December 2010

Anticompetitive practices

The Polish Competition Authority adopts decision concerning unlawful vertical restraints in the gardening products sector (Ogrody Polskie)
Van Bael & Bellis
In a decision of 31 December 2010, which has become recently available, the Polish Competition Authority fined a supplier of gardening products (Ogrody Polskie) and six distributors for entering into unlawful agreements concerning resale price maintenance and restrictions of passive sales in (...)

The Polish Competition Authority fines 5 companies for resale price maintenance in the paint distribution sector (Akzo Nobel)
Van Bael & Bellis
On 31 December 2010, the Polish Competition Authority adopted a decision finding that Akzo Nobel Coatings (“Akzo Nobel”) and four DIY companies (namely Castorama, Leroy Merlin, Obi and Praktiker) fixed the minimum resale prices of Akzo Nobel paints in Poland between 2004 and 2006. The Polish (...)

A US District Court dismisses an antitrust suit brought against "catch and release" transactions on the market for licenses of mobile wireless-related patents (Siti / AST)
Stanford University - Stanford Law School
Antitrust suit against defensive patent purchasing organization dismissed* On 29 December 2010, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed an antitrust suit brought by Siti-Sites.com, Inc. (“Siti”) against Allied Security Trust (“AST”) and allegedly associated entities (...)

The Italian Last Instance Administrative Court confirms the legitimacy of the Competition Authority’s decision, quashed by the Court of First Instance, according to which the exchange of commercial information which are not “genuinely public” are, per se, anticompetitive (IAMA)
Bonelli Erede Pappalardo (Rome)
In its judgment delivered on 29 December 2010, the Italian Last Instance Administrative Court (“Consiglio di Stato”), reversed the judgment of the First Instance Administrative Court (“TAR Lazio”) on the “IAMA” case, and confirmed the restrictive approach taken by the Italian Competition Authority (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit upholds the plausibility of a claim for alleged conspiracy in the telecommunications sector under the Twombly standard (Text messaging antitrust litigation)
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
Conspiracy to Fix Prices for Text Messaging Services Plausible* Antitrust plaintiffs asserting price fixing claims do not need a “smoking gun” to avoid dismissal of their complaint and proceed to discovery. Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago decided that consumers plausibly alleged (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority fines insulated glass manufacturers’ cartel more than € 17 Million (Koninklijke Saint-Gobain Glass Nederland, Scheuten Glas Nederland, Pilkington Benelux)
European Commission (Brussels)
* Article published in ECN Brief 01/2011. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Please note that the ECN is not the actual "author" of this case summary, but the mere source. As mentioned by the ECN : "The information provided by the ECN Brief is for (...)

The Lithuanian Competition Council imposes fines totalling € 153 817 on two insurance companies for the conclusion of a prohibited agreement (Lietuvos draudimas, DK PZU Lietuva)
European Commission (Brussels)
* Article published in ECN Brief 01/2011. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Please note that the ECN is not the actual "author" of this case summary, but the mere source. As mentioned by the ECN : "The information provided by the ECN Brief is for (...)

The Japan Fair Trade Commission imposes surcharges on participants in bidding for construction works (Iwate Prefecture)
Japan Fair Trade Commission (Tokyo)
Surcharge Payment Orders against Participants in Bidding for Construction Works ordered by Iwate Prefecture* The Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC), on December 20, 2010, issued surcharge payment orders against 30 participating companies (hereinafter referred to as “30 companies”) in the bidding (...)

The Hellenic Competition Commission fines a professional engineers association for infringing both national and EU competition law by increasing minimum fees for architects and engineers (Technical Chamber of Greece)
Bank of Greece
Introduction On 22 December 2010, the Hellenic Competition Commission (Elliniki Epitropi Antagonismou, hereafter: HCC) issued an infringement decision against the Technical Chamber of Greece (Techniko Epimelitirio Elladas, hereafter: TEE) for violation of 101 TFEU and Art 1 Act 703/1977 (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority imposes fines totalling more than 81 M€ on cartel in flour industry (Meneba, Ranks, Dossche, Werhahn)
European Commission (Brussels)
* Article published in ECN Brief 01/2011. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Please note that the ECN is not the actual "author" of this case summary, but the mere source. As mentioned by the ECN : "The information provided by the ECN Brief is for (...)

The Hellenic Competition Commission imposes fines on the Technical Chamber of Greece for adopting a "minimum cost for construction projects" (TEE)
European Commission (Brussels)
* Article published in ECN Brief 01/2011. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Please note that the ECN is not the actual "author" of this case summary, but the mere source. As mentioned by the ECN : "The information provided by the ECN Brief is for (...)

The French Competition Authority imposes fines totalling € 55 million for cartel and abuse of a dominant position in the road signs and safety equipment sector (road signs cartel)
European Commission (Brussels)
* Article published in ECN Brief 01/2011. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Please note that the ECN is not the actual "author" of this case summary, but the mere source. As mentioned by the ECN : "The information provided by the ECN Brief is for (...)

The French Competition Authority fines 52.7 million euros for 10-years cartel (Road signs cartel)
Commissariat a l’energie atomique et aux energies alternatives (CEA)
On 22 December 2010, the Autorité de la Concurrence fined 8 firms in the Road Sign sector € 52,712,000 for agreeing on prices and sharing markets for permanent and temporary metal road signs between 1997 and 2006. Another two firms were fined € 2,229,000 for the abuse of a dominant position in the (...)

The Spanish Competition Commission closes monitoring of termination by commitments agreement in interchange fees for transactions by debit and credit cards case (SERVIRED, SISTEMA 4B and EURO 6000)
European Commission (Brussels)
* Article published in ECN Brief 01/2011. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Please note that the ECN is not the actual "author" of this case summary, but the mere source. As mentioned by the ECN : "The information provided by the ECN Brief is for (...)

The French Competition Authority fines 4 welding electrode producers for collusive tendering (Le Bronze Industriel, Schrub, Ohlmann and Weldur)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 16 December 2010, the French Competition Authority imposed fines totalling € 101,000 on four welding electrode producers (Le Bronze Industriel (LBI); Schrub; Ohlmann and Weldur) for colluding on tenders to supply car manufacturers Renault and Peugeot between 2002 and 2005. In its decision, (...)

The Croatian Competition Authority grants an individual exemption in relation to non-compete obligation contained in a settlement agreement (Intereuropa sajam međunarodno otpremništvo / UPS Worldwide Forwarding)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 16 December 2010 the Croatian Competition Authority (AZTN) granted an individual exemption in relation to a non-compete obligation contained in a settlement agreement between international courier services providers Intereuropa sajam međunarodno otpremništvo d.o.o.(Intereuropa) and UPS (...)

The Hungarian High Court of Appeal rules that the tenderee to the agreement that was concluded on the basis of the outcome of a tender which was influenced by bid rigging is not entitled to damages (Bartók Béla tender)
Philip Morris
I. Introduction Private enforcement in bid rigging cases is increasing in Hungary. However, none of the filed actions have been successfully completed in recent years. II. Background of the judgment The background of the case and the decision of the Hungarian Competition Office (HCO) was (...)

The Croatian Competition Agency finds price fixing agreement between publishers of news and political weekly magazines null and void (EPH/NCL Media Grupa)
University of Zagreb - Faculty of Economics and Business
The Croatian Competition Agency decided on 16 December 2010 that the only two publishers of news and political weekly magazines which are of national relevance in Croatia, Europapress Holding d.o.o. (‘Globus’ magazine) and NCL Media Grupa d.o.o. (‘Nacional’ magazine) explicitly agreed on a price (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority accepts a commitment subject to a fine of SEK 750 000 from a franchiser to cease fixing price and to allow the franchisees to carry out sales without the intervention of the franchiser (Make up Store)
Vinge (Stockholm)
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Cosmetics Europe
Introduction The Swedish Competition Authority (“SCA”) accepted a commitment subject to a fine of SEK 750 000 from a franchiser to, firstly, cease fixing prices centrally via its online system for cash registers and secondly, to make clear that the prices set by the franchiser were recommended (...)

The General Court of the European Union annuls a Commission’s decision limiting its discretion to reject complaints and addressing the issue of market definition in the luxury watches repair services and spare parts markets (CEAHR)
Garrigues (Brussels)
Wrapping up the week / Case T-427/08, CEAHR v Commission* Case T-427/08, CEAHR v Commission The complaint: The European Confederation for watch repairers associations lodged a complaint before the Commission alleging that watch manufacturers had engaged in agreements and/or concerted (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines personal care products cartel (Unilever Italia, Colgate-Palmolive, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt-Benckiser)
European Commission (Brussels)
* Article published in ECN Brief 01/2011. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Please note that the ECN is not the actual "author" of this case summary, but the mere source. As mentioned by the ECN : "The information provided by the ECN Brief is for (...)

The General Court of the European Union addresses the competitive analysis of aftermarkets in the luxury watches and spare parts markets (CEAHR)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
Luxury Watches And Spare Parts – The General Court Discusses The Analysis Of Aftermarkets* In a recent judgment of December 15, 2010, the General Court had an opportunity to discuss the competitive analysis of aftermarkets. At issue in that case were complaints by independent watch repairers (...)

The Italian competition Authority detects and punishes a cartel between cosmetics and drugs producers aimed at fixing the retail products prices and at weakening the market power of distributors
University of Bologna
The Italian Competition Authority (hereafter Agcm) has fined 16 producers of cosmetics, drugs and soaps a total of € 81.181.335 for operating a complex price-fixing cartel having as its object the restriction of competition which harmed Italian consumers of cosmetics, drugs and soaps for seven (...)

The EU General Court confirms the €38 million fine imposed for breaking a seal affixed to an office of a company by the Commission during an inspection (E.ON Energie)
Vogel & Vogel
On 15 December 2010, the General Court of the European Union (EGC) handed down a tough but very thoroughly argued decision on the infringement of breaking of an official seal. The European Commission had ordered an inspection of the premises of the company E.ON Energie AG in the context of an (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines a number of large retailers for cosmetic and health care products (Cartel of large retailers for cosmetic and health care products)
University of Turin
Italy’s competition authority (“ICA”) has fined 15 companies, including units of Sara Lee Corp., L’Oreal and Johnson & Johnson, more than € 81 M ($ 107 M) for an alleged long-running scheme to coordinate list prices sent to large retailers for cosmetic and health care products. The highest fine, (...)

The new EU Competition Rules on Horizontal Co‑operation Agreements
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
The new EU Competition Rules on Horizontal Co‑operation Agreements* 1. Context On 14 December 2010, the European Commission adopted new rules and guidelines for the assessment of horizontal co operation agreements under EU competition law. This new regime consists of a set of guidelines, the (...)

The European Commission adopts revised competition rules on horizontal co-operation agreements
Linklaters (London)
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Linklaters (Brussels)
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Linklaters (Brussels)
The European Commission has revised its rules for the assessment of co- operation agreements between competitors, so called horizontal co-operation agreements. The new rules consist of two updated Block Exemption Regulations covering R&D and specialisation / joint production agreements and (...)

The European Commission revises competition rules regarding horizontal cooperation agreements
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
On December 14, 2010, the European Commission (the Commission) published a package of measures containing revised rules and guidelines for the assessment of cooperation agreements between competitors (horizontal cooperation agreements). In particular, these measures provide new and more (...)

The Hellenic Competition Commission implements the decision of the Athens Court of Appeal that a fine should be calculated separately for infringements of Art. 101 and 102 of the TFEU (Nestlé)
OECD - Competition Division (Paris)
On 14 December 2010 the Hellenic Competition Commission (“HCC”) published a decision providing details on a fine imposed on NestléGreece (“Nestlé”), clarifying that about €22 million were due for abuse of dominant position and about €7.5 million were due for agreements restricting competition. 1. (...)

The Italian Court of First Instance confirms the Italian Competition Authority’s decision in a price fixing case concerning the liquefied petroleum gas sector (Butangas, Eni, Liquigas)
Bonelli Erede Pappalardo (Rome)
In its judgment delivered on 13 December 2010, the Italian Court of First Instance ("Tar Lazio") confirmed the decision by which the Italian Competition Authority ("ICA") found the three main operators active in the LPG sector in Italy (i.e. Butangas, Eni and Liquigas) to have coordinated their (...)

The Bulgarian Commission for Protection of Competition closes a probe into alleged bid-rigging among suppliers of pharmaceuticals without establishing an infringement (Alta Pharmaceuticals, Roche)
Kinstellar (Sofia)
The Bulgarian Commission for Protection of Competition (the «CPC») closed an investigation into alleged bid-rigging practices among suppliers of pharmaceuticals absent collaborative evidence of price coordination and with further regard to the transparency-enhancing effects of the domestic (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority punishes resale price maintenance affecting hospitals’ public tenders
European Commission (Brussels)
* Article published in ECN Brief 01/2011. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Please note that the ECN is not the actual "author" of this case summary, but the mere source. As mentioned by the ECN : "The information provided by the ECN Brief is for (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority focus on the notion of single economic entity in price fixing cartel case (Scandorama and Ölvemarks Holiday)
Stockholm University
On 9 December 2010, the Swedish Competition Authority (“the Competition Authority”) initiated proceedings in the Stockholm City Court against the two bus companies Ölvemarks Holiday AB and Scandorama AB. According to the Competition Authority, the two companies have engaged in a price fixing and (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority issues proceedings against bus companies in respect of a price fixing cartel on the market for package tours on coaches (Ölvemarks / Scandorama)
Swedish Competition Authority (Stockholm)
Swedish Competition Authority issues proceedings against bus companies in respect of a cartel* According to the Swedish Competition Authority, two bus companies – Ölvemarks and Scandorama – have committed unauthorised collusion on prices, referred to as a ‘cartel’. They are now required to pay just (...)

The European Commission makes legally binding commitments offered by global payments technology company to cut interbank fees for debit cards (Visa Europe)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Payment cards: Visa debit card fees go down* 1. Background Card payments represent about 35 % of all non cash payments in the EU 27. It is estimated that businesses pay tens of billions of euros (25 billion in 2005) in fees per year to accept cards. The Commission has a long history of (...)

The EC fines French pharmacists association for imposing minimum prices on French market of clinical analysis tests (Ordre national des pharmaciens)
Forchelli, Curto, Deegan, Schwartz, Mineo & Terrana, LLP
On December 8, 2010, the European Commission (“EC”) announced the imposition of fines totaling €5MM ($6.6MM) on the Ordre National des Pharmaciens (“ONP”) and its “governing bodies”for “violation of EU antitrust rules . . . on restrictive business practices.” In doing so, the EC fined an “association (...)

The EU Commission fines six LCD panel producers for price-fixing cartel (Samsung / LG / AU Optronics / Chunghwa / Chimei InnoLux / HannStar)
Skarzynski Black LLC (New York)
In addition to the DOJ probe, the European Commission (“the Commission”) has been actively investigating an alleged price-fixing conspiracy in the TFT-LCD industry. This investigation culminated, on December 8, 2010, with the Commission levying a total of €649 million ($858 million) in fines (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority institutes proceedings against bus company cartel in package tour sector (Ölvemarks, Scandorama)
European Commission (Brussels)
* Article published in ECN Brief 01/2011. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Please note that the ECN is not the actual "author" of this case summary, but the mere source. As mentioned by the ECN : "The information provided by the ECN Brief is for (...)

The German Competition Authority imposes fines on chemicals wholesale cartel (BÜFA Chemikalien, CG Chemikalien, Hanke & Seidel)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 7 December 2010, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) imposed fines totalling € 15.11 million on twelve companies active in the sector for the wholesaling of chemicals for having engaged in a long-term series of anticompetitive practices. Representatives of these companies are reported to (...)

The German Federal Court of Justice finds that trade mark delimitation agreement is valid under applicable competition law (Jette Joop)
White & Case (Hambourg)
In its decision dated December 7, 2010, the Federal Court of Justice (“FCJ”) confirmed that the owner of the designer trade mark “JOOP!” (the “Plaintiff”) was entitled to claim injunctive relief from Jette Joop, the daughter of JOOP!’s founder and former owner, Wolfgang Joop, for manufacturing and (...)

The French Competition Authority issues the report on its sector inquiry into category management
European Commission (Brussels)
France: The Autorité de la concurrence issues the Report on its Sector Inquiry into Category Management On 7 December 2010, the Autorité de la concurrence published the results of its sector Inquiry into Category Management. Category management agreements are agreements by which, within a (...)

The US DoJ issues indictments and fines in air-cargo price-fixing investigation (Florida West International Airways)
Duane Morris (Newark)
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Arent Fox (New York)
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Harris Beach (Rochester)
Since October 2010, federal grand juries across the United States have returned indictments for conspiracy to fix prices in the air cargo industry against 11 former executives and one corporation. Most recently, on December 2, 2010, Florida West International Airways, Inc. was indicted in U.S. (...)

The Japan Fair Trade Commission clears a planned search engine partnership between two multinational corporations specializing in Internet-related services and products (Google and Yahoo Japan)
Japan Fair Trade Commission (Tokyo)
Yahoo Japan’s Use of Technological Service Such As Search Engine Provided by Google (Tentative translation)* Japan Corporation (Yahoo Japan) would use search engine and search-advertising platform (hereinafter referred to as “search engine etc.”) provided by Google Inc. (Google), upon the (...)

The US Court of Appeals of Atlanta (Eleventh Circuit) affirms a ruling of dismissal of an action brought on behalf of a class of purchasers of visco-elastic foam mattresses against a distributor (Benny Jacobs Wanda / Tempur-Pedic)
Sheppard Mullin (Los Angeles)
Lights Out for Resale Price and Dual Distribution Class Action* On December 2, 2010, the Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit affirmed a ruling of dismissal entered by the United States District for the Northern District of Georgia. Jacobs v. Tempur-Pedic Int.’l, Inc., No. 08-12720. Plaintiff (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority decides not to launch an in-depth investigation into a cartel-like joint-venture formed by three manufacturers in the school uniform market (Okulcu)
University of Sussex
This study analyses the decision of the Turkish Competition Authority (TCA) in which it has decided that a company formed by three manufacturers of school uniforms could not be regarded as a joint-venture, nor could it be given an individual exemption. Although the formation of the company was (...)

The Indian Competition Commission issues its first decision ruling that the collective decision of banks and housing finance companies to levy prepayment charges did not constitute a cartel (Neeraj Malhotra/Deustche Post Bank Home Finance)
TT&A
On 2 December 2010, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) delivered its first decision under the Competition Act, 2002. By a majority of 4:2, the CCI decided that the collective decision of banks/housing finance companies (“HFCs”) to levy prepayment charges did not constitute a cartel. In (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit affirms dismissal of price-fixing conspiracy claims in the mattress manufacturing industry for not meeting Twombly pleading requirements (Jacobs, Tempur-Pedic)
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
Consumers’ Price Fixing Claims Against Mattress Maker Did Not Meet Twombly Pleading Requirements* A decision from a divided U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta earlier this month continues the debate over the appropriate pleading standard for antitrust plaintiffs under Bell Atlantic Corp. v. (...)

The Croatian Competition Authority identifies a number of vertical restraints in the auto repair services agreements that could not be exempted under the national equivalent of the EC Regulation 1400/2002 (Kia Motors Adria Group)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 2 December 2010 the Croatian Competition Authority (AZTN) established the existence of anticompetitive provisions in the auto repair services agreements concluded by the exclusive importer of KIA automobiles in Croatia Kia Motors Adria Group d.o.o. (KMAG) with its authorized auto repairers. (...)

The Spanish Supreme Court halves an antitrust fine in the bakery sector to €150.000 (Bakeries Association of Valencia province)
CMS Albinana y Suarez de Lezo (Madrid)
In December 2010 the Spanish Supreme Court (“Tribunal Supremo”) confirmed that the bakeries Association of the Valencia province (“Federación Gremial de Panadería y Pastelería de la Provincia de Valencia”) had taken part in an anticompetitive collusive practice when it recommended minimum prices for (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Danish Competition Council finds that the national incumbent postal carrier has abused its dominant position through loyalty enhancing rebates (Post Danmark)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
On 22 December 2010, the Danish Competition Council («DCC«) adopted a decision finding that the Danish incumbent postal carrier, Post Danmark A/S («Post Danmark«) had abused its dominant position in the national market for magazine mail by (i) granting individual target rebates to four large (...)

The Danish Competition Council orders leading postal service company to stop providing individual rebates that lead to loyalty-binding as well as market foreclosure on the market for magazine mail (Post Danmark)
Kromann Reumert (Copenhagen)
The Danish Competition Council (DCC) has 22 December 2010 ordered Post Danmark to stop providing individual rebates that lead to loyalty-binding as well as market foreclosure on the market for magazine mail. This is the fourth time that Post Danmark has been under investigation by the Danish (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority finds no abuse of dominance in a situation of monopsony on the steel products market (Cost, Steron)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 22 December 2010 the Romanian Competition Authority (CC) completed its investigation into the possible abuse of dominance on the market for the cold drawn alloy steel bars manufactured by SC COST SA (COST). The CC’s investigation was prompted by a complained lodged by SC PCC STEROM SA (...)

The Italian Competition Authority accepts and enforces commitments offered by the main energy companies active in the Sicily electricity wholesale market (Enel, Tolling Edipower)
Ferrovie dello Stato (Rome)
Introduction With two resolutions adopted on 22 December 2010, the Italian Competition Authority («ICA») decided to close two parallel investigations opened on January 2010 on the conduct of major electricity producers active in the Sicily macro-area of the electricity wholesale market. ICA (...)

The Lisbon Court of Appeals acquits Portuguese telecommunications incumbent (PT Comunicações)
Luís Silva Morais & Associados
On the 22nd of December 2010 the Lisbon Court of Appeals (‘Tribunal da Relação de Lisboa’) has confirmed the previous judgement of the Lisbon Commercial Court that had acquitted PT Comunicações (hereinafter ‘PTC‘) - of the Portugal Telecom Group - from a fine of € 38 M levied by the Portuguese (...)

The Romanian Competition Council sanctions the postal incumbent with 26 M € fine for abuse of a dominant position (Romanian Post)
European Commission (Brussels)
* Article published in ECN Brief 01/2011. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Please note that the ECN is not the actual "author" of this case summary, but the mere source. As mentioned by the ECN : "The information provided by the ECN Brief is for (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority follows up previous commitments and decides not to take further action against French global specialist in energy management (Schneider)
European Commission (Brussels)
* Article published in ECN Brief 01/2011. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Please note that the ECN is not the actual "author" of this case summary, but the mere source. As mentioned by the ECN : "The information provided by the ECN Brief is for (...)

The Competition Council of the Republic of Lithuania imposes a fine on an oil refinery for abuse of dominance after conducting an additional investigation (Orlen Lietuva)
Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition (Munchen)
The Competition Council’s additional investigation of the actions of the oil refinery AB “Mažeikių Nafta” resulted in an infringement decision on 16 December 2010. The company was charged with the LTL 8 231 000 (approx. EUR 2 385 797) fine for an abuse of its dominant position in terms of a (...)

The Romanian Competition Council finds an abuse of dominance on the markets for delivery of addressed marketing materials and standard correspondence delivery (Romanian Post, Mailers Serv, Infopress)
Musat & Asociatii (Bucharest)
On 16 December 2010 the Competition Council issued Decision 52/2011 finding that the Romanian National Post Company (“CNPR”) was guilty of an abuse of dominant position through discriminatory practices towards entities that were economically dependent upon it. I. The facts A number of (...)

The Croatian Competition Authority finds no abuse of dominance in the royalty collecting mechanism applied by the national collecting society for copyrighted music (Croatian Composers’ Society)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 16 December 2010 the Croatian Competition Authority (AZTN) completed its investigation into the royalties collecting mechanism administered by the national collecting society for copyrighted music – the Croatian Composers’ Society (HDS-ZAMP) and found no abuse of dominant position alleged by (...)

The Brazilian Council for Economic Defense (CADE) holds that the exercise of an industrial property right could turn out to be illegitimate and be an antitrust violation (Volkswagen do Brasil Indústria de Veículos Automotivos)
Tauil & Chequer (in cooperation with Mayer Brown)
The author gives thanks to Mr. Bruno Droghetti Magalhães Santos and to Ms. Christine Holland, who gave support in research that was very useful to build this article. I. Background to the dispute The case refers to a Preliminary Investigation introduced by the Secretariat of Economic Law of (...)

The Italian Competition Authority opens an Art. 102 TFEU investigation against the incumbent national railway undertaking for refusal of granting track access to a new train operator (Arena Ways)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
By a decision taken on 15 December, the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) has opened an investigation into abusive conducts allegedly put into place by the incumbent national railway undertaking, the group Ferrovie dello Stato (FS). FS would have frustrated the entry into the market for rail (...)

The French Competition Auhtority issues an opinion concerning the dominant position of a search engine company in the market for online advertising (Google)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. The Autorité de la concurrence considers that Google holds a dominant position on the advertising market linked to search engines. It considers that competition law can apply limits to Google’s actions and (...)

The Luxembourg Competition Council releases a decision imposing remedies on an undertaking active on the cabled distribution market (Coditel)
Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH) (Luxembourg)
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Arendt & Medernach (Luxembourg)
On 10 December 2010, the Luxembourg Competition Council (“the Council”) has adopted the decision N°2010-FO-02 providing an assessment of the competition law situation on the TV cabled distribution market. Beside a previous decision where the President of the Council has imposed “interim measures” (...)

The Luxembourg Competition Council rules that an undertaking active in the tobacco industry did not enjoy a dominant position on the relevant market and was not subject to any specific duties as this would have been the case if it enjoyed such a position (Landewyck Group and Manufacture de Tabacs Heintz Van Landewyck)
Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH) (Luxembourg)
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Arendt & Medernach (Luxembourg)
On 10 December 2010, the Luxembourg Competition Council (“the Council”) has adopted the decision N°2010-FO-03 providing an assessment of the competition law situation on the tobacco products wholesale sales market. This decision, which does not sanction any undertakings active in this market, (...)

The Athens Administrative Court of Appeals upholds the concurrent application of Art. 102 TFEU and sector-specific regulation to practices of the incumbent operator in the local loop access market (Hellenic Telecommunications Organization)
Ofcom
Please note that the above mentioned date for this case is not the actual date of the decision but the date of the case summary as the decision itself does not mention the relevant date. The key reference is n° 560/2010 Background of the dispute The National Telecommunications Authority of (...)

Mergers

The French competition authority clears a merger in the urban and intercity passenger road transport sectors subject to remedies after an in-depth examination (Veolia Environnement / CDC)
Herbert Smith Freehills (Paris)
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In its decision dated 30 December 2010, the French competition authority (the «FCA») authorised, subject to certain commitments, the creation of a joint venture between Veolia Environnement(«Veolia») and the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (the «CDC») that will combine their respective transport (...)

The Italian Supreme Administrative Court sets aside a decision of the NCA imposing a fine for failure to comply with a decision prohibiting a merger (Tetra Pak)
European Commission (Brussels)
I. Introduction By judgment of 29 December 2010, the Consiglio di Stato (Italian Supreme Administrative Court, the «Court») set aside a decision of 29 July 2004 (the «Decision») by which the Italian Competition Authority (the «ICA») had imposed a fine on Tetra Pak International S.A. («Tetra Pak») (...)

The US FTC and the State of Minnesota appeal the district court’s decision on relevant market issue in a pharmaceutical merger case (Lundbeck)
Cleveland-Marshall School of Law
Some Reflections on the Lundbeck Appeal: Will Pharmaceuticals Get a Blanket Antitrust Immunity? And Is Quality Competition No Longer Protected by Antitrust?* A decision to watch for this year is the Eighth Circuit’s pending consideration of FTC v. Lundbeck, Inc., 2010-2 Trade Cases ¶77,160; 2010 (...)

The Düsseldorf Court of Appeals overturns a Bundeskartellamt merger prohibition addressing the issue of future potential competition’s test under German law (Neue Pressegesellschaft, Zeitungsverlag Schwäbisch Hall)
Heinz & Zagrosek (Köln)
Court raises question on the test for considering future potential competition under German merger control rules* The case concerns the question under which conditions the possible future creation of potential competition can be considered to strengthen a dominant position under German merger (...)

The Italian Competition Authority reviews the remedies regarding life insurance markets attached to the 2006 conditional clearance of a merger (Banca Intesa / Sanpaolo IMI merger)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
The Italian Competition Authority (ICA) has recently reviewed the remedies attached to the 2006 conditional authorization of the Banca Intesa/Sanpaolo IMI merger. The remedies addressed the competition problems the merger would have caused in life insurance markets. The ICA considered the (...)

The European Commission clears a merger in the telecommunications sector leaving open the debate on media plurality in the UK (News Corp/BSkyB)
Max Findlay Associates
Chaos theory* Naturally, we all want change to be orderly. This is particularly true when something goes wrong and someone official has to come in and sort it out. Take, for instance, the heat stabilisers cartel case. Earlier this month, the European Commission revoked the €101m fines it had (...)

State Aid

The European Court of Justice rules that Italy failed to recover unlawful aid and rebukes domestic courts for suspending such recovery (Italy/Commission)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 22 December 2010, the Court of Justice ruled that Italy had failed to recover State aid which had been declared unlawful by the Commission. In its Decision 2006/261, the Commission declared incompatible with the common market the State aid scheme set up by Italy in the form of tax (...)

The European Court of Justice rules that Italy failed to recover unlawful aid and rebukes domestic courts for suspending such recovery (Commission v. Italy)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 22 December 2010, the Court of Justice ruled that Italy had failed to recover State aid which had been declared unlawful by the Commission. In its Decision 2006/261, the Commission declared incompatible with the common market the State aid scheme set up by Italy in the form of tax (...)

The European Court of Justice endorses the “single economic unit” reasoning of the Commission in a decision concerning State aid intended to grant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (AceaElectrabel)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In a judgment of 16 December 2010, the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) dismissed an appeal brought by AceaElectrabel Produzione SpA (“AEP”) against a judgment of the General Court upholding a Commission decision concerning State aid that Italy intended to grant for the reduction of greenhouse gas (...)

The European Court of Justice upholds General Court’s and Commission’s views on illegality of German aid granted to ailing privately-owned company (Kahla Thüringen)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 16 December 2010, the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) rejected an appeal lodged by Kahla Thüringen Porzellan GmbH (“Kahla Thüringen”) against a judgment of the General Court which upheld a Commission decision ordering the recovery of illegal State aid granted to Kahla Thüringen. Between 1994 (...)

The European Commission authorises €15.5 M of regional investment aid for a German company for the production of solar modules in Germany (Sovello)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
,
Hogan Lovells (Madrid)
State Aid: Main developments between 1 September and 31 December 2010* On 14 December 2010 the Commission authorised € 15.5 million of regional investment aid for the German company Sovello AG for the production of solar modules in Bitterfeld Wolfen (Thalheim, Sachsen Anhalt), Germany. Sovello (...)

The European Commission approves State aid scheme notified by the Swedish authorities to support R&D project (Gothenburg Biofuels Gasification)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
,
Hogan Lovells (Madrid)
State Aid: Main developments between 1 September and 31 December 2010* On 14 December 2010 the Commission authorised the support that Sweden intends to grant to the Gothenburg Biofuels Gasification (GoBiGas) research and development (R&D) project to develop a pre commercial demonstration (...)

The European Commission adopts a negative decision concerning State aids granted by the French Ministry of Culture and orders their recovery (Centre d’Exportation du Livre Français)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
,
Hogan Lovells (Madrid)
State Aid: Main developments between 1 September and 31 December 2010* On 14 December 2010 the Commission adopted a negative decision with recovery on the Centre d’Exportation du Livre Français (CELF). The CELF case dates back to the beginning of the 90’s with the lodging of a complaint against (...)

The EU Ministers meeting within the Competitiveness Council adopts a new coal regulation enabling Member States to grant State aid to facilitate the closure of uncompetitive mines until 2018
Bird & Bird (Dusseldorf)
EU Competitveness Council Extends State Aid for Loss-making Coal Mines Until 2018* EU Ministers meeting within the Competitiveness Council on 10 December 2010 adopted a new coal regulation enabling Member States to grant State aid to facilitate the closure of uncompetitive mines until 2018, (...)

The European Commission adopts a communication on the application of State aid rules to support measures in favour of banks in the context of the financial crisis
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
,
Hogan Lovells (Madrid)
State Aid: Main developments between 1 September and 31 December 2010* Following a public consultation on the State aid temporary rules established in response to the economic and financial crisis, the Commission believes there are still grounds for considering that the requirements for the (...)

The European Commission extends the State aid temporary framework to support measures in favour of banks in the context of the financial crisis
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Prolongation of the State aid temporary framework* 1. Introduction - The State aid temporary framework The Commission adopted the State aid temporary framework in December 2008 as a response to the global financial crisis. At that time, and in view of the serious risk of a credit crunch, it (...)

Procedures

The European Court of Justice rules that Slovakia failed to recover unlawful aid but opens door for defenses based on the res judicata principle
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 22 December 2010, the Court of Justice ruled that the Slovak Republic had failed to take all measures necessary to recover unlawful aid granted to a former major alcohol producer, Frucona Kosice. The State aid at issue consisted in the writing-off of tax debts by the tax office as part of an (...)

The European Court of Justice declines jurisdiction to rule on preliminary reference from a national TV regulator (RTL Belgium)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 22 December 2010, the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) declined jurisdiction to answer a question for a preliminary ruling referred by the Licensing and Control Authority (Collège d’autorisation et de contrôle) of the Belgian French-speaking Broadcasting Authority (Conseil supérieur de (...)

The European Court of Human Rights rules against the French search and seizure procedure prior to the 2008 reform, including the transitional system (Canal +, Primagaz)
Vogel & Vogel
In two important judgments, the European Court of Human Rights has partially invalidated the search and seizures procedure implemented under Article L. 450-4 of the French Commercial Code. In both cases the companies Canal Plus (Groupe Canal Plus and Sport Plus) and Primagaz challenged the (...)

A UK Court of Appeal strikes out a firm’s claim to recover the amount of a fine imposed by the OFT for breach of the Competition Act 1998 from former directors and employees as a matter of public policy (Safeway Stores, Twigger and others)
Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
I. Introduction The Court of Appeal was unanimous in reversing the decision of the High Court of Justice, holding that the case brought by Safeway, the claimant company, against former employees and directors to recover a £10.7 million dollar fine imposed by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) for (...)

The European General Court upholds the European Commission’s 38 M € fine on energy operator for the breach of a seal during an inspection (E.ON)
European Commission (Brussels)
* Article published in ECN Brief 01/2011. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Please note that the ECN is not the actual "author" of this case summary, but the mere source. As mentioned by the ECN : "The information provided by the ECN Brief is for (...)

The EU General Court dismisses a leading low cost airline’s action for annulment of decisions rejecting access to documents (Ryanair)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 10 December 2010, the General Court rejected a series of claims for annulment brought by Ryanair against implied decisions of the Commission refusing access to documents relating to State aids allegedly granted to Ryanair by several airports. Ryanair sought mainly access to the complaints (...)

The ECJ Advocate General Mazák finds that NCAs have no competence to acquit companies of infringements (Tele2 Polska)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Practising Law Institute
On 7 December 2010, European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) Advocate General (“AG”) Jan Mazák published his opinion in Tele 2 Polska, advising the Court to rule that national competition authorities (“NCAs”) should not be entitled to declare certain practices compatible with Articles 101 or 102 of the (...)

The European Court of Justice rules on the right of national competition authorities to participate in appeals against their own decisions (VEBIC)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In a judgment of 7 December 2010, the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) adopted a preliminary ruling relating to the right of a national competition authority to participate in appeals before a judicial court against its own decisions. The preliminary questions were raised by the Brussels Court (...)

The Chinese State Council announces the revision of the provisions on administrative penalties for price violations
China Competition Bulletin (Beijing)
,
China Competition Bulletin (Beijing)
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Institute of American Studies
The State Council announced the revision of the Provisions on Administrative Penalties for Price Violations (Provisions) on 4 December 2010. Promulgated in accordance with China’s Price Law. The revised Provisions were effective on 29 November 2010. The revised Provisions contain 25 (...)

The Chinese State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) submits to the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council a revised draft of the unfair competition law to respond to the changing economy
AnJie Law (Beijing)
Revised Unfair Competition Law responds to changing economy* Introduction The Unfair Competition Law, which was enacted in 1993, has been described as the constitution of the market economy. However, China’s rapid social and economic development has given rise to new forms of unfair (...)

Regulatory

The European Commission adopts a proposal to adopt a regulation establishing technical requirements for credit transfers and direct debits in euros (SEPA)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
SEPA Direct Debit (SDD) at the crossroads of competition enforcement and regulation* 1. Introduction The Commission has recently adopted a proposal for a Regulation to promote the transition to SEPA credit transfer and direct debit schemes. The proposal includes a provision regarding the use (...)

The French Competition Authority issues the results of a sector inquiry into networks of retail distributors and makes policy recommendations
European Commission (Brussels)
France: The Autorité de la concurrence issues the Results of a Sector Inquiry into Networks of Retail Distributors and makes Policy Recommendations On 7 December 2010, the Autorité de la concurrence adopted the final report of its sector inquiry into networks of retail distributors. On 25 (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority releases its vision document on the payments market
European Commission (Brussels)
The Netherlands: Commission Authority’s 2010 Vision Document on the Payments Market On 2 December 2010, the Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) released its Vision Document on the Payments Market. Its purpose is to draw the attention of the payments market to the existence and importance of (...)

Public sector

The German Bundeskartellamt publishes joint guidelines with the German Federal Network Agency on the award of gas and electricity concessions and transfer of network use
European Commission (Brussels)
* Article published in ECN Brief 01/2010. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Please note that the ECN is not the actual "author" of this case summary, but the mere source. As mentioned by the ECN : "The information provided by the ECN Brief is for (...)

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