erroneous (Honeywell International / GE)
Sheppard Mullin (Los Angeles)
General Electric/Honeywell merger prohibition upheld by European Court of First Instance – “Conglomerate effects” analysis represents “manifest errors of assessment”* On December 14, 2005, the European Court of First Instance (“CFI”) denied the application of General Electric Company (“GE”) and (...)

The French Competition Council reviews, for the first time on referral from the French Supreme Administrative Court, the impact on competition of a share acquisition in the enterprise resource planning software solutions sector (CEGID/CCMX Holding)
PagesJaunes
On July 23, 2004 the acquisition of 100% of the shares of CCMX Holding (“CCMX”) by Cegid SA (“Cegid”) thereby conferring Cegid sole control of CCMX, was notified to the French Minister of Economy (the “Minister”). Both parties were active in the design, development and marketing of ERP software (...)

The Russian Competition Authority clears a merger in the banking sector with remedy... to close a branch of the target (Promyshlenno-Stroitelny bank/Vneshtorgbank)
Clifford Chance (Moscow)
The operation The Russian bank OAO "Vneshtorgbank" ("Acquirer") applied for clearance of its proposed acquisition of the entire voting capital in OAO "Promyshlenno-stroitelny bank" ("Target"). The market The transaction related to the market for bank services in the Smolenskaya region in (...)

The Court of First Instance of Rotterdam holds that sickness funds can not be considered as undertakings acting as economic entities (CZ/OZ)
European Commission - DG HR
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Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice
Altough this case concerns a merger in the Dutch insurance sector, it raised general competition issues, among which the notion of economic activity/undertaking for the purpose of Art. 81/82. It involved, on the one hand, “CZ” (Stichting CZ groep Zorgverzekeringen Beheer), a foundation that (...)

The US FTC introduces changes for 2006 in the thresholds and reporting requirements of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act
WilmerHale (Boston)
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Hughes Hubbard & Reed (Washington)
A recent flurry of announcements by the Federal Trade Commission has introduced some important changes for 2006 in the thresholds and reporting requirements of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended (HSR Act). HSR Thresholds Raised Effective February 17, 2006, (...)

The Austrian Federal Competition Authority clears the partial acquisition of a broadcasting transmission company by a media company, subject to behavioural commitments not to act as a broadcaster and to operate the Electronic Programme Guide on a non-discriminatory basis (Medicur/ORS)
Université de Genève
The operation ORS is a terrestrial broadcasting transmission company and was at the time of the merger the only aspirant to the only Austrian multiplex license for digital broadcasting. Medicur is active in various media markets including daily newspapers, magazines, and outdoor advertising. (...)

State Aid

The European Commission decides to open formal investigation proceedings on the subsidy provided by Italy to consumers buying a certain type of decoders allowing the view of digital television programs
European Commission - DG MOVE
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European Commission - DG ECFIN
"State aid to digital decoders: proportionality is needed to meet common interest"* 1. Introduction In December 2005 the Commission decided to open formal investigation proceedings on the subsidy provided by Italy to consumers buying a certain type of decoders allowing the view of digital (...)

The European Commission adopts a partially negative decision on exemptions from the fuel excise tax for alumina production
European Commission - DG COMP
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Alstom (Paris)
"Exemptions from the fuel excise tax for alumina production"* On 7 December 2005, the European Commission adopted a partially negative decision on full exemptions from the excise tax on mineral oils used in the production of alumina in France, Ireland and Italy. The exemptions date from the (...)

Procedures

A French Decree sets up exclusive Courts jurisdiction for all competition related matters
University Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne
Décret n° 2005-1756, du 30 décembre 2005, fixant la liste et le ressort des juridictions spécialisées en matière de concurrence, de propriété industrielle et de difficultés des entreprises, JORF n° 304, du 31 décembre 2005, page 20831) Decree n° 2005-1756, of 30 December 2005, which sets down the list (...)

The Austrian Supreme Court holds that third parties are empowered to apply to the Cartel Court for the bringing to an end of infringements of Art. 81 EC (Bank Austria/Erste Bank)
Reidlinger Schatzmann Rechtsanwälte
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Bpv Hügel (Vienna)
The Bank Austria v. Erste Bank a. o. proceedings have a rather convoluted history. In 2002, the Austrian legislator enacted a provision exempting agreements between members of a group of credit institutions from the Austrian law prohibition of restrictive agreements. On 1st January 2002, Erste (...)

The European Commission issues a green paper on damages actions for breach of the EC antitrust rules
European Commission - DG COMP
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European Commission - DG COMP
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European Commission - DG COMP
"Green Paper on damages actions for breach of the EC antitrust rules"* A. Introduction The competition rules of Articles 81 and 82 EC can be enforced both by competition authorities (public enforcement) and by private parties who bring their case before a national court (private enforcement). (...)

The French Competition Council accepts recordings of phone calls made without the knowledge of recorded persons as proof and rules against vertical anticompetitive agreements in the brown products sector (Avantage / Philips - Sony - Panasonic)
Simmons & Simmons (Paris)
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Hewlett Packard (Boulogne-Billancourt)
In a decision dated 5 December 2005, the French Competition Council (hereinafter “the Council”) found that Philips, Sony and Panasonic had infringed Article L. 420-1 of the French Commercial Code (equivalent to article 81 of the EC Treaty) as each of them had set up a vertical agreement with its (...)

Regulatory

The French Competition Authority issues an opinion on a proposed system to enable intensive industrial electricity users to benefit from special electricity pricing conditions
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. Electricity purchases by intensive industrial users: The Conseil de la concurrence is not opposed to the principle of long-term contracts but considers that the selection of industrial users should be based on (...)

The French Competition Authority issues an opinion regarding potential competition problems raised by the planned privatisation of mixed-economy motorway operators
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. Motorway Privatisation: The Conseil de la concurrence considers that the regulation of private monopolies resulting from privatisation will create difficulties unless a series of obligations are imposed on the (...)

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