July 2014

Anticompetitive practices

The Latvian Competition Council imposes fines on two undertakings for bid rigging in local public tender proceedings (Sliežu transportbūve / Komforta standarts)
Competition Council of Latvia
The Competition Council fines Two Construction Project Developers* On 31 July, the Competition Council (CC) of Latvia took a decision to fine two construction project developers – SIA „Sliežu transportbūve” and SIA „Komforta standarts” – for bid rigging. Both undertakings exchanged business data while (...)

The Italian Regional Administrative Court of First Instance confirms the Italian Competition Authority’s decision concerning an anticompetitive agreement between Milanese notaries (Consiglio Notarile di Milano)
Lipani Catricalà & Partners (Rome)
1. Premise – This work is part of a project (hereinafter, the “Project”) aimed at offering a quarterly overview of all the decisions of Italian administrative courts, which involve the Italian Competition Authority (Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato, hereinafter the “ICA”). (...)

The Moscow Arbitration Appeal Court confirms the fines inflicted by the Russian Competition Authority on two undertakings having implemented an anticompetitive agreement (URALSIB / Volkswagen Bank RUS)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
Appeal Court agreed that “URALSIB” and “Volkswagen Bank RUS” should pay the imposed fine for an anticompetitive agreement* On 29th July 2014, the 9th Arbitration Appeal Court upheld the judgment of Moscow Arbitration Court on legitimacy of the decision and determination on the case against (...)

The US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania holds that a firm which has engaged in fraud on the patent office cannot stand on its patent to defend reverse payment antitrust claims (Cephalon)
Sheppard Mullin (San Francisco)
,
Paul Hastings (Washington)
Last year in a landmark decision, the Supreme Court ruled that pharmaceutical “reverse payment” settlements in Hatch-Waxman Act “Paragraph 4” patent litigation are subject to challenge, departing from the rule that most Circuits had adopted. FTC v. Actavis, 133 S.Ct. 2223 (2013). In these cases, (...)

The Division of Cartels of the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic imposes fines on four undertakings in the market of construction works
Slovak Competition Authority
CARTELS: Fine for construction companies for cartel in public procurement* On 28 July 2014 the Division of Cartels issued decision imposing a fine totaling 613 644 EUR on four undertakings acting in the market of construction works in the Slovak Republic for concluding cartel agreement showing (...)

The US FTC settles charges of invitation to collude of two UPC resellers (InstantUPCCOdes.com, 680 Digital, Nationwide Barcode)
Sheppard Mullin (New York)
Two UPC Resellers Settle FTC Invitation to Collude Investigation* On July 28, 2014, the Federal Trade Commission accepted, subject to final approval, settlements with InstantUPCCodes.com (“Instant”) and Nationwide Barcode (“Nationwide”), two of the leading barcode resellers, and their principals, (...)

The US Sentencing Commission looks at changing Guidelines in antitrust
Compliance Systems Legal Group
The US Sentencing Commission in a public notice has indicated it may make reform of the guidelines for antitrust crimes a priority this year, 79 Fed. Reg. 31409 (June 2, 2014). I believe the Commission should take action to affirm the importance of antitrust compliance programs as an essential (...)

The Australian Competition and Consumer Authority proposes to grant authorisation to owner drivers to collectively bargain with major supplier of chain logistics (Toll / Transport Workers’ Union of Australia)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
ACCC proposes to grant authorisation to owner drivers to collectively bargain with Toll* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued a draft determination proposing to grant authorisation to owner driver members of the Transport Workers’ Union in Queensland to engage in (...)

The US FTC settles charges of two Internet resellers of UPC barcodes used by retailers for violation of the FTC Act by inviting competitors to collude to raise prices for barcodes sold over the Internet (680 Digital)
Steve Szentesi Law Corporation
Scanner Emergency in Aisle Five: US FTC Settles Bar Code Seller Invitation to Collude Case* In an interesting case that caught my eye yesterday and today, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has proposed a settlement in a case involving allegations that an online bar code re-seller engaged (...)

The Court of Justice of the European Union answers a request for a preliminary ruling about use trademarks to prevent the importation of spare parts (Honda)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 17 July 2014, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“ECJ”) answered a request for a preliminary ruling from a Greek Court (Monomeles Protodikeio Athinon) inquiring as to whether the use by Honda Giken Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha (“Honda”) of its trademarks to prevent the importation of Honda (...)

The US FTC discusses the impact of licensure on occupations from nursing to accounting and describes how it evaluates the potential competitive effects of regulating professions
Steve Szentesi Law Corporation
Why Is a Cartel Not a Cartel When at the Hands of Regulators?: The FTC’s Recent Licensing Note* In Canada, the United States and many other open western and eastern economies we fortunately live in free markets. That is to say companies in any sector can enter, devise a new product (or improve (...)

US District Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia rules that participating in a standard-setting body or being a member of a trade association is insufficient to state an antitrust conspiracy claim (SD3 / Black & Decker)
Sheppard Mullin (Los Angeles)
SD3 v. Black & Decker (U.S.), Inc. – District Judge Axes Complaint Alleging Table Saw Safety Standards Conspiracy* The pen may be mightier than the sword, but not necessarily mightier than the table saw. On July 15, 2014, in SD3 v. Black & Decker (U.S.), Inc., Case No. 1:14-cv-191 (E.D. (...)

The German Competition Authority imposes fines of € 338 million on 21 sausage manufacturers as well as 33 individuals involved in concluding illegal price-fixing agreements (Bell Deutschland)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt imposes fines on sausage manufacturers* The Bundeskartellamt has imposed fines totalling approx. 338 million euros on 21 sausage manufacturers as well as 33 individuals involved for concluding illegal price-fixing agreements. The following companies participated in the (...)

The Russian Competition Authority confirms the payment of the fine inflicted to an insurance company having implemented an anticompetitive agreement (VSK)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
An insurance company transferred over 4 million RUB of unlawfully gained income to the budget* The Office of the Federal Antimonopoly Service in the Tver region (Tver OFAS Russia) received a confirmation from “VSK” Insurance OJSC on executing a determination on the case on an unlawful agreement (...)

A Kazakh specialised economic court doesn’t find documental evidence of an anticompetitive concerted practice in the banking services market (Nurbank, Alliance Bank, Kazpost)
Center for Development and Protection of Competition Policy
Facts Based on the Orders of the Antimonopoly Agency dated 26.08.2013 №68-ОД and 04.09.2013 №46-ОД, an investigation was conducted against JSC “Nurbank”, JSC “Alliance Bank” and JSC “Kazpost”, according to the results of which it awarded a decision dated 23.12.2013, as it is seen from the content of the (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority brings proceedings against companies in the removal business for non-compete agreements (Alfa Quality Moving / NFB Transport Systems / ICM Kungsholms)
Swedish Competition Authority (Stockholm)
The Swedish Competition Authority brings action against companies in the removal business for anticompetitive agreements* The Swedish Competition Authority has petitioned that three companies in the removal business are sentenced to pay a total of SEK 42 million in fines since they have agreed (...)

The Danish Public Prosecutor settles charges on a violation of cartel law by allocation of costs and bid rigging in the construction industry (Hansen & Søn)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Denmark: ”Construction company pays fine in settlement for bid rigging – first case closed in construction industry cartel”* On 14 July 2014, the company N.H. Hansen & Søn (a Danish construction company) entered into a settlement with the Danish Public Prosecutor for Serious Economic and (...)

The European Court of Justice annuls the Commission’s decision regarding the liability of a parent for the infringement of competition law by its subsidiary and by a partially owned joint venture (RWE)
Altius (Brussels)
,
Liège University - IEJE
I. The Parties RWE AG is part of the RWE group with its main activities in the energy supply sector (gas exploration, electricity production, trading, and retail and grid activities). Regarding the activities in the paraffin waxes, RWE group is not currently active on this market due to the (...)

The EU General Court considers whether a presumption providing for the liability of parent companies constitute an error of law and whether an incorrect legal standard is applied by the Commission (Sasol and Others)
King’s College (London)
On July 11, 2014 in Sasol and Others v European Commission , the General Court considered whether a presumption providing for the liability of parent companies due to the anti-competitive conduct of their subsidiary constituted an error of law and whether an incorrect legal standard had been (...)

The EU General Court reduces fines for three groups in candle wax cartel case (Sasol, Esso, ExxonMobil and RWE)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 11 July 2014, the General Court (“GC”) handed down three judgments reducing the fines imposed by the Commission’s decision of 1 October 2008 in the candle wax cartel case following appeals lodged by Sasol, Esso France and ExxonMobil, and RWE AG. On 1 October 2008, the Commission imposed fines (...)

The Russian Competition Authority issues a warning to an undertaking having violated the antimonopoly law (Sakhalin Energy)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
“Sakhalin Energy” was issued an admonition* On 10th July 2014, the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia) issued an admonition to “Sakhalin Energy Investment Company Ltd.” (“Sakhalin Energy”) to stop actions that have signs of violating the antimonopoly law. The company avoided concluding a (...)

The US Court of Appeal for the 9th Circuit gives the antitrust division another victory in a cartel case and provides further guidance on the FTAIA (AU Optronics)
Paul Hastings (San Francisco)
,
Paul Hastings (Washington)
Overview In a victory for the U.S. government, the Ninth Circuit last Thursday affirmed criminal price-fixing convictions of AU Optronics, Inc. (“AUO”), a Taiwanese-based company, and two of its senior executives arising from alleged price-fixing of LCD panels. The decision, and underlying (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority fines association in market for transport of freight by road in port of Alicante for price fixing (Astraco)
European Commission (Brussels)
Spain: The Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia fines Association in Market for Transport of Freight by Road in Port of Alicante* On 10 July 2014, the Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia (CNMC) adopted a decision in which it found that ASTRACO (Asociación Provincial (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit holds that import trade automatically falls within the scope of the Sherman Act and is not excluded by the FTAIA and that, under the Alternative Fine Statute, “gross gain” means gains by all participants in a conspiracy (AU Optronics)
Weil, Gotshal & Manges (New York)
Ninth Circuit Weighs in on FTAIA and Alternative Fine Statute* The Ninth Circuit recently affirmed a $500 million fine for AU Optronics (“AUO”) in the long-running liquid crystal display panel cartel case, and clarified its interpretation of the Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act (...)

The Danish Public Prosecutor settles charges on a violation of cartel law by imposing of resale price maintenance, prevention of parallel imports and passive sales (Witt Hvidevarer)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Press Release published on the official website of the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority. Denmark: ”Distributor of white goods pays fine in settlement for resale price maintenance and prevention of parallel imports and passive sales”* On 10 July, 2014, the company Witt Hvidevarer (a (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit affirms a $500 million fine against a Taiwanese electronics manufacturer for conspiring to fix prices of thin-film transistor-liquid crystal display (AU Optronics)
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
Convictions, $500 Million Fine Upheld in Price Fixing Case Against AU Optronics; Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act No Bar* The U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco last week upheld the price fixing convictions of Taiwanese electronics manufacturer AU Optronics (AUO), its U.S. (...)

The Italian Competition Authority closes a case of alleged resale price maintenance with a commitment decision (Enervit - Distribution contracts)
Bonelli Erede Pappalardo (Rome)
With its decision of 20 November 2013, the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA” or “Authority”) initiated an investigation against Enervit S.p.A., a company active in the production and distribution of sport and diet food products (“Enervit” or the “Company”) , to verify if, in the vertical relations (...)

The Danish Public Prosecutor settles charges of of resale price maintenance to some of the company’s dealers and the prevention of parallel imports and passive sales (Witt Hvidevarer)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Denmark: ”Distributor of white goods pays fine in settlement for resale price maintenance and prevention of parallel imports and passive sales”* On 10 July, 2014, the company Witt Hvidevarer (a Danish distributor of white goods) entered into a settlement with the Danish Public Prosecutor for (...)

The EU Commission imposes a fine of € 427.7 million on a French pharma manufacturer and five generic companies as regards pay-for-delay settlements impeding price competition on the market for blood pressure medicines (Servier)
University of East Anglia - CCP (Norwich)
Article published on Centre for Competition Policy blog. The EU Commission Decision against Servier – a New Dimension to European Pharmaceutical Antitrust?* On 9 July 2014 the European Commission announced its decision to impose a fine of €427.7 million on French drug maker Servier and five (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority imposes fines on eight ready-mix concrete manufacturers in Budapest and on the Hungarian Concrete Association for engaging in a price fixing agreement (Betonpartner)
Hungarian Competition Authority (Budapest)
2.7 billion fine on several ready-mix concrete manufacturers in Budapest* The Gazdasági Versenyhivatal (GVH – the Hungarian Competition Authority) in its decision on 30 June 2014 imposed a total fine of 2 790 200 000 HUF (9 300 000 EUR) on eight ready-mix concrete manufacturers in Budapest and (...)

The German Competition Authority imposes a fine of 1.89 million euros for an anti-competitive customer allocation agreement concerning services provided for heating surfaces of regenerative heat exchangers used in power plants (Alstom Power Energy Recovery)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt imposes fine on account of customer allocation agreement concerning services provided for heat exchangers used in power plants* The Bundeskartellamt has imposed a fine of 1.89 million euros on Alstom Power Energy Recovery GmbH on account of an anti-competitive customer (...)

The South African Competition Commission conducts dawn raids at the offices of undertakings competing on the markets for panel beating, spray painting and towing of vehicles (Precision / Eldan / VAAC)
Nortons Incorporated
Auto-Body Repair Centres raided by SACC* Earlier on 4 July 2014, the South African Competition Commission (“Commission”) has conducted dawn raids at the offices of Precision and Sons (“Precision”), Eldan Auto Body (“Eldan”) in Pretoria West, as well as the Vehicle Accident Assessment Centre (“VAAC”) (...)

The US FTC approves two final orders settling charges that ski equipment manufacturers for many years illegally agreed not to compete for one another’s ski endorsers or employees (Marker Völkl / Tecnica Group)
Bona Law (San Diego)
The FTC Orders Ski-Equipment Companies to Start Competing Again* Sometimes competition is a real hassle. If your company has a loyal customer or longtime employee, you feel betrayed when a competitor swoops in to try to “steal them.” If you are the Miami Heat, you probably don’t like that the (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority initiates a competition supervision proceeding following its unannounced inspection held at the seats of two realtors (Duna House / Otthon Centrum Franchising)
Hungarian Competition Authority (Budapest)
The GVH commenced proceeding because of suspected cartel* On 3 July 2014 the Gazdasági Versenyhivatal (GVH – Hungarian Competition Authority) launched a competition supervision procedure against DUNA HOUSE FRANCHISE Kft. (Real Estate Agency) and Otthon Centrum Franchising Tanácsadó Kft. (Real (...)

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission grants authorisation to continue to apply a small levy on the sale of clay brick and concrete masonry products (ABBTF)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
ACCC reauthorises brick levy to help with bricklayer shortage* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has granted authorisation to the Australian Brick & Blocklaying Training Foundation (ABBTF), Think Brick Australia and the Concrete Masonry Association of Australia to continue (...)

The Italian Competition Authority accepts commitments in energy converters case (Power-One)
European Commission (Brussels)
Italy: The Italian Competition Authority accepts Commitments in Energy Converters Case* On 2 July 2014, the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) adopted a commitment decision in relation to an alleged violation of Article 101 TFEU by Power-One Italy Spa (Power-One), an Italian undertaking (...)

The Hellenic Competition Commission fines poultry meat producers and trade association for participating in long-lasting cartel (SPEE)
European Commission (Brussels)
Greece: The Hellenic Competition Commission fines Poultry Meat Producers and Trade Association for participating in long-lasting Cartel* On 2 July 2014, the Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC), following an ex officio investigation, published a decision (HCC Decision 563/VΙI/2013, Government (...)

The German Competition Authority closes proceedings after the company amended its conditions for online sales of sport shoes in such a way that they comply with competition law (Adidas)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Adidas abandons ban on sales via online market places* The Bundeskartellamt has closed its proceedings against adidas AG (adidas) after the company amended its conditions for online sales in such a way that they comply with competition law. adidas operates a selective distribution system (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit agrees to rehear the appeal dismissing an antitrust claims under FTAIA in a lawsuit alleging price-fixing of LCD modules (Motorola Mobility / AU Optronics)
GeyerGorey (Washington)
Seventh Circuit Panel to Rehear Motorola Mobility v. AU Optronics: A Preview of Some of the FTAIA Issues in Component International Price Fixing Cases* The Seventh Circuit has decided to rehear the appeal from a judgment dismissing nearly Motorola’s entire $3.5 billion antitrust claim against (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Russian Competition Authority fines a gas supplier for abuse of dominance (Gazprom)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
For unlawful omissions, “Gazprom Mezhregiongaz Pyatigorsk” shall pay over 38 million RUB* The Office of the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia) in the Republic of North Ossetia (North Ossetia OFAS Russia) held “Gazprom Mezhregiongaz Pyatigorsk” Ltd. administratively liable and fined the (...)

The French Competition Authority orders interim measures against a TV company on the exclusive rights for the broadcasting of Top 14 matches market (Canal Plus / beIN Sports)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Broadcasting rights for the French Rugby 1st Division Championship* Following a referral by beIN Sports, the Autorité de la concurrence suspends the agreement concluded between the French Rugby national League and Group Canal Plus which awarded the latter exclusive rights for the broadcasting (...)

A US District Court allows a bundling claim to proceed under Sherman Act Section 1, even after dismissing other claims for lack of market or monopoly power (Schuylkill Health Systems / Cardinal Health)
University of Michigan
Can Bundled Discounts Be Illegal If Offered by a Firm Without Market Power?* Bundled discounts are common marketing schemes that normally benefit consumers and competition; however, courts and commentators have found certain circumstances when they might be illegal monopolization. The line (...)

The Higher Regional 
Court of Frankfurt dismisses action for to be admitted to an authorised network (Man Vertragswerkstatt)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In a judgment of 29 July 2014, the Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt (“Court”) upheld the decision of the Regional Court of Frankfurt dismissing the action brought by an automotive repair shop to be admitted to the authorised repair network of a passenger vehicle manufacturer. The automotive (...)

The Supreme Court of Canada declines application for leave to appeal in an antitrust case against trade association (Toronto Real Estate Board)
Stikeman Elliott (Toronto)
Supreme Court of Canada declines Toronto Real Estate Board appeal* The Supreme Court of Canada recently dismissed the application by the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) for leave to appeal the Federal Court of Appeal’s judgment overruling a decision of the Competition Tribunal that had (...)

The Hellenic Competition Commission accepts a proposal to revise partly commitments adopted in a previous decision concerning the supply of natural gas through electronic auctions (DEPA)
Hellenic Competition Authority (Athens)
Amendment of commitments adopted with decision 551/VII/2012 of the HCC concerning the supply of natural gas through electronic auctions (optimization of gas release programmes)* Following consultation with DEPA customers and in collaboration with the Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE), the (...)

The Slovenian Competition Protection Agency fines a broadcasting and internet media company in abuse case (Pro Plus))
European Commission (Brussels)
Slovenia: The Competition Protection Agency fines Media Company PRO PLUS in Abuse Case* On 21 July 2014, the Slovenian Competition Protection Agency (CPA) imposed a fine of nearly € 5 000 000 on PRO PLUS, a leading broadcasting and internet media company in Slovenia, for having abused its (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority imposes fines on an electricity provider for having abused of its dominance in the market of the electricity production, wholesale and trade (Electrabel)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
Press Release published on the official website of the Belgian Competition Authority . Decision of the Competition College of the Belgian Competition Authority holding an infringement of the prohibition of abuse of a dominant position by Electrabel* The Competition College of the Belgian (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority condemns the incumbent operator for abuse of a dominant position for excessive pricing on the Belgian electricity market (Electrabel)
Altius (Brussels)
,
IP Porta
I. The Parties Electrabel S.A. (‘Electrabel’) is the incumbent operator on the Belgian electricity market. Electrabel is the main producer of electricity. It is also active on the delivery market to end-consumers in Belgium. Elia is Belgium’s transmission system operator. It enjoys a legal (...)

The Italian Administrative Court of Second Instance confirms the Italian Competition Authority’s decision concerning an abuse of dominant position in the market for television audience measurement (Auditel)
Lipani Catricalà & Partners (Rome)
1. Premise – This work is part of a project (hereinafter, the “Project”) aimed at offering a quarterly overview of all the decisions of Italian administrative courts, which involve the Italian Competition Authority (Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato, hereinafter the “ICA”). (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority fines €2 million for excessive pricing on the markets for the production, wholesale and trade of electricity (Electrabel)
WilmerHale (Brussels)
,
WilmerHale (Brussels)
On 18 July 2014, the Competition College of the Belgian Competition Authority adopted a decision imposing a €2 million fine on Electrabel for abuse of dominant position contrary to Article 3 of the Belgian Competition Act and of Article 102 TFEU on the market for the generation, wholesale and (...)

The EU Court of Justice holds that a member state may be found to have infringed art. 106(1) TFEU if its measures create a situation in which a public undertaking or an undertaking on which it has conferred special or exclusive rights is led to abuse its dominant position (Greek Lignite case)
Gibson Dunn (Brussels)
,
Gibson Dunn (Brussels)
ECJ held that the legal standard established by the General Court was incorrect, as the Commission was not required to identify or establish that an actual abuse had occurred or a particular abuse could have occurred as a result of the state measure at issue. The ECJ repeated its well (...)

The EU Court of Justice attempts to clarify its own case law on whether actual abuse by the public undertaking must be shown in Article 106 TFEU-cases (Greek Lignite case)
University of Groningen
The Appeal in Greek Lignite: Clarification of the Law or Jumpstarting Article 106 TFEU?* Introduction In October 2012 I wrote an entry about the General Court judgment that annulled the Commission decision in the Greek Lignite-saga, concerning the Greek state-owned electricity company DEI (...)

The Court of Justice revolves around the radius of Commission’s powers and discretion in establishing an infringement of article 106 TFEU read together with article 102 TFEU (Greek Lignite Case)
Gerakini Legal Studio
On 17 July 2014 the Court of Justice of the EU (‘CJEU’) rendered its decision in the Greek Lignite case, which revolves around the radius of Commission’s powers and discretion in establishing an infringement of article 106 TFEU read together with article 102 TFEU. Article 106 is the legal vehicle (...)

The EU Court of Justice clarifies the threshold of competitive distortion required in the application of Articles 102 and 106(1) TFEU to State measures concerned with public undertakings or undertakings with special or exclusive rights (Greek Lignite case)
European Procurement Law Group
CJEU fuels joint application of Arts 102 & 106(1) TFEU to suppress unequal conditions of competition (C-553/12P)* In its Judgment in Commission v DEI, C-553/12 P, EU:C:2014:2083, the CJEU has (further) clarified the threshold of competitive distortion required in the application of Arts (...)

The Italian Competition Authority opens an Article 102 TFEU investigation into the market for plastic recycling (Aliplast/Conai-Corepla)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
Introduction By a decision made on 17 July 2014 the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) has opened an Article 102 TFEU investigation against two consortia active in the plastic recycling market (Case A476, Aliplast/CONAI-COREPLA ). The ICA feared that CONAI and COREPLA had abused their (...)

The Moscow Arbitration Appeal Court compels an electricity provider to pay the fine inflicted by the Russian Competition Authority for abuse of dominance (MOESK)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
The Court obligated “MOESK” to transfer 232 million RUB of unlawfully obtained income to the federal budget* On 15th July 2014, the 9th Arbitration Appeal Court confirmed legitimacy of the determination issued by the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia) with regard to “MOESK” OJSC. The grid (...)

The Moscow Arbitration Court confirms the decision of the Russian Competition Authority having sanctioned an undertaking for market monopolization (Cheboksary Authority)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
Arbitration Court supported FAS decision with regard to Cheboksary Authority* On 15th July 2014, Moscow Arbitration Court dismissed a claim of Cheboksary Authority to invalidate FAS decision and determination on a case on violating the antimonopoly law. On 6th March 2014, FAS found that (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority imposes interim measures on a car manufaturer to allow a former concessionaire to continue trading as an independent repairer (BMW)
Simmons & Simmons (Brussels)
,
Simmons & Simmons (Brussels)
On 11 July 2014, the Belgian Competition Authority adopted interim measures under the new interim measures procedure for the first time. The measures order BMW to take the necessary steps to allow a former BMW and MINI concessionaire to continue its business as an independent repairer. Under (...)

A US District Court dismisses a federal antitrust claim brought against automobile manufacturer by a franchise car dealer for failing to prove facts concerning an alleged tying between the rental agreement and the volume of cars sold (Matthew Enterprise / Chrysler Group)
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (San Francisco)
Northern District of California Addresses Functional Discounts, Price Discrimination Claims* In Mathew Enterprise, Inc. v. Chrysler Group, LLC, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95522 (N.D. Cal. July 11, 2014) (Freeman, J.), the court dismissed certain Robinson-Patman Act price discrimination claims and (...)

The EU Court of Justice reiterates that effective judicial protection is a general principle of EU law and finds no error in the examination of the evidence related to abuse of dominance in the telecom sector (Telefónica)
EFTA Surveillance Authority
Case C-295 P Telefónica SA v Commission: the EU judicature’s unlimited jurisdiction in competition cases* The Court of Justice (“CoJ”) handed down its judgment in a very interesting abuse of dominance case, namely Case C-295/12 P Telefónica SA v Commission on 10 July 2014. The judgment deals with (...)

The EU Commission fines pharmaceutical companies in pay-to-delay case (Servier)
Stanford University - Stanford Law School
European Commission fines pharmaceutical companies in pay-to-delay case* Last 9 July the European Commission (“Commission”) fined (see press releases here and here) French pharmaceutical company Servier and five generics manufacturers ( Niche/Unichem, Matrix (now part of Mylan), Teva, Krka and (...)

The European Commission publishes a decision finding that request and enforcement of an injunction before a German court regarding a smartphone standard essential patent constituted an abuse of dominant position (Motorola Mobility)
DLA Piper Weiss-Tessbach (Vienna)
Motorola Mobility won’t appeal the European Commission’s decision on patent licensing* Motorola Mobility (Motorola) has decided not to appeal the European Commission’s decision holding that it was abusing the way it licensed standard essential patents for mobile-phone standards. The Commission (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a pharmaceutical laboratory for abuse of dominance by refusing to sell its medical information database (Euris / Cegedim)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. The Autorité de la concurrence has imposed Cegedim a 5.7 million euros fine for having abusively refused to sell its medical information database to certain pharmaceutical laboratories* The medical databases (...)

The Russian Competition Authority fines an electricity provider for abuse of dominance (MRSK North-West)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
“MRSK North-West” OJSC will have to pay over 93 million RUB as a fine for imposing disadvantageous contract conditions* On 3rd July 2014, the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia) held “MRSK North-West” OJSC administratively liable and fined the company over 93 million RUB. The Antimonopoly (...)

The German Competition Authority decides that the wedding rebates constituted benefits without any objective justification resulting in abuse of dominance on the food retail market (EDEKA)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt takes decision of principle in food retail case - EDEKA’s demands on suppliers were abusive The Bundeskartellamt has issued a decision stating that the demands made by EDEKA Zentrale AG & Co.KG on suppliers after its takeover of the Plus stores in 2009 ("wedding rebates") (...)

Mergers

The Spanish Competition Commission fines company for failing to notify a concentration and executing it before receiving clearance, but admits that it would not have noticed the infringement if the company had not warned it (Essilor/Polycore)
Cuatrecasas, Goncalves Pereira (Madrid)
,
Cuatrecasas, Goncalves Pereira (Barcelone)
On July 31, 2014, the Spanish National Commission for Markets and Competition (Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia or “CNMC”) fined ESSILOR INTERNATIONAL (COMPAGNIE GENERALE D’OPTIQUE) S.A. for failing to notify a merger agreement and breaching the obligation to suspend its execution (...)

The French Competition Authority opens in-depth investigation on an acquisition in the telecom market (Altice Group / SFR)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence has decided to open an in-depth investigation into the acquisition of SFR by the Altice Group* On 4 June 2014, the Numericable Group, a subsidiary of the Altice Group, filed a merger notification to the Autorité de la Concurrence relating to its plan to acquire SFR (...)

The German Competition Authority receives a withdrawal of a merger notification between daily newspapers (Lensing and Funke)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Press Release published on the official website of the German Competition Authority. Withdrawal of notification of merger between the daily newspapers WAZ/Westfälische Rundschau and Ruhr-Nachrichten in the Dortmund area* The Bundeskartellamt confirms that the media company Medienhaus Lensing (...)

The Romanian Competition Council launches a market test to evaluate the commitments proposed by an undertaking on white sugar market (Agrana Zucker)
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
The Competition Council launches for public debates the commitments formulated by AGRANA ZUCKER* The Competition Council launches for public debate the commitments formulated by Agrana Zucker for removing the competition concerns identified within the operation of taking over the assets of (...)

The European Commission find that the largest salmon farmer and processor in the European economic area had implemented an acquisition without prior notification (Norway Marine / Morpol)
White & Case (Paris)
,
White & Case (Brussels)
In merger control, gun-jumping refers to two distinct types of prohibited practices: failure to notify authorities of a transaction triggering merger thresholds, and implementing a notified transaction before receiving merger clearance from the relevant merger authority. Both behaviours can (...)

The EU Commission fines a leading company in salmon farming €20 million for breaching the standstill obligation and failing to meet notification requirements (Marine Harvest / Morpol)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
,
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Article originally published in DG Competition’s Competition merger brief, as Competition merger brief 1/2014 (click here), under the title "Harvesting salmon, jumping guns: the Marine Harvest early implementation case". Please note that all articles published in the CPN are subject to a (...)

The Cypriot Commission for the Protection of Competition reports that two undertakings are abandoning their proposed joint venture despite the authorization granted conditionally on the market for printing services for weekly and monthly magazines (Proteas Press / I.G. Cassoulides & Son / Litho Web)
Commission for the Protection of Competition of the Republic of Cyprus
Notification of a concentration regarding the creation of a joint company by Proteas Press Ltd, I.G. Cassoulides & Son Ltd and Litho Web Ltd* The Commission for the Protection of Competition announces that companies Proteas Press Ltd, I.G. Cassoulides & Son Ltd and Litho Web Ltd (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority clarifies when several transactions can qualify as one concentration or otherwise be the subject of a single clearance proceedings (Ringier Axel Springer Media / Axel Springer )
Kinstellar (Budapest)
On 22 July 2014, the Hungarian Competition Authority (“HCA”) cleared in a Phase II proceedings a transaction whereby Axel Springer SE and Ringier AG placed their Hungarian interests under the control of a joint venture (the “Concentration”). The decision followed a previous proceedings which was (...)

The Cypriot Commission for the Protection of Competition receives notification of a merger on the telecommunication market (GO / Cablenet Communication Systems)
Commission for the Protection of Competition of the Republic of Cyprus
Press Release published on the official website of the Cypriot Commission for the Protection of Competition. Notification concerning the acquisition of share capital of Cablenet Communication Systems Ltd by GO Plc.* The Service of the Commission for the Protection of Competition received, (...)

The Cypriot Commission for the Protection of Competition receives notification of a merger under the form of a joint venture on the seismic services market (CGG Holding / OOO SCF GEO)
Commission for the Protection of Competition of the Republic of Cyprus
Press Release published on the official website of the Cypriot Commission for the Protection of Competition. Notification of concentration regarding the creation of a joint venture by the companies CGG Holding BV and OOO SCF GEO* The Service of the Commission for the Protection of (...)

The Cypriot Commission for the Protection of Competition receives notification of a proposed concentration concerning a joint-venture on the market for seismic services (CGG Holding / OOO SCF GEO)
Commission for the Protection of Competition of the Republic of Cyprus
Notification of concentration regarding the creation of a joint venture by the companies CGG Holding BV and OOO SCF GEO* The Service of the Commission for the Protection of Competition received on behalf of CGG Holding BV and OOO SCF GEO, a notification of a proposed concentration according (...)

The EU Commission clears the acquisition by a Swedish steelmaker of its Finnish rival, subject to the divestment of five businesses in Finland, Sweden and Norway (SSAB / Rautaruukki)
French Treasury
,
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
,
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Viking Steel: the SSAB / Rautaruukki merger"* The SSAB / Rautaruukki case gives insight into the Commission’s approach to market definition in merger cases. The case confirms that the Commission’s approach is case-specific, and driven by the issues at stake in a given case rather than (...)

The UK’s Business secretary proposes new safeguards to counteract the threat of foreign takeovers to the national interest (Pfizer/AstraZeneca)
UEA law school - Centre for Competition Policy
Pfizer/AstraZeneca and the Public Interest: Do Vince Cable’s Foreign Takeover Proposals Prescribe the Right Medication?* When US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer sought to acquire its UK-listed counterpart AstraZeneca earlier this year, discussion centred around the supposed adverse impact that the (...)

The New Zealand Commerce Commission publishes statement of preliminary issues following merger notification on the market for pharmacy wholesaling
New Zealand Commerce Commission
Press releases published on New Zealand Commerce Commission Statement of preliminary issues published for CDC Pharmaceutical and Pharmacy Wholesalers merger* CDC Pharmaceuticals and Pharmacy Wholesalers (Central) seek clearance to merge The Commerce Commission has received a joint (...)

The Australian Competition Commission releases statement of issues outlining potential competition concerns with the proposed acquisition of four stores (Progressive Supa IGA / Coles Supermarkets Australia)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
ACCC calls for comment on proposed acquisition of Supa IGA stores in WA by Coles* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has released a Statement of Issues outlining potential competition concerns with the proposed acquisition of four Progressive Supa IGA stores by Coles (...)

The European Commission proposes measures on the review of minority stakes under the EU Merger Regulation
Dechert (Brussels)
,
Dechert (Brussels)
It is more than three and a half years since EU Competition Commissioner Joaquín Almunia first publically admitted that, at the European level, when a transaction involves the acquisition of a minority shareholding, there is “probably an enforcement gap” , and announced that he had instructed DG (...)

The EU Commission issues merger reform White Paper regarding minority shareholdings and member State referrals
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
,
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
,
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
On July 9, 2014, the European Commission published its proposal (White Paper) outlining the approach it intends to adopt with respect to the application of the EU Merger Regulation (EUMR) to the acquisition of minority shareholdings. The White Paper also sets out proposals to streamline the (...)

The District Court of Jerusalem condemns a former CEO for actual imprisonment time (Mr. Roznhoiz, Mr. Gidor, Supersal)
B.Golan Law Firm
,
B.Golan Law Firm
Recently, the District Court of Jerusalem has sentenced the former CEO of the largest supermarket chain in Israel for actual imprisonment time. This verdict is very significant and is most likely to be a mile stone in the evolution of sanctioning for violations of antitrust law. It is (...)

The Cypriot Commission for the Protection of Competition receives a notification of a merger on the investissement market (Dayarona Trading and Loramina Trading / Development Bank Public Company)
Commission for the Protection of Competition of the Republic of Cyprus
Press Release published on the official website of the Cypriot Commission for the Protection of Competition. Notification concerning the acquisition of part of the share capital of Cyprus Development Bank Public Company Ltd from the Dayarona Trading Ltd and Loramina Trading Ltd.* The (...)

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission outlines potential competition concerns with the proposed acquisition on the market for casino services (Reef Casino Trust)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
ACCC calls for comment on Aquis’ proposed acquisition of the Reef Hotel Casino* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has released a Statement of Issues outlining potential competition concerns with the proposed acquisition by Aquis Reef Holdings (Aus) Pty Ltd (together with its (...)

State Aid

The European Commission applies for the first time the General Block Exemption Regulation to sport infrastructures and holds that public funding of local sport infrastructures may constitute State aid (Kristall Bäder)
College of Europe (Bruges)
The First Application of the New GBER to Sport Infrastructure* Public funding of local sport infrastructure may constitute State aid. The granting of a concession contract for the construction and/or operation of the infrastructure may not exclude State aid for the concessionaire. Measures (...)

The EU General Court refuses to find the Altmark criteria fulfilled and reminds that Member States have discretion to define what they consider as an SGEI but only after having identified market gaps (Zweckverband)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Not Surprisingly, Another Member State Fails to Prove Compliance with the Altmark Criteria* Main points Maintaining capacity that is necessary for the provision of normal services cannot be classified as a service of general economic interest. State aid may not be granted towards the costs (...)

The EU General Court upholds the decision of the Commission stating that compensatory payments can be State aid even if partially funded by private funds and specifies that recovery may exclude payments that satisfy the conditions of the relevant de minimis regulation (Greece)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Compensatory Payments Can be State Aid* Main points Article 107(1) also applies to payments that offset the damage caused by natural disasters. It is irrelevant that the compensation is partial or that competitors did not suffer similar damage. A measure can be State aid even if it is (...)

The EU General Court pushes for overcompliance with EU public procurement rules in the provision of public services (Zweckverband)
European Procurement Law Group
GC pushes for overcompliance with EU public procurement rules in the provision of public services (T-309/12)* In its Judgment in Zweckverband Tierkörperbeseitigung v Commission, T-309/12, EU:T:2014:676, the GC has assessed the compatibility with EU State aid rules of a system of financial (...)

The EU Court of Justice decides in two cases on the compatibility with internal market principles of a tax partially funding a state aid (Telefonica, DTS)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Levying Taxes to Fund Public Broadcasters* Main points Taxes may not be examined by the Commission in the context of Article 107 even if they finance State aid measures. By contrast, the Commission may examine a tax in the context of its assessment of the compatibility of aid with the (...)

The European Commission applies the market economy investor test to a financially troubled company (Scandinavian Airlines)
College of Europe (Bruges)
The Market Economy Investor Test Applied to a Financially Troubled Company* Main points Public funding of an undertaking is free of State aid when it is accompanied at the same time and on equivalent terms by similar private funding. If public funding is provided at the insistence of the (...)

The European Commission holds that a measure is selective if its application is narrower than the scope of the objective it seeks to achieve (Arco)
College of Europe (Bruges)
A Measure is Selective if its Application is Narrower than the Scope of the Objective it Seeks to Achieve* Main points A measure is attributed to a decision of a Member State if it is allowed but not mandated by an EU directive. A measure is selective when in practice it is open to fewer (...)

The EU General Court explains that the profitability that would satisfy a private investor is a rate that covers the cost of capital for that particular investment (Ciudad de la luz)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Benchmarks of Profitability for Private Investors* Main points A public authority that injects capital in an undertaking [or provides any other kind of finance] must ensure that the funding can achieve the rate of return that can, in principle, satisfy a private investor. The rate that can (...)

The EU General Court affirms the incompatibility of the state aid related to culture facilities and requires the applicant to divest its € 274 million stake in the film studios (Ciudad de la Luz)
European Procurement Law Group
... and Cut! Lights Out for the €274mn Spanish "Ciudad de la Luz" Film Studios (T-319/12)* In its Judgment of 3 July 2014 in Spain v Commission (Ciudad de la Luz), joined cases T-319/12 and T-321/12, EU:T:2014:604 (not available in English), the General Court (GC) reviewed Commission’s Decision (...)

Procedures

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal rules in favour of applicants seeking disclosure of documents from the Competition and Markets Authority case file concerning completed investigations (HCA)
Norton Rose Fulbright (London)
,
Norton Rose Fulbright (London)
,
Norton Rose Fulbright (London)
Introduction In a judgment published in July 2014, the Competition Appeal Tribunal (the CAT) ruled in favour of applicants seeking disclosure of documents from the Competition and Markets Authority (the CMA) case file concerning completed investigations. The judgment arose in connection with (...)

The Bulgarian Commission for the Protection of Competition recommends wider representation of interested parties in adoption procedure of regulatory acts in healthcare sector
European Commission (Brussels)
Bulgaria: The Commission for the Protection of Competition recommends Wider Representation of Interested parties in Adoption Procedure of Regulatory Acts in Healthcare Sector* On 23 July 2014, the Commission on Protection of Competition (CPC) adopted an advocacy opinion stating that the legal (...)

The Bulgarian Commission for the Protection of Competition proposes adoption of new legislation on translator services
European Commission (Brussels)
Bulgaria: The Commission for the Protection of Competition proposes Adoption of new Legislation on Translator Services* On 16 July 2014, the Commission on Protection of Competition (CPC) adopted an opinion (Decision 964/2014) finding the current regulatory framework for certified translations (...)

The Ontario Superior Court holds that presumptions that by possessing documents, persons and firms are deemed to know their contents are unconstitutionnal in a criminal context (Durward)
McMillan (Toronto)
,
McMillan (Toronto)
Canadian Cartel News – Volume 5 – One Place Where Possession is not Nine Tenths of the Law* Section 69(2) of the Competition Act provides that, by possessing documents, persons and firms are deemed to know their contents and to have done what the documents say was done. Particularly in the era (...)

Regulatory

The French Competition Authority issues an opinion on the international business support sector (Ubifrance)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. Ubifrance – Supporting French business for their international development* Following a referral from a professional organization (the OSCI), the Autorité de la concurrence has delivered an opinion and (...)

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission notifies the businesses about obligation to pass through all cost savings attributable to the carbon tax repeal
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
ACCC puts businesses on notice about Carbon Tax Price Reduction Obligation* Now that Parliament has repealed the carbon tax, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will have new powers to take action against businesses that supply regulated goods which fail to pass through all cost (...)

The UK Supreme Court restores finding that Ofcom overstepped its regulatory powers under the Framework Directive with respect to a carrier’s termination charges to other mobile carriers (BT v Telefónica and others)
The University of Manchester
On 9 July 2014, the UK Supreme Court handed down its judgment in BT v Telefónica and others , restoring earlier judgments by the Competition Appeal Tribunal (the “CAT”) in August 2011 [ [2011] CAT 24; [2011] CAT 26.]], which was overturned by the Court of Appeal on 25 July 2012 . The judgments (...)

The UK Supreme Court considers Article 20 of the EU Framework Directive and finds no justification for the Court of Appeal to set aside the analysis of the CAT as regards ladder pricing in wholesale termination charges for certain non-geographic telephone numbers (BT / Telefónica O2)
Blackstone Chambers
Dogma in telecoms, cream for the CAT: 08- numbers in the Supreme Court* The Supreme Court handed down on 9 July 2014 its judgment in British Telecommunications plc v Telefónica O2 UK Ltd & Ors [2014] UKSC 42. Reversing the decision of the Court of Appeal (blogged on here by Emily Neill), (...)

The Australian ACCC and ASIC issue new guidelines concerning the debt collection industry and the assessment of the risk of breaching competition, consumer and other relevant laws
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
ACCC and ASIC revise guidelines for businesses and consumers about debt collection activities* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) have launched an updated version of their ‘Debt collection guideline: for (...)

The Australian Federal Court decides that the parties had already agreed terms and conditions in relation to charges and the disputes regarding the access to facilities on the telecom market, thus the ACCC couldn’t determine such disputes (Telstra Corporation Limited / Vocus Fibre)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
ACCC ceases arbitrations following court decision* The Full Federal Court has handed down its decision on a judicial review application originally commenced by Telstra on 3 January 2014. Telstra sought review of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s jurisdiction to arbitrate (...)

All issues

  • Latest News issue 
  • All News issues
  • Latest Special issue 
  • All Special issues