December 2014

Anticompetitive practices

The Polish competition authority fines two rail traffic control system suppliers for bid-rigging (Thales / Qumak)
Dentons (Warsaw)
Summary Following the year-long antitrust proceeding initiated in December 2013, the UOKiK Chairperson fined Thales Polska sp. z o.o. with its registered seat in Warsaw (“Thales”) and Qumak S.A. with its registered seat in Warsaw (“Qumak”), having found that these two companies had entered into an (...)

The Polish Competition Authority fines companies allegedly involved in bid-rigging practices concerning tenders in the rail sector (Kombud, KZA Lublin and Bombardier Transportation Polska)
WKB Wierciński Kwieciński Baehr (Warsaw)
In the decision no. DOK – 10/2014 of 30 December 2014, the Polish competition authority (Prezes Urzędu Ochrony Konkurencji i Konsumentów, the “PCA”) imposed a fine of almost PLN 7 million (ca. €1.68 million) on three companies involved in alleged bid-rigging practices during a tender for a contract (...)

The Hellenic Competition Commission imposes fines on one undertaking for implementing resale price maintenance practices and a restriction of cross-supplies between distributors/franchisees within its selective distribution network (Germanos)
Hellenic Competition Authority (Athens)
The HCC imposes fines on GERMANOS for infringing EU and national competition rules in relation to its franchise network* The HCC imposes fines on GERMANOS for infringing EU and national competition rules in relation to its franchise network Following an extensive investigation, the Hellenic (...)

The Netherlands Competition Authority imposes fines on three investment firms, for the first time, for forming a cartel (Investment firms cartel)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
ACM imposes fines on investment firms in cartel case* Investment firms that own businesses can be held accountable for violations of the Dutch Competition Act committed by those businesses, if the investment firms have decisive influence over them. This is one of the conclusions of a decision (...)

The Competition Commission of India initiates an investigation in relation to resale price maintenance in the e-commerce sector (Snapdeal)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
The CCI has in 2014 initiated two investigations into the alleged imposition of minimum resale price maintenance (RPM). The first one was against Hyundai Motor India Ltd (‘Hyundai Case’) and I had written on the legal standard adopted by the Competition Commission of India to initiate (...)

The Russian Competition Authority launches an investigation against companies suspected for bid-rigging (Sibagropromstroi)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
FAS initiated a case upon elements of bid-rigging at an auction for reconstructing an oncologic dispensary in the Krasnoyarsk region* On 25 December 2014, the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia) initiated a case against “Sibagropromstroi” CJSC and “Medkon” Ltd. upon elements of violating (...)

The Competition Commission of India fines a trade association for price fixing and collective boycott (Film Distributors Association of Kerala)
Vinod Dhall and Talwar Thakore & Associates
Film Distributor Trade Association fined for price fixing and collective boycott* In its last reported decisions of 2014, the Competition Commission of India (CCI), in two separate cases, fined the Film Distributors Association of Kerala (a state in India) 5% of its turnover (in each case) for (...)

The Croatian Competition Agency imposes fines on two undertakings for resale price maintenance (Kraš and NTL)
Croatian Competition Agency
CCA finds a prohibited vertical agreement between Kraš and NTL* The Croatian Competition Agency established in the course of the proceeding that the agreement between the undertakings Kraš and Narodni trgovački lanac (NTL), that was in force for almost four years, from October 2014 to July 2014, (...)

The Czech Office for the Protection of Competition imposes fines on two undertakings for bid-rigging in the medical equipment for hospitals market (Hospimed and Puro-Klima)
Czech Competition Authority
Puro-Klima and Hospimed coordinated their bids within public tenders for medical equipment* The Office for the Protection of Competition (hereinafter referred to as “the Office”) detected and sanctioned anticompetitive behavior conducted by undertakings HOSPIMED, spol. s.r.o. and PURO-KLIMA, a.s (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority holds that an agreement which has the object of restricting competition is unlawful whether or not it can succeed in achieving this object (Út-Garantor)
Kinstellar (Budapest)
On 19 December 2014 the Hungarian Competition Authority (“HCA”) adopted a decision condemning several undertakings for bid-rigging during a restricted tendering procedure. In its decision, the HCA rejected the defendants’ arguments that they could not have possibly restricted competition as they (...)

The Austrian Cartel Court imposes fines totalling € 17 468 091 on 30 companies active in the freight forwarding market for infringement of Art. 101 TFEU by agreeing on tariffs for domestic combined shipments (SSK)
European Commission
Cartel in the Freight Forwarding Market* On 19 December 2014 the Cartel Court imposed fines totalling € 17 468 091 on 30 companies active in the freight forwarding market for infringement of Article 101 TFEU by agreeing on tariffs for domestic combined shipments. A declaratory decision was (...)

The Italian Competition Authority decides that the commitments submitted in order to alleviate concerns in terms of an alleged infringement of Art. 101 TFEU should have been published (Arca / Novartis-Italfarmaco)
University of Bologna
The Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) decided that, according to Art. 14-ter of Italian Law 287/1990, the commitments that Novartis and Italfarmaco had submitted in order to alleviate concerns in terms of an alleged infringement of Art. 101 TFEU, should have been published, both in its (...)

The Slovak Antimonopoly Office imposes fines on several banks for having coordinated their activities in the area of providing financial services
Slovak Competition Authority
AMO SR fined the undertaking in banking sector* On December 19, 2014 the Division of Cartels issued a decision imposing a fine in the total amount of EUR 185 939 on the undertaking acting in banking sector in the Slovak Republic. The findings of the Office show that during the years of 2010, (...)

The French Competition Authority imposes heavy fines on several manufacturers of home and personal care products for having implemented concerted practices (Colgate-Palmolive, Henkel, Reckitt Benckiser)
French Competition Authority
The Autorité de la concurrence fines concerted practices between manufacturers a total of 345,2 € millions and 605,9 € millions on each market concerned* The Autorité de la concurrence issues today a decision whereby it fines home care and personal care manufacturers for having implemented (...)

The Russian Competition Authority concludes that several undertakings have concluded an anticompetition agreement in the electronic maintenance market (Vostok)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
FAS exposed a bid-rigging cartel at auctions for maintenance of М-54 “Yenisei” Highway* The Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia) found that “Vostok” Ltd., “Dorogi Sibiri” Ltd., “No.364 DEP” OJSC, “No.363 DEP” OJSC and an individual entrepreneur Oganesyan violated the Federal Law “On Protection of (...)

The German Federal Court of Justice upholds the judgement of the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf dismissing an administrative fine imposed for alleged participation in anti-competitive arrangements due to corporate restructuring (Maxit)
Hogan Lovells (Munich)
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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Berlin)
I. The Facts In 2009, the German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) imposed fines on several companies in the mortar sector (FCO, 24 March 2009, B 1-40/06-U 21). The companies were accused of having participated in anti-competitive agreements on set-up fees for dry mortar silos. Among the companies (...)

The Latvian Competition Council imposes fines on dealers and importer of cars for their participation to a cartel (Autocentrs, Moller Auto Krasta)
Competition Council of Latvia
The CC Fines Dealers of Volkswagen for 7.6 Million Euros* On 15 December, the Competition Council (CC) of Latvia imposed fines to official dealers and importer of Volkswagen cars in Latvia for taking part in a cartel. For at least five years undertakings systematically coordinated their (...)

The European Court of Justice refers a cartel case back to General Court for a ruling on the merits (Parker Hannifin)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 18 December 2014, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“ECJ”) handed down a judgment on an appeal by the European Commission against a judgment of the General Court (“GC”) that reduced the fine imposed on Parker ITR and Parker Hannifin Corp. for participating in the marine hose cartel. (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority’s Auditorate dismisses instruction regarding potential concerted practices in the energy sector regarding passing on practices of green certificates fine amounts (Green Certificates)
Altius (Brussels)
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Liège University - IEJE
I. The Parties Lampiris SA is a Belgian company which main activity consists in the supply of electricity and natural gas. EDF Luminus SA is a company which activity consist in the production of electricity, its gross commerce, and the supplyi of electricity and natural gas. The company is a (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority accepts the commitments of two water companies regarding the data used for the calculation of a contribution on water utility and closes the antitrust proceeding against them (Fővárosi Vízművek and Fővárosi Csatornázási Művek)
Hungarian Competition Authority (Budapest)
The proceedings against Fővárosi Vízművek Zrt. and Fővárosi Csatornázási Művek Zrt. have ended with the acceptance of commitments* The Hungarian Competition Authority (Gazdasági Versenyhivatal – GVH) accepted the commitments of Fővárosi Vízművek Zrt. (FVM) and Fővárosi Csatornázási Művek Zrt. (FCSM), (...)

The Italian Competition Authority closes proceedings against several ferry operators finding no evidence of a cartel in the market for maritime services in the Strait of Messina (Servizi di cabotaggio marittimo Stretto di Messina)
Legance - Studio Legale Associato
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Legance - Studio Legale Associato
Introduction On 11 December 2014, the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”) adopted a decision closing the investigation launched in June 2013 against several ferry operators active in the Strait of Messina for an alleged violation of Art. 101 TFEU - Caronte & Tourist S.p.A. (“C&T”), (...)

The Moscow Arbitration Court confirms that a group of undertakings has concluded an anticompetitive agreement and abused of their dominance (TGK Urissinaskaya GRES)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
Court confirmed FAS decision and recognized that “Volzhsk TGK”, “TGK-6” and “TGK Urissinaskaya GRES” were manipulators* On 11 December 2014, Moscow Arbitration Court supported the decision of the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia) on an antimonopoly case against “TGK Urissinaskaya GRES” CJSC (...)

The Czech Office for the Protection of Competition issues a revised second-instance decision on anticompetitive agreements on the export prohibition concerning the coal market and decreases the fine imposed (Sokolovská uhelná)
Czech Competition Authority
THE OFFICE REPEATEDLY SANCTIONED THE UNDERTAKING SOKOLOVSKÁ UHELNÁ FOR ANTICOMPETITIVE AGREEMENTS, THE FINE WAS DECREASED* The Chairman of the Office for the Protection of Competition (hereinafter referred to as “the Office”) Mr Petr Rafaj has issued a revised second-instance decision on (...)

The European Commission fines fives companies over € 19.4 million in cartel settlement for price coordination and customer allocation (Envelopes)
Constantine Cannon (London)
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King’s College (London)
European Commission Seeks To Stamp Out Envelope Cartel With Fines Totaling 19.48 Million Euros* The European Commission has announced that it has imposed fines totaling 19.48 million euros on five European envelope producers for coordinating prices and allocating customers through an (...)

The Russian Competition Authority imposes fines on crab cartel participants (Aquaresource-DV)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
FAS fined crab cartel participants 213 million RUB* On 10 December 2014, the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia) held crab cartel participants administratively liable. FAS imposed a turnover fine upon “Aquaresource-DV” Ltd. - 106.6 million RUB and “Taifun” Ltd. – 106.6 million RUB. On 19 (...)

The EU General Court confirms that the French Council of Pharmacists has infringed art. 101 TFEU but reduces the EC’s fine slightly (Ordre national des pharmaciens)
Stephenson Harwood (London)
Background Under French law, clinical biology analyses may only be carried out in dedicated laboratories under the supervision of a biological doctor or pharmacist. Biological pharmacists hold 95% of the cumulated share of that service market . The National Council of Pharmacists (“Ordre (...)

The Moscow Arbitration Court confirms that two banking companies have concluded an anticompetitive agreement (Bank PSA Finance RUS / Rusfinance Bank)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
Arbitration Court: obligations of “Rusfinance Bank” under the framework of cooperation with “Bank PSA Finance RUS” are anticompetitive* On 9 December 2014, Moscow Arbitration Court dismissed the claim of “Bank PSA Finance RUS” Ltd. to invalidate FAS decision on an antimonopoly case against “Bank PSA (...)

The Lithuanian Competition Council imposes fines on a food retailer and a frozen bakery producer for having implemented an anticompetitive agreement (Maxima and Mantinga)
Lithuanian Competition Authority (Vilnius)
ANTI-COMPETITIVE AGREEMENT BETWEEN MAXIMA LT AND UAB MANTINGA RESULTED IN HIGHER COSTS FOR CONSUMERS* Competition Council (the KT) disclosed an anti-competitive agreement between food retail chain MAXIMA LT, UAB (MAXIMA) and frozen bakery producer UAB Mantinga (Mantinga). The companies fixed (...)

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission grants first resale price maintenance authorisation to a power tools manufacturer (Tooltechnics)
Deakin University
On 5 December 2014 the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) granted its first authorisation in relation to resale price maintenance (RPM). RPM is per se prohibited in Australia. Although an authorisation (exemption) mechanism for RPM, determined on public benefits grounds, has (...)

The Moscow Arbitration Court rejects the fact that its press release has harmed to the business reputation of an undertaking (Argus-Spektr)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
Cassation Court confirmed that the business reputation of “Argus-Spektr” CJSC was not harmed* On 4 December 2014, Moscow Arbitration Court upheld the rulings of the lower Courts to dismiss the claim of “Argus-Spektr” CJSC to protect the company’s business reputation and recover 1 million RUB from (...)

The European Court of Justice decides that competition law does not apply to arrangements among freelance substitute orchestra musicians that aim at improving their working conditions if these musicians can be qualified as ‘workers’ (Kunsten Informatie en Media)
ClientEarth (Bruxelles)
Albany revisited: the Court directs NCA to carry a more social tune* In C-413/13 FNV Kunsten Informatie en Media, the Court decided that competition law does not apply to arrangements among freelance substitute orchestra musicians that aim to improving their working conditions. In so doing, (...)

The European Court of Justice provides further guidance on long-term exclusive purchase and non-compete obligations (Estación de Servicio Pozuelo v Galp Energía España)
Van Bael & Bellis
On 4 December 2014, the European Court of Justice (the “ECJ”) issued an order addressing two preliminary questions from the Spanish Supreme Court concerning an exclusive purchase obligation, which presumably prevented the party bound by the exclusivity from purchasing the products of competing (...)

A US Distrit Court holds that a designer wedding dress line does not constitute a relevant product market (House of Brides / Alfred Angelo)
Sheppard Mullin (Los Angeles)
Allegations That Designer Wedding Dress Line Constitutes A Relevant Product Market Found Implausible* Allegations that a highly specialized designer line of wedding dresses lacks reasonable substitutes fail to support allegations of Sherman Act violations for price fixing and group boycott (...)

The Romanian Competition Council sanctions a collective boycott aimed at the elimination of a competitor from the market (Brand Programming Network)
DLA Piper Dinu SCA (Bucharest)
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DLA Piper Dinu SCA (Bucharest)
Introduction The Romanian Competition Council ("RCC") published in January 2015 a decision ("RCC Decision") pursuant to an investigation concerning an alleged cartel on the market for media buying services ("RCC Investigation"). The RCC Investigation involved a significant number of companies (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority imposes fines on several driving schools for concerting on the prices of their trainings (ATI Autóközlekedési Tanintézet)
Hungarian Competition Authority (Budapest)
The driving schools in Győr have concerted the price of their trainings* According to the decision of the Hungarian Competition Authority (Gazdasági Versenyhivatal – GVH), the ATI Autóközlekedési Tanintézet Kft., "BILUX" Győr-Moson-Sopron Megyei Gépjárművezető Kft., HORVÁTH TANODA Oktató és (...)

The Russian Competition Authority is concerned about the price increasing in the construction sector (Gosstroismeta)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
FAS will look into pricing in the construction sector* On 2 December 2014, the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia) initiated a case against the Ministry of Regional Development of RF, Gosstroi [the Federal Agency for Construction and Housing-and-Utility Sector], “Federal Centre for (...)

The Italian Administrative Tribunal fines two pharmaceutical companies for colluding to create an artificial product differentiation in order to influence the prescriptions of doctors and health services in favor of the more expensive product (Roche, Novartis)
Stanford University - Stanford Law School
Italian court confirms hefty fines on Novartis and Roche* On 2 December 2014, Italy’s Tribunale Amministrativo Regionale del Lazio (“TAR Lazio”) handed down its ruling (only available in Italian) concerning the alleged anticompetitive agreement between Roche and Novartis in the market for (...)

The Italian Administrative Court upholds the condemnation of two pharmaceutical companies for breaching Article 101 TFEU with regard to the marketing (Roche, Novartis)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
By a recent judgment in the case Novartis-Roche/AGCM the Regional Administrative Court of Latium (the Court) has uphold on appeal the decision made by Italian Competition Authority (ICA) in the Roche/Novartis case. The ICA had imposed on Roche and Novartis a fine of Euro 180 million for an (...)

The Commissioner of Canadian Competition and Competition Commission of India sign Memorandum of Understanding
Canadian International Joint Commission
Introduction Today’s global economy makes international cooperation in the enforcement of competition laws essential. To this end on 1 December 2014 Canada’s Commissioner of Competition (“Commissioner”) and the Competition Commission of India (“CCI”) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) on (...)

The Moscow Arbitration Court confirms the decision of the Russian Competition Authority sanctioning a cartel on the market of wholesale supplies of table salt (Grocery)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
Arbitration Court supported FAS decision about a cartel on the market of wholesale supplies of table salt* Moscow Arbitration Court pronounced legitimacy of the decision of the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia) about a cartel on the market of wholesale supplies of table salt. On 1 (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Russian Competition Authority concludes that a state-run company has restricted the work of motorway service facilities (Russian Highways)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
FAS Russia: restricting the work of motorway service facilities is unacceptable* The Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia) found that “Russian Highways” state-run company (Avtodor) violated Article 15 of the Federal Law “On Protection of Competition” (restricting competition by the (...)

The Indian Competition Commission initiates investigations in relation to resale price maintenance in the e-commerce and automobile sectors (Jasper / KAFF, FX Enterprise / Hyundai)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
Competition Commission of India Initiates Investigation in relation to Resale Price Maintenance –impact on business operations* The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has recently launched investigations in relation to RPM in two sectors: the e-commerce sector (Jasper Infotech Private (...)

Louisiana’s Attorney General sues a pharmaceutical company for violating antitrust rules by filing baseless citizen petitions to the US Food and Drug Administration in order to delay the entry of a generic medicament in the market (GlaxoSmithKline)
DLA Piper Weiss-Tessbach (Vienna)
Louisiana’s Attorney General sues GlaxoSmithKline over delay of generic nasal spray* In December 2014 Louisiana’s attorney general (AG) filed a complaint against GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) alleging that GSK engaged in an anticompetitive scheme to delay the entry of a generic version of its Flonase (...)

The Moscow Arbitration Court confirms that a company has abused of its dominance in the market of mine rescue services (Mine Rescue Brigade)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
The Court confirmed legitimacy of FAS decision with regard to “Mine Rescue Brigade”* On 25 December 2014, Moscow Arbitration Court pronounced legitimacy of reasonableness of the decision of the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia) on the case against “Mine Rescue Brigade” Federal State (...)

The Italian competition authority fines a company for unfair commercial practices consisting of the publication of misleading information on the tourist facilities’ reviews (TripAdvisor)
Morgan Lewis (New York)
On 19 December 2014, with decision No. 25237 (“Decision”), the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”) held TripAdvisor LLC and its Italian subsidiary, TripAdvisor Italy S.r.l. (“TripAdvisor”), liable for unfair commercial practices consisting of the publication of misleading information on the tourist (...)

The Court of Almaty finds legal the decisions of Kazakhstan Antimonopoly Agency against a cellular operator based on its abuse of dominance in the market (JSC Kcell)
Center for Development and Protection of Competition Policy
Facts JSC KCELL is registered with the State Register of dominants/mpnopolists, within the geographic boundaries of the Republic of Kazakhstan by «cellular services» type of activity in the aggregate proportion of over 50% with «KaR-Tel» LLP. The Agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan for (...)

The Moscow Arbitration Court confirms that a distributor has abused of its dominance by creating discriminatory conditions in determining the costs of goods advertising services (ATAK)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
Cassation Court confirmed that creating discriminatory conditions for advertising goods in the “ATAK” stores are unlawful* On 18 December 2014, the Arbitration Court of the Moscow District supported the arguments put forward by the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia) against “ATAK” Ltd. (...)

The Russian Competition Authority sends a warning to a pharmaceutical company suspected to abuse of its dominance (Roche)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
FAS issued a warning to “Roche Diagnostics Rus”* On 17 December 2014, the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia) issued a warning to “Roche Diagnostics Rus” Ltd. to stop actions that have elements of violating the antimonopoly law. FAS sees signs that “Roche Diagnostics Rus” Ltd. unreasonably (...)

The Bulgarian Competition Authority rules on parallel trade of pharmaceuticals products and its limitations (Sopharma)
Tsvetkova Bebov Komarevski (Sofia)
Restrictions of Parallel Trade in Pharmaceuticals – Carte Blanche from the Bulgarian Competition Authority?* The Bulgarian Competition Protection Commission (“CPC” or “Commission”) has recently issued an important decision regarding the parallel trade of pharmaceuticals and the possibilities for (...)

The French Competition Authority and the UK Competition and Markets Authority publish their joint report on digital ecosystems
French Competition Authority
The French Autorité de la Concurrence and the UK Competition and Markets Authority have produced a joint report on ecosystems and their effects on competition.* The digital economy gives consumers and firms increased access to products, services, and information. These different products and (...)

The Russian Competition Authority fines a pharmaceutical company for refusal to supply insulin (Novo Nordisk)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
FAS imposed a turnover fine upon “Novo Nordisk” for refusal to supply insulin* On 15 December 2014, the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia) found that “Novo Nordisk” Ltd. committed an administrative offence and imposed a fine for over $ 30 million RUB. “Novo Nordisk” Ltd. violated the law by (...)

The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority intervenes in the municipal waste management company’s competition compromising practice (Pirkanmaan Jätehuolto)
Merilampi Attorneys
The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) issued a decision on 16th December 2014 concerning abuse of dominant position and competition neutrality. It is noteworthy that this is only the second time that the FCCA has issued a decision concerning competition neutrality. Pirkanmaan (...)

The French Competition Authority receives commitments from an online hotel booking company aiming at ending practices likely to constitute an abuse of dominance (Booking.com)
French Competition Authority
Online hotel booking sector* Booking.com has proposed to the Autorité de la concurrence to remove the so-called “pricing parity clause” obliging hotels to grant it pricing conditions that are at least as favorable as those granted to the other online platforms Hotels can now place booking.com in (...)

The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority intervenes to stop competition-jeopardising pricing practices of a municipal waste management company and decides not to investigate the matter further after pricing changes (Pirkanmaan Jätehuolto Oy)
University of Helsinki
The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority has issued a decision not to investigate a case further after exploring the possibility of requiring a municipal cooperative waste management company, Pirkanmaan Jätehuolto Oy, (PJ) to change its pricing policy as to its treatment of public (and (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority initiates fines proceedings against a manufacturer of wet tobacco for abusing its dominant position (Swedish Match)
European Commission
SCA Initiates Fines Proceedings against Swedish Match for Abusing its Dominant Position* On 9 December 2014 the Swedish Competition Authority (SCA) filed proceedings before the Stockholm District Court (the Court) against Swedish Match North Europe AB (Swedish Match), a manufacturer of wet (...)

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission grants for the first time a conditional authorisation to engage in resale price maintenance (Tooltechnic Systems)
RBB Economics (London)
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RBB Economics (Melbourne)
Refining its Tool Kit – The ACCC’s decision to authorise RPM in the Tooltechnic case* In December 2014 Australia’s Competition and Consumer Commission (“the ACCC”) granted conditional authorisation to Tooltechnic Systems (Australia) Pty Ltd (“Tooltechnic”) to engage in minimum resale price (...)

A US District Court allows “product hopping” claims to proceed based on allegations of removal of prior formulation and disparagement of generic competition (Suboxone)
Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler
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Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler
Court Allows “Product Hopping” Claims to Proceed in Suboxone Litigation Based on Allegations of Removal of Prior Formulation and Disparagement of Generic Competition* We’ve previously discussed antitrust claims related to “product hopping”—allegations that pharmaceutical manufacturers have (...)

Mergers

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce implements its new provisions on imposing additional restrictive conditions on concentrations of business operators
King & Wood Mallesons (New York)
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King & Wood Mallesons (Beijing)
Developments to the Merger Control Regime in China: MOFCOM’s Provisions on Imposing Additional Restrictive Conditions on Concentrations of Business Operators (for Trial Implementation)* With the collaboration of Al Wu, Sarah Eder and Lingbo Wei. On 4 December 2014, the Provisions of the (...)

The Danish Competition and Consumer Authority holds that companies have pre-implemented a merger under scrutiny, leading to the first case of gun jumping (KPMG / EY)
Gorrissen Federspiel (Copenhagen)
First case on gun jumping in Denmark* By terminating the agreement with KPMG International on the day of signing an agreement to join EY, KPMG Denmark pre-implemented the merger between KPMG Denmark and EY that the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (DCCA) ruled in December 2014. It is (...)

The Stockholm District Court blocks an already completed merger for the first time (Swedbank Franchise / Svensk Fastighetsförmedling)
Vinge (Stockholm)
Historic court victory for Swedish Competition Authority* Stockholm District Court blocks the already completed takeover by Swedbank Franchise of Svensk Fastighetsförmedling Sweden’s first court judgment blocking a merger is a major victory for the Swedish Competition Authority. The court’s (...)

The European Commission approves the acquisition of a cement producer by its competitor, subject to conditions (Holcim / Lafarge)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Holcim / Lafarge: paving the way to first phase clearance"* In the Holcim/Lafarge case, the Commission gave green light to the creation of a global player in the building materials industry. In order to obtain clearance, the Parties offered to divest a package of assets of an (...)

The US DOJ approves a merger in the vehicle air springs market under conditions in order to resolve a vertical antitrust concern (Continental / Veyance Technologies)
Doyle, Barlow & Mazard
DOJ’s Approval of Continental AG’s Acquisition of Veyance Requires Remedy of a Vertical Concern* On December 11, 2015, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) approved Continental AG’s $1.8 billion acquisition of Veyance Technologies with conditions. The settlement agreements requires Continental to (...)

The Chinese MOFCOM publishes details of three administrative penalties imposed for breaches of the merger control rules
Simmons & Simmons
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Simmons & Simmons
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Simmons & Simmons
Welcome guidance provided on MOFCOM’s fining practices with the publication for the first time of penalties imposed for breaches of the merger control rules. On 08 December of 2014, the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China (MOFCOM) published on its website details of three (...)

The Competition Council of Lithuania clears an acquisition subject to diversture on the alcoholic beverage market (Alita / Mineraliniai Vandenys)
Sorainen (Vilnius)
On December 5, 2014 Competition Council of the Republic of Lithuania (LCC) gave the green light for the concentration in the Lithuanian beverage market. One of the largest manufacturers of alcoholic beverage and the leading wholesaler of alcohol, tobacco and other consumer goods in Lithuania (...)

The Competition Commission of India directs for the first time a divestiture of assets in a merger case (Sun-Ranbaxy)
Economic Laws Practice
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Economic Laws Practice
Introduction The Competition Commission of India (“CCI”) for the first time has directed divestitures of assets, before granting its final approval, in a combination relating to merger of Ranbaxy Laboratories Limited (“Ranbaxy”) into Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Limited (“Sun Pharma”) (referred (...)

The Japan Fair Trade Commission opens in-depth investigation on a merger in the market of manufacturing and selling paper and pulp products and launches a market inquiry (Chuetsu Pulp & Paper / Oji Holdings)
Japan Fair Trade Commission (Tokyo)
The JFTC Opens Secondary Review Concerning the Proposed Acquisition of Shares of Chuetsu Pulp & Paper Co., Ltd. by Oji Holdings Corporation and Solicits Comments from Third Parties* The Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) received the notification pursuant to the provision of the (...)

The Chinese MOFCOM publishes penalty decisions regarding merger control for the first time (Unigroup / RDA Microelectronics; Western Digital / Hitachi)
AnJie Law (Beijing)
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AnJie Law (Beijing)
MOFCOM Steps Up: Penalty Decisions Regarding Merger Control Published for the First Time* Two months after the National Development and Reform Commission (“NDRC”) published its last high-profile anti-monopoly penalty decisions (e.g.Japanese Auto Parts and Bearing Manufacturers case, Audi and (...)

The Hellenic Competition Commission clears a merger subject to remedies in the market for chocolate milk and in the market for the procurement of raw milk (Delta / Mevgal)
Hellenic Competition Authority (Athens)
Clearance of the proposed acquisition by DELTA of MEVGAL, subject to conditions and obligations* HELLENIC REPUBLIC COMPETITION COMMISSION Athens, 1 December 2014, PRESS RELEASE Clearance of the proposed acquisition by the DELTA of MEVGAL, subject to conditions and obligations. The Hellenic (...)

State Aid

The European Commission explains that public funding does not have to satisfy the very strict Altmark criteria in order to be authorised if it complies with the relevant regulation or guidelines (Stretto airport)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Failure to Satisfy Ex Post the Altmark Criteria, but Compliance with the 2014 Aviation Guidelines* Public service obligations must be entrusted by an official act and defined with sufficient precision. Imprecise definition of public service obligations makes it impossible to identify the costs (...)

The European Commission holds that services provided by a public authority in the exercise of its public duties are not economic in nature, even if market operators offer similar services (TenderNed)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Electronic procurement in the Netherlands* Services provided by a public authority in the exercise of its public duties are not economic in nature, even if market operators offer similar services. The decision analyse in depth the presence or not of economic activity and also respond to (...)

The European Commission clears a privatisation in the baking sector through a division of assets (Catalunya Banc)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Privatisation by Splitting the Assets* The sale of a public undertaking [privatisation] needs to be preceded by independent valuation and be carried out on the basis of a competitive procedure. Certain guarantees may be provided to prospective buyers, if they could increase the sale price. The (...)

The European Commission explains that a private investor may consider a possible damage of its reputation from laying off workers but the damage has to be quantified (SNCM)
College of Europe (Bruges)
ii) SNCM* In 8 July 2008, the Commission took the view that certain measures in favour of Société Nationale Maritime Corse-Méditerranée [SNCM] did not constitute State aid and certain other aid measures were compatible with the internal market. The 2008 decision was partially annulled in September (...)

The General Court of the EU holds that a tax measure that applies to certain transactions is not selective if it does not preclude any company or type of asset (Netherlands Maritime Technology Association)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Tax Measures with Specific Objectives Can still Be General* A tax measure that applies to certain transactions is not selective if it does not preclude any company or type of asset. Conditions for the application of a tax measure may be justified by the logic of the tax system. The Commission (...)

The EU General Court holds that environmental harm does not make State aid incomaptible with the internal market (Castelnou Energía)
College of Europe (Bruges)
i) Energy security and public service obligations* On 3 December 2014, the General Court ruled on case T-57/11, Castelnou Energia v Commission.[1] Castelnou Energia [CE] appealed against Commission decision N 178/2010 concerning public service compensation granted by Spain to generators of (...)

Procedures

The Russian Competition Authority warns a director of manufacturing company of teas and coffees for having publicly forecasted an increase of coffee and tea prices (Rusteacoffee)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
“Rusteacoffee” General Director is warned by FAS for publically forecasting a growth of coffee and tea prices* The Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia) issued a warning to Ramaz Chanturia, the General Director of “Rusteacoffee” Russian Association of Tea and Coffee Producers” Non-Profit (...)

The EU General Court extends the EU Commission discretion when rejecting complaints (Si.mobil)
Gibson Dunn (Brussels)
,
Gibson Dunn (Brussels)
Si.mobil v European Commission (T-201/11) – ‎Undermining the Effectiveness of EU Competition law?* According to the Automec case-law (paras. 73 ff), the European Commission has discretion as to how it deals with complaints. That said, the Court of Justice of the European Union has clearly (...)

The French Competition Authority and the UK Competition and Markets Authority adopts joint report on ecosystems in digital economy and their effects on competition
European Commission
Competition Authorities Produce Joint Report on Ecosystems in Digital Economy and their Effects on Competition* The report, which was adopted on 16 December 2014 by the Autorité de la concurrence and the Competition and Markets Authority, looks at the effects of ’open’ and ’closed’ ecosystems and (...)

The Spanish Supreme Court annuls inspections in a professional association on grounds of insufficient reasons for the inspection decision (UNESA)
Cuatrecasas, Goncalves Pereira (Barcelone)
,
Cuatrecasas, Goncalves Pereira (Barcelone)
On December 10, 2014, the Spanish Supreme Court issued judgment number 4201/2011, allowing the appeal that the Asociación Española de la Industria Eléctrica (“UNESA”) filed against the judgment of the Audiencia Nacional (Spanish Court of Appeal, “AN”) of June 2, 2011. The AN’s judgment had dismissed (...)

The Belgian Constitutional Court confirms the legality of a separate appeal procedure against investigative measures of the Competition Authority (Ordre des barreaux francophones et germanophone)
Simmons & Simmons (Brussels)
,
Simmons & Simmons (Brussels)
In brief In a judgment of 10 December 2014 the Constitutional Court confirmed the legality of a separate appeal procedure against investigative measures of the Belgian Competition Authority. The Constitutional Court ruled that the appeal procedure, which is only available following the (...)

The EU Commission publishes its 5th patent monitoring report
General Court of the European Union
,
White & Case (Brussels)
,
White & Case (London)
DG Competition of the European Commission just published its 5th patent monitoring report. It covers patent settlements entered into in 2013. Each year, the Commission claims that the report shows a “steady increase” of patent settlements in general, which supposedly would prove that the (...)

The cooperation agreement between the European Union and Switzerland concerning the application of their competition laws is in force since the 1st of December 2014
Kobel Attorney
NB: This article will be published in Concurrences N° 2-2014, Case comments: International Policy The Agreement between the European Union and Switzerland concerning cooperation on the application of their competition laws came into force on December 1, 2014 (hereafter “Cooperation Agreement” (...)

The European Union and Switzerland conclude an agreement to structure and facilitate the cooperation between competition authorities
European Commission
Swiss Cooperation Agreement on Competition Enforcement Enters into Force* On 29 September 2014, the Cartel Division of the Antimonopoly Office (AMO) initiated administrative proceedings against three undertakings for their suspected participation in a cartel agreement relating to public (...)

Regulatory

The French Competition Authority issues its opinion concerning a draft decree relating to the activity of taxis and chauffeur driven cars
French Competition Authority
The Autorité de la concurrence has published the opinion it provided to the Government on the decree, adopted last December 30, regulating the activity of CDC and taxis.* In brief The Autorité de la concurrence has published its opinion that it submitted to the Government on 9 December (...)

The German Competition Authority issues its monitoring report on developments in the German electricity and gas markets
German Competition Authority
Monitoring Report 2014 of the Bundesnetzagentur and the Bundeskartellamt* The Bundesnetzagentur and the Bundeskartellamt today published their joint Monitoring Report on key developments in the German electricity and gas markets in 2013. With this report, the Bundesnetzagentur and the (...)

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