June 2010

Anticompetitive practices

The Paris Court of Appeal reduces fines in rail track maintenance cartel case (Colas Rail, Pichenot Bouillé, Offroy, ETF and Vecchietti)
Van Bael & Bellis
On 29 June 2010, the Paris Court of Appeal handed down its judgment in the appeals brought against a decision of the French Competition Authority of July 2009, which found that five rail track maintenance companies had infringed Article 81 EC (now Article 101 TFEU) and its French equivalent by (...)

The UK Office of Tair Trading implements revised approach for company director disqualification orders (OFT guidance document on director disqualification orders in competition cases)
TT&A
On 29th June 2010, the UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) published revised guidance on the issue of Director Disqualification Order (DDO) in competition cases. The legal provisions relating to DDO are contained in the Company Directors Disqualification Act, 1986 as amended by the Enterprise Act, (...)

The German Competition Authority imposes fine of € 2.5 M for resale price maintenance concerning Internet sales of GPS systems (Garmin)
Van Bael & Bellis
According to a press release of 28 June 2010, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) has imposed a total fine of € 2.5 million on Garmin Deutschland GmbH (“Garmin”), a manufacturer of mobile navigation devices (e.g., GPS systems), and one of its employees, for engaging in resale price maintenance (...)

The French Competition Authority accepts commitments in order to address competition concerns in the discount coupons sector (HighCo, Sogec & Perifem)
French Competition Authority
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. The Autorité de la concurrence accepts commitments enabling all market operators to use Webcoupon or to develop equivalent solutions.* After a referreal by the Institut de liaisons et d’études des industries de (...)

The Lisbon Trade Court dismisses the appeal of the Portuguese Competition Authority’s infringement decision regarding an association of undertakings for exchanging information with its members on bread consumer prices (Lisbon Breadmakers’ Association)
Samsung (Portugal)
On 25 June 2010, the Tribunal de Comércio de Lisboa (Lisbon Trade Court) dismissed the appeal against the Autoridade da Concorrência’s (Portuguese Competition Authority) infringement decision regarding the Associação dos Industriais de Panificação de Lisboa (Lisbon Breadmakers’ Association - the (...)

The EU Competition Commissioner announces fines in bathroom fittings cartel tackling the issue of fine discounts on bankruptcy grounds (Artweger, Cisal)
University of East Anglia - CCP
Article published on Centre for Competition Policy blog. Dodgy Plumbing: Why Europe’s Willingness to Grant Bankruptcy Discounts is Bad for Cartel Enforcement* A speech by the European Commissioner for Competition may signal a greater willingness to grant discounts in cartel fines on the (...)

The European Commission fines 17 bathroom equipment manufacturers for price-fixing cartel applying "financial constraints" discount to 5 of them (Artweger / Cisal)
Winston & Strawn (London)
The European Commission (Commission) yesterday announced fines imposed on seventeen companies totalling EUR 622 million for a price fixing cartel relating to bathroom equipment (IP/10/790). This is the Commission’s second cartel decision of 2010 and follows the Commission’s first cartel (...)

The Hellenic Competition Commission fines five companies active in the fish farming sector for having formed a crisis-cartel (Nireus Aquaculture, Dias Aquaculture, Hellenic Fishfarming, Andromeda Fishfarming and Selonda Aquaculture)
Lambadarios Law Firm
On 23rd June 2010, the Hellenic Competition Commission (“Epitropi Antagonismou”, hereinafter: “HCC”) issued a decision on the merits by which it imposed fines on five fish farming companies (“NIREUS AQUACULTURE S.A.”, “DIAS AQUACULTURE S.A.”, “HELLENIC FISHFARMING S.A.”, “ANDROMEDA FISHFARMING S.A.” and (...)

The Svea Court of Appeal in Stockholm regards an association for copyright holders as undertaking and views ancillary agreements as giving effect to an anti competitve agreement (ALIS v Mediearkivet Svenska Aktiebolag)
Baker McKenzie (Stockholm)
ALIS (The Administration of Literary Rights) is a non-profit organisation that was formed by four associations for educational writers, authors, journalists and actors. To ALIS were also a number of independent copyright holders associated by agreement. ALIS role is to protect the member’s (...)

A Swedish Court of Appeal holds that the agreements whereby authors had entrusted the administration of their literary works to a collecting society constitutes the basis of an unlawful cooperation and thus were null and void (Mediearkivet)
Vinge (Stockholm)
,
Cosmetics Europe
Introduction In two cases concerning the administration by a collecting society of literary works, the Stockholm District Court and, on appeal, the Court of Appeal, examined the agreements whereby authors had entrusted the administration of their literary works to a collecting society. It was (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority prosecutes five auto repairers for fixing the man/hour rates (Simerv - Selena Impex)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 17 June 2010 the Romanian Competition Authority (CC) found five auto repairers in Slobozia, the capital city of the Ialomita county, liable for infringement of the national equivalent of the Article 101 TFEU for fixing their man-hour rates. In its decision the CC stated that the market for (...)

The Italian Competition Authority imposes a €76m fine to 19 freight forwarders and their trade association for cartel activities (Fedespedi)
Simmons & Simmons (Milano)
On 16 June 2010, the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) concluded its investigation into the market for international land freight forwarding and fined 19 operators for cartel activities aimed at increasing prices charged to customers. Fedespedi, the Italian Association of freight forwarders, (...)

A French Court rules on refusal by motor vehicle manufacturers to examine applications of dealers to be reappointed to their respective distribution networks (Groupe Volkswagen France)
Van Bael & Bellis
In two separate judgments that were handed down in June 2010, the Commercial Court of Versailles and the Paris Court of Appeal awarded damages to former dealers of SA Nissan France (“Nissan”) and SA Groupe Volkswagen France (“VW”) respectively, whose dealership agreements were terminated by the (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority issues a report on the agri-food sector and considers conditions for a more lenient policy (2010 - Informe sobre competencia y sector agroalimentario)
European Court of Justice
,
Garrigues
Both the European Commission and national competition authorities have been traditionally cautious on the application of Article 101 TFEU to undertakings in the agricultural sector. It was due to the specificity of this sector that Council Regulation 26/62 established certain exceptions to the (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority publishes a report on competition and the agrifood sector (Competencia y Sector Agroalimentario)
Hogan Lovells (Madrid)
On 16 June 2010, the Council of the Spanish Competition Authority (Consejo de la Comisión Nacional de la Competencia, hereinafter the "Council", "the NCC") published its Report on "Competition and the Agrifood Sector" ("the Report"). The Report is the consequence of a formal request made on 17 (...)

The Mexican Competition Commission fines five undertakings and five individuals for price fixing in the trucking market (CanaCar)
Jones Day (Mexico)
,
Jones Day (Mexico)
,
Jones Day (Mexico)
On June 14, 2010, the Mexican Federal Competition Commission (also known as Cofeco or CFC) announced its decision to fine a group of companies and individuals in the trucking industry, whom Cofeco charged with agreeing to impose a standard fuel surcharge, in violation of Mexican antitrust law. (...)

The Italian Competition Authority starts investigation against alleged price fixing between the main players in the field of maritime agency service (Servizi di Agenzia Marittima)
Codacons
In December 2007 Italian Competition Authority (hereinafter ICA) was reported about a potential behaviour which could have undermined the competition among maritime service agencies. Many companies were suspected to implement agreements even through using the category associations (Associazione (...)

The Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court rules on key issues of private damages actions against hardcore cartels, decides on the indirect customer’s right to claim and addresses the challenging task of quantifying antitrust damages (Carbonless paper cartel)
Eberhard Karls University
,
Eberhard Karls University
Introduction Private enforcement in hardcore-cartels cases is getting in motion. In Germany, within less than one year two actions for damages against participants in hardcore-cartels were successful. After the decision of the Berlin Higher Regional Court in the “Berliner Transportbeton”-case (...)

The Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court awards € 100,000 in damages to a claimant on behalf of a printing firm which purchased paper from a subsidiary of a cartel holding the passing-on defence does not apply (Carbonless paper cartel)
White & Case (Hambourg)
In its decision dated 11 June 2010, the Higher Regional Court of Karlsruhe has awarded € 100,000 in damages to a claimant on behalf of a printing firm that purchased carbonless-paper indirectly from members of the carbonless-paper cartel. The printing firm was seeking damages for paying cartel (...)

The German Bundeskartellamt fines ophthalmic lenses manufacturers for involvement in cartel agreements (Rodenstock, Carl Zeiss Vision)
Arent Fox (New York)
On June 10, 2010, the German federal antitrust agency, the Bundeskartellamt, imposed a €115 million (approximately $153 million) fine on five leading ophthalmic lens manufacturers, Rodenstock GmbH, Carl Zeiss Vision GmbH, Essilor GmbH, Rupp + Hubrach Optik GmbH, and Hoya Lens Deutschland GmbH, (...)

The Japan Fair Trade Commission issues cease and desist orders and imposes surcharges on manufacturers of shutters for having implemented a price-fixing agreement and for bid rigging (Sanwa Shutter, Bunka Shutter, Toyo Shutter and Sanwa Holdings)
Cease and Desist Orders and Surcharge Payment Orders against Manufacturers of Shutters* The Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC), under the provisions of the Antimonopoly Act (AMA), has investigated companies engaged in manufacturing and selling shutters and found that they were in violation of (...)

Three US Senators introduce a bill that would make permanent provisions of the ACPERA granting reduced civil liability to successful leniency applicants
Sheppard Mullin (San Francisco)
Bill Introduced To Secure Reduced Civil Liability For Amnesty Applicants* Three U.S. senators have introduced a bill that would make permanent provisions of the Antitrust Criminal Penalties Enforcement and Reform Act of 2004 (ACPERA) granting reduced civil liability to companies who (...)

The German Competition Authority imposes further fines on coffee roasters (DKV, Gebr. Westhoff, J.J. Darboven, Kraft Foods Außer Haus Service, Luigi Lavazza Deutschland, Melitta System Service, Seeberger, Segafredo Zanetti Deutschland and Tchibo)
Van Bael & Bellis
Following the imposition of fines against coffee roasters in December 2009 totalling € 159.5 million for a cartel on the market supplying the food retail sector, coffee roasters have recently again been subject to the imposition of fines by the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”). According to a (...)

A French Court rules on refusal by motor vehicle manufacturers to examine applications of dealers to be reappointed to their respective distribution networks (Nissan France)
Van Bael & Bellis
In two separate judgments that were handed down in June 2010, the Commercial Court of Versailles and the Paris Court of Appeal awarded damages to former dealers of SA Nissan France (“Nissan”) and SA Groupe Volkswagen France (“VW”) respectively, whose dealership agreements were terminated by the (...)

The Hungarian Competition authority imposes fines for bid rigging cartel in the railroad construction sector (Colas, MÁVÉPCELL, MÁV MTM, Szentesi Vasútépítő and Vasútépítők)
King’s College (London)
On 9 June 2010, the Hungarian Competition Authority (Gazdasági Versenyhivatal, GVH) adopted an infringement decision establishing that Colas Zrt., MÁVÉPCELL Kft., MÁV MTM Zrt., Szentesi Vasútépítő Kft. and Vasútépítők Kft. colluded and agreed to share the market, on the principles to be followed and in (...)

The Danish Competition Appeals Tribunal upholds the Competition Council’s decision prohibiting a TV Broadcaster’s business terms regarding the distribution of two TV channels (Viasat)
European Commission
Denmark: The Danish Competition Appeals Tribunal upholds the Danish Competition Council’s decision prohibiting Viasat’s Business Terms regarding the Distribution of TV 3 and TV 3+ On 8 June 2010, the Danish Competition Appeals Tribunal (CAT) upheld the Danish Competition Council’s (DCC) decision (...)

The UK OFT publishes a survey research suggesting increased awareness of competition in the construction industry
University of East Anglia - CCP
Article published on Centre for Competition Policy blog. Does a High Profile Cartel Investigation Reduce Bid-Rigging?* The OFT have published survey research suggesting greater awareness of competition laws in the construction industry following enforcement, but not the sea change we would (...)

The Bulgarian Competition Authority finds no cartel on the market for banking services (Association of Banks in Bulgaria)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 3 June 2010 the Bulgarian Competition Authority (CPC) finalized its investigation into the alleged existence of price coordination in the banking sector with the finding that the collected evidence did not allow to establish the existence of a cartel and that similarity in prices was (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority condemns a professional association for anticompetitive practices in the training market (Order of Certified Accountants)
Sérvulo & Associados
,
Eduardo Paz Ferreira & Associados
The Portuguese Competition Authority (PCA) has found that the Order of Certified Accountants (OCA or OTOC, in Portuguese), formerly named Chamber of Certified Accountants (until Decree-Law 310/2009) has breached articles 101 and 102 TFEU, and their national equivalents (articles 4 and 6 of (...)

The Bulgarian Competition Authority fines € 90.000 a professional association for setting and disseminating recommended prices for construction services (Bulgarian Construction Chambers)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 4 May 2010 the Bulgarian Competition Authority (CPC) concluded its investigation into the existence of anticompetitive practices on the national market for construction services and prosecuted the Bulgarian Construction Chamber (KSB) for the infringement of national equivalent of Article (...)

A Danish Court finds royalty provision contrary to Section 6 of the Danish Competition Act and Article 101 TFEU (Pandora Production / Lise Aagaard Copenhagen)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
On 29 April 2010 the Danish Maritime and Commercial Court found that a provision in a license agreement according to which the licensee is required to pay royalty on sales even when the licensor’s IPR is not used was contrary to Article 101 TFEU and the equivalent provision under Danish law and (...)

The UK OFT finds that each of the manufacturers and retailers investigated had participated in agreements and/or concerted practices whereby the manufacturers set the retailers’ retail prices for its tobacco products which restricted the retailers’ ability to determine their retail price of competing tobacco products (ITL/Gallaher/ Asda/ the Co-op/ First Quench/ Morrisons/ T&S/ Safeway/ Sainsbury/ Shell/ Somerfield/ TM Retail)
Addleshaw Goddard (London)
Description of the impugned case The OFT’s Chapter I investigation was initiated in March 2003 following receipt of information from Sainsbury under the OFT’s leniency policy, which, along with information obtained during a previous Chapter II investigation into ITL, gave the OFT reasonable (...)

The Paris Court of Appeal rejects appeals in the online travel sales sector for vertical practices and abuse of dominance under both EC and national provisions (SNCF / Expedia)
Novartis (Rueil-Malmaison)
BACKGROUND The Paris Court of Appeals (hereafter “the Court”) confirms a decision by the French Competition Council (hereafter “the Council”) which fined SNCF and Expedia, Inc. (hereafter “Expedia”) in a decision No. 09-D-06 of 5 February 2009. The appeal was brought by Karavel (a travel agency, (...)

The Lisbon Commercial Court holds pharmaceutical companies guilty of 63 breaches on Portuguese competition law (Abbott Laboratórios, Menarini Diagnóscitos and Johnson & Johnson)
The Lisbon Commercial Court, confirming the decision of the Portuguese Competition Authority, held that the undertakings of Abbott Laboratórios Lda., Menarini Diagnóscitos Lda. and Johnson & Johnson Lda. were proven to be guilty of 63 breaches of the Portuguese competition law rules. (...)

A Spanish Court reduces the fine imposed on a savings bank for lack of assessment on the anticompetitive effects caused by the exchange of information and other restrictions by effect (Bilbao Bizkaia Kutxa)
European Court of Justice
,
Garrigues
In its judgment of December 10, 2009 on the appeal brought by Bilbao Bizkaia Kutxa (“BBK”) against the Decision of the Spanish National Competition Authority (hereinafter CNC) of October 18, 2007 in the Basque and Navarre Savings Banks,case, the “Audiencia Nacional” has halved the fine imposed by (...)

The Regional Administrative Tribunal for Latium upholds the decision of the Italian Antitrust Authority on the Pricing of Pasta case
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
By a judgment of December 2009 the Regional Administrative Tribunal for Latium decided on the appeal against the decision of the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) in the Pricing of Pasta case. The ICA had fined 26 pasta manufacturers and two trade association for having cartelized the market (...)

The Turkish Competition Board decides that several chicken producers and their professional association distorted competition by establishing a cartel and inflicts fines (Abalıoglu, Banvit, Beypi, CP, Erpilic, Keskinoglu, Pak Tavuk, Seker Pilic and Sen Pilic)
Erdem & Erdem
The Competition Board (“CB”), at its discretion, sentenced nine leading undertakings, namely Abalıoglu, Banvit, Beypi, CP, Erpilic, Keskinoglu, Pak Tavuk, Seker Pilic and Sen Pilic to pay a fine of 0.8% of their gross income as accrued at the end of the year 2008. Moreover, the CB had increased (...)

The Danish High Court doubles fine imposed by the District Court on a professional association for recommending retail prices (Christmas Tree Growers Association)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
On 24 September 2009 the High Court of Eastern Denmark increased the fine imposed by a District Court on the Danish Christmas Tree Growers Association for having infringed section 6 of the Danish Competition Act (national provision similar to Article 101 of the TFEU) by having issued price (...)

The UK Office of Fair Trading imposed £129.5 million in fines on construction firms for colluding with competitors (Construction Industry Cartel)
University of Exeter
By its decision of 22 September 2009, the UK Office of Fair Trading (the ‘OFT’) imposed £129.5 million in fines on construction firms for colluding with competitors. The decision is the outcome of the UK’s largest ever cartel investigations.The OFT found that the companies concerned were engaged (...)

Unilateral Practices

The French Competition Authority issues an interim decision opening an investigation to ascertain abuse of dominance by refusing to display advertising (Navx)
Stanford University - Stanford Law School
Google under investigation in France for alleged abuse in the online advertising market* On 30 June 2010, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) issued an interim decision opening an investigation to ascertain whether Google abused its dominant position, as well as Navx’s state of economic (...)

The French Competition Authority orders interim measures and assesses commitments to remedy antitrust concerns of abuse of dominance in the online advertising market (Google)
Jones Day (Paris)
Google offers commitments to get off the radar screen* A case involving Google confirms that the French Competition Authority is keen on using a combination of interim measures and commitment proceedings in order help it quickly resolve maters which it perceives as competition issues. This may (...)

The Italian Competition Authority imposes fine against construction market leader for abuse of dominant position in the plasterboard market (Saint-Gobain Italia)
European Commission
Italy: Competition Authority (ICA) imposes Fine on Saint-Gobain PPC Italia S.P.A. in the Plasterboard Market In its meeting of 30 June 2010, the ICA ruled that Saint Gobain Ppc Italia S.p.A. (Bpb Italia) had engaged in abusive behaviour infringing national and EU competition rules in order to (...)

The French Competition Authority fines for the first time two companies for breaching their commitments undertaken under the settlement procedure (Neopost)
Norton Rose Fulbright (Paris)
On 30 June 2010, the French Competition Authority handed down its first decision whereby it imposed sanctions on two undertakings for having breached their commitments signed five years earlier, in the framework of the settlement procedure set forth under article L. 464-2 III of the French (...)

The French Competition Authority imposes interim measures in order to ensure that a company providing advertising services, implements its content policy in an objective, transparent and non discriminatory manner (Navx / Google - AdWords)
White & Case (Paris)
Background On June, 30, 2010, following a complaint coupled with a request for interim measures lodged by Navx, the French National Competition Authority (thereafter “NCA”), by way of interim decision, ordered Google Ireland and Google Inc. (hereafter “Google”) to implement in an objective, (...)

A Slovak Regional Court confirms the NCA decision holding as abusive a request of the gas transmission network operator to obtain ownership of the interconnection system build by a gas distribution company (Eustream)
Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) (Slovenia)
,
Valko Marián & partners
The rationale and argumentats adopted by the Slovak Antimonopoly Office (the "SVK AMO") in a case attracting attention of Slovak competition lawyers that concerned a dominant position has been recently upheld by a judgment. Factual background On 30 June 2010 the Regional Court in Bratislava (...)

The French Competition Authority grants interim measures regarding online advertising system (Navx - Google)
Simmons & Simmons (Paris)
,
Affinion International
In a decision dated 30 June 2010, the French Competition Authority (the "Competition Authority") has considered that Google had implemented the content policy of its AdWords service in a way that lacked objectivity and transparency and resulted in a discriminatory treatment of speed camera (...)

The Federal Court of Justice denies an infringement of Art. 102 TFEU holding that offering the entry to a monopolized market only under the conditions set by the Federal Network Agency does not constitute abuse (GSM-Wandler)
Gleiss Lutz (Frankfurt)
In its judgement of 29 June 2010, the Federal Court of Justice (FCJ) reversed a judgement of the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf. The FCJ stated that an undertaking holding a market dominant position does generally not act abusively by offering the entry to a monopolized market under the (...)

The EU General Court reduces fine in soda ash case (Imperial Chemical Industries)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Practising Law Institute
On 25 June 2010, the General Court handed down its judgment in the long-running procedure concerning an alleged abuse of a dominant position by Imperial Chemical Industries Limited (“ICI”) on the market for soda ash. In its judgment, the General Court largely upheld the Commission’s findings, but (...)

The Italian Competition Authority initiates a new investigation against the national incumbent telecom operator to assess whether it abused of its dominance position on the telephone and broadband network sector (Wind Fastweb / Telecom Italia conduct)
Bonelli Erede Pappalardo (Rome)
On 24 June 2010, the Italian Competition Authority (the “ICA”) decided to initiate new proceedings against Telecom Italia to assess whether the incumbent operator had abused its dominant position in the voice communications and broadband internet access services markets, with the aim of excluding (...)

The French Commercial Supreme Court validates the passing-on defence in a follow-on action based on the lysine cartel (Doux aliments / Ajinomoto Eurolyne)
European Commission - DG FISMA
,
Weil, Gotshal & Manges (Paris)
In a ruling dated 15 June 2010, the French Commercial Supreme Court validated the passing-on defence in a damages action. The Court stated that, in a damages case, the judge must assess whether the claimant has passed on to its own clients the overcharge resulting from an infringement. This (...)

The French Competition Authority issues an ex-officio opinion on crossed usage of client databases in the telecommunications sector
European Commission
France: Autorité de la concurrence issues Ex-officio Opinion on Crossed Usage of Client Databases in the Telecommunication Sector On 14 June 2010, the Autorité de la concurrence delivered an opinion on the question of crossed usage of client databases (known as “cross selling” practices), and more (...)

The Düsseldorf Court of Appeals questions the German Federal Cartel Office’s decision imposing the obligation to grant access to essential facilities in the ferry services in interim proceedings (Fährhafen Puttgarden II)
Heinz & Zagrosek (Köln)
The end of access to essential facilities in Germany in practice?* On June 10, 2010, the Düsseldorf Court of Appeals issued a decision that increased the hurdles for obtaining access to essential facilities in Germany in practice (see WuW/DE-R 2941 et seq.). The case concerns interim (...)

The Hungarian Competition Council accepts commitments to remedy a suspected abuse of dominant position concerning the pricing of mortgages vis-à-vis "captured consumers"
Ernst & Young
The Hungarian Competition Council adopted a commitment decision terminating an investigation relating to the suspected abuse of dominant position by one of the leading banks in Hungary offering personal banking services, including housing loans (mortgages). The investigation was triggered by (...)

The Italian Supreme Administrative Court reforms a judgment of first instance and considers an airport managing company not responsible for abuse of dominant position under art. 102 TFEU in the market for centralized airport infrastructures (SEA - Airport tariffs)
University Luiss Guido Carli - GRIF (Rome)
,
Economisti Associati
,
University Luiss Guido Carli - GRIF (Rome)
In September 2009, the Regional Administrative Court of Latium (Tribunale Amministrativo Regionale del Lazio) upheld the appeal from AIR ONE S.p.A., an Italian airline now merged with Alitalia, against a decision of the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) concerning the alleged abuse of (...)

The Italian Supreme Administrative Court confirms judgment of an regional court which reduces a fine imposed by the Competition Authority to an airport managing company for abuse of dominant position under art. 102 TFEU in the market of certain common and individual airport infrastructures (Società Esercizi Aeroportuali)
University Luiss Guido Carli - GRIF (Rome)
,
Economisti Associati
,
University Luiss Guido Carli - GRIF (Rome)
On the 22nd of September 2009 (case 9171/2009), the Regional Administrative Court (RAC) of Latium (Tribunale Amministrativo Regionale - TAR - del Lazio) partially upheld the appeal from SEA S.p.A. (SEA), the managing company of the airports of Milan Linate and Milan Malpensa, against a decision (...)

A Chinese intermediate People’s court dismisses antitrust claims for failing to prove abusive conduct in the termite prevention service market (HY/HT)
China Competition Bulletin
,
China Competition Bulletin
,
Institute of American Studies
Huzhou Yiting Termite Prevention Service Co., Ltd (HY) v Huzhou Termite Prevention Research Institute (HT) Pending in the Zhejiang Higher People’s Court* On 25 November 2009, HY filed a suit against HT in the Hangzhou Intermediate People’s Court, alleging that HT had abused its dominance in (...)

The Bulgarian Competition Authority fines an electricity supplier for exploitative abuse of dominant position (EVN Bulgaria Elektrorazpredelenie)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 3 June 2010 the Bulgarian Competition Authority (CPC) established that electricity supplier EVN Bulgaria Elektrorazpredelenie AD (EVN) committed an infringement of the national equivalent of Article 102(2)(d) TFEU. The CPC’s investigation was prompted by the complaint lodged by Yana AD (...)

The Spanish Supreme Court holds that the national High Court erred in law as regard the concept of dominance (Enagás, Gas Natural Comercializadora)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
On November 22, 2002, the National Energy Agency (Comisión Nacional de la Energía) sent a letter of complaint to the Service of Competition Defense (Servicio de Defensa de la Competencia) related to the contract signed on July 27, 2001 between Enagás, SA and Gas Natural Comercializadora, at that (...)

The Bulgarian Competition Authority fines margin squeeze on the construction services market (International Fair Plovdiv)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
Following a complaint submitted by the Association for Fair and Exhibition Services (the Association) in August 2009 the Bulgarian Competition Authority (CPC) initiated an investigation on the alleged abuse of dominance on the market for construction services rendered on the territory of the (...)

An Italian regional administrative tribunal annuls a decision from the NCA for ineffectiveness of the undertakings imposed to address the competition concerns raised on the market for broadcasting rights of football matches (Conto TV)
The Regional Administrative Tribunal for Lazio annuls a decision from the Italian Competition Authority for the ineffectiveness of the undertakings and forces the Authority to restart the proceedings and repeat the market test on the basis of the 287/1990 and 241/1990 laws and the EU Regulation (...)

The Bulgarian Supreme Administrative Court partially upholds the decision of the Bulgarian Competition Authority finding an abuse of dominance on the market for electricity distribution and accessory services (CEZ Distribution Bulgaria)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 10 May 2010 the five-member panel of the Bulgarian Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) pronounced its final word in abuse of dominance case brought by the Bulgarian Competition Authority (CPC) against the electricity distributor CEZ Distribution Bulgaria. The proceedings were prompted by the (...)

The Competition Authority of Bosnia & Herzegovina initiates an investigation into potential margin squeeze practices of the incumbent telecom operators (BH Telecom / Telekomunikacije Republike Srpske)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 16 February 2010 the Competition Authority of Bosnia & Herzegovina (KV) opened an investigation into the potential margin squeeze practices applied by the incumbent telecom operators BH Telecom and Telekom RS. The investigation was prompted by the complaint submitted by the independent (...)

The Belgian Competition Council rejects a complaint of abuse of dominance in the beer distribution sector (Inbev)
Liège University - IEJE
,
KBC Assurance
1. The Parties The plaintiffs in this case are, on the one hand, the Flanders and Walloon HORECA (that is the Federation of Hotels, restaurant and catering professionals) and, on the other hand, several bars owners. The action is brought against Inbev Belgium plc (“Inbev”), a subsidiary of (...)

Mergers

The UK OFT considers that large shareholdings do not always mean ability materially to influence policy (RREEF/Kelda)
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
Summary In taking this first stage decision the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) had to decide whether the acquisition of a minority stake in the parent of a water and sewerage company would engage compulsory merger reference requirements, because the parent company of the manager of the acquiring (...)

The European Court of Justice sets aside the first judgment of the General Court annulling a commitment decision and dismisses breaches of the principle of proportionality and due process standards by the Commission (Alrosa, De Beers)
Université Catholique de Louvain
Alrosa, negotiated procedures and the procedural economy/due process conundrum – one step forward, three steps back?* Friends of the blogosphere: greetings! There was something refreshing in the judgment rendered in 2007 by the General Court (GC) in the Alrosa case (T-170/06). If somewhat (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a merger in phase I without remedy in the electrical material wholesaling distribution sector (C3F - Sonepar France)
Deloitte (Diegem)
On the 29th June 2010 the French Competition Authority (“Autorité de la concurrence”) cleared the acquisition of exclusive control of the undertaking “C3F” by “Sonepar France” without attaching any further commitments. The notified operation, formalised by a protocol signed on the 26th March 2010, (...)

The European Commission refers the assessment of the acquisition of Romanian and Bulgarian daily consumers goods retailers by German retailer to the competition authorities of Bulgaria and Romania (Lidl/Plus Bulgaria/Plus Romania)
"Mergers: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2010"* On 28 June the Commission referred the assessment of the acquisition of Plus Bulgaria and Plus Romania by the German retailer Lidl to the competition authorities of Bulgaria and Romania, at their request. Plus Romania and Plus (...)

The Austrian Cartel Court imposes fine for gun-jumping
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
According to a press release of the Austrian Competition Authority of 22 June 2010, the Austrian Cartel Court has imposed a fine of € 5,000 on a company belonging to an international group of companies that had put a concentration into effect without prior notification to the Austrian (...)

The UK OFT decides on material influence through meeting attendance and board membership (RREEF Pan-European Infrastructure Fund/Kelda Holdings)
Dechert (Brussels)
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) decision in RREEF Pan-European Infrastructure Fund LP / Kelda Holdings Limited confirms that the OFT’s material influence assessment relies “on the facts not the legal form”. Infrastructure Saxon sarl (Saxon) increased its stake in Kelda Holdings (Kelda) to (...)

The EU Commission approves the creation of a joint venture between French incumbent railway operator and UK railways company (SNCF / LCR / Eurostar )
"Mergers: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2010"* The Commission approved on 17 June the proposed creation of the ‘New Eurostar’ joint venture by the French incumbent railway operator SNCF and London Continental Railways (LCR) of the UK. SNCF provides rail passenger and freight (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority investigates a merger between to book wholesalers on specific grounds but decides to take no further action (Bonnierförlagen/Pocket Grossisten)
Vinge (Stockholm)
,
Cosmetics Europe
Introduction Further to a complaint from a competitor in a case that did not fall within the Swedish merger control notification thresholds, the Swedish Competition Authority decided to request the submission of a notification based on a clause in the Competition Act according to which the (...)

The Greek Competition Authority conditionally clears service station merger (Shell Hellas, Motor Oil Hellas Corinth Refineries)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 11 June 2010, the Greek Competition Authority conditionally cleared the acquisition of Shell Hellas by Motor Oil Hellas Corinth Refineries. The Competition Authority held that the transaction, as initially notified, would create or strengthen a dominant position on certain retail markets (...)

The European Commission partially approves a proposed acquisition of a company active in the production and sale of aggregates and refers part of the assessment to the French and Czech authorities (Eurovia/Tarmac)
"Mergers: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2010"* On 10 June the Commission approved part of the proposed acquisition of the aggregates business of Tarmac, belonging to the UK-based Anglo American group, by Eurovia, belonging to the French Vinci group. The Commission found that (...)

The Japan Fair Trade Commission clears, subject to remedies, an acquisition in the analytical instruments markets (Agilent Technologies / Varian)
Japan Fair Trade Commission (Tokyo)
The Proposed Acquisition of Shares of Varian, Inc. by Agilent Technologies, Inc.* The Japan Fair Trade Commission (hereinafter “JFTC”) accepted a notification from Agilent Technologies,Inc. (based in the United States; hereinafter "Agilent") with regard to the acquisition of shares of Varian, Inc. (...)

The European Court of Justice orders Commission to pay € 50,000 in damages for errors made in a merger control proceedings (Schneider Electric)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In a recently published order of 9 June 2010, the European Court of Justice set the amount of damages that the European Commission must pay to Schneider Electric SA. This order follows the European Court’s judgment of 16 July 2009 finding that, because of errors made by the Commission in the (...)

The Latvian Competition Council allows merger decreasing competition in meat products market (Rīgas Miesnieks / Jelgavas gaļas kombināts)
Klavins Ellex (Latvia)
Introduction On 8 June 2010 the Competition Council conditionally cleared a merger, imposing certain behavioural remedies, between AS “Rīgas Miesnieks” (Rīgas Miesnieks) and AS “Jelgavas gaļas kombināts” (JGK), two companies involved in manufacturing and sales of meat products. Background Rīgas (...)

The Latvian Competition Council adopts a decision permitting a merger between the leading national meat processing companies (Rīgas Miesnieks / Jelgavas gaļas kombināts)
Competition Council of Latvia
Binding Conditions Set on Merger of Meat Processing Companies* On 8 June 2010, the Latvian Competition Council (CC) adopted a decision permitting a merger between the leading meat processing companies in Latvia – JSC Rīgas Miesnieks and JSC Jelgavas gaļas kombināts. To ensure free choice for (...)

The Latvian Competition Council adopts a decision permitting a merger between the leading national meat processing companies (Rīgas Miesnieks / Jelgavas gaļas kombināts)
Competition Council of Latvia
Binding Conditions Set on Merger of Meat Processing Companies* On 8 June 2010, the Latvian Competition Council (CC) adopted a decision permitting a merger between the leading meat processing companies in Latvia – JSC Rīgas Miesnieks and JSC Jelgavas gaļas kombināts. To ensure free choice for (...)

The French Competition Authority authorises the creation of a mutual insurance group company by three insurance companies (MACIF, MAIF & MATMUT)
French Competition Authority
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. The Autorité de la concurrence authorises the pooling of certain activities of the MACIF, the MAIF and the MATMUT.* In its decision of 2 June 2010, the Autorité authorised the creation of a mutual insurance (...)

The German Federal Court of Justice finds a merger lawful, reversing the Court of Appeal’s prohibition ruling (Phonak/GN Store)
Allen & Overy (Hamburg)
The German Federal Court of Justice (the Bundesgerichtshof or “BGH”) in its decision dated April 20, 2010 held that the intended acquisition by Swiss Phonak Holding (today Sonova Holding AG, hereinafter referred to as “Phonak”) of GN ReSound-Group (“GN ReSound”) from the Danish firm GN Store Nord A/S (...)

State Aid

The European Commission authorizes a € 550 M capital injection provided by Austria in favor of a bank and approves a new restructuring plan (BAWAG Bank)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2010"* The Commission has authorised on 30 June 2010 a €550 million capital injection provided by Austria in favour of the BAWAG bank and approved a new restructuring plan of the bank13. In 2007 already, the Commission had approved a (...)

The European Commission authorizes aid for the restructuring of a Spanish financial institution (Caja Castilla-La Mancha)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2010"* On 29 June 2010 the Commission has authorised aid for the restructuring of Caja Castilla-La Mancha. The Commission’s investigation found that the orderly break-up of Caja Castilla-La Mancha, followed by the sale of the banking (...)

The European Commission authorizes a measure adopted by Latvia to limit the adverse impact of the current financial crisis on exporting firms
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2010"* The Commission has authorised on 10 June 2010 a measure adopted by Latvia to limit the adverse impact of the current financial crisis on exporting firms. The Commission found the measure to be in line with its Temporary (...)

The European Commission authorizes € 16 M of regional investment aid notified by Italy in favor of car manufacturer for the production of car transmissions (Fiat Powertrain Technologies)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2010"* The Commission has authorised on 9 June 2010 €16 million of regional investment aid, which the Italian authorities intend to grant to Fiat Powertrain Technologies S.p.A. (FPT), a subsidiary of the Fiat Group, for the production of (...)

The European Commission adopts a final negative decision concerning an aid granted by Hungary to the national oil and gas company (MOL)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"State aid: main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2010"* On 9 June 2010 the Commission adopted a final negative decision concerning an aid granted by Hungary to the national oil and gas company MOL. In January 2009 the Commission had opened an in-depth investigation [1]. The measure (...)

Procedures

The Finnish Competition Authority accepts commitments to improve access of independent repairers to access to the technical training programs for Mercedes-Benz vehicles (Veho)
European Commission
Finland: Veho’s Commitments to improve Access of independent Repairers to Training made legally binding On 28 June 2010, Veho Group Oy Ab’s (Veho)’s commitments, which had been accepted by the Finnish Competition Authority (FCA) in its decision of 28 May 2010 in order to improve the independent (...)

The Austrian Supreme Court holds that records from competition proceedings cannot be withheld from the public prosecutor in a following criminal proceeding on the grounds of protecting trade secrets pursuant to the anti-cartel Act (Elevator cartel case)
Salzburg University
Background: Following on from the elevator cartel case («Aufzugskartell»), in which the involved undertakings were fined 25 million Euros for breaching Art 81 ECT (Art 101 TFEU), the public prosecutor («Staatsanwaltschaft Wien») brought proceedings against a number of involved persons pursuant to (...)

The Paris Court of Appeals defines and applies a demanding standard of proof for justification of dawn raids targeting press groups (Amaury)
Jones Day (Paris)
Dawn raids vs. the freedom of the press* Paris Court of Appeals, Order of 17 June 2010, Amaury and Others Relying on what seems to be unprecedented reasoning, the President of the Paris Court of Appeals has quashed a judicial order authorizing a dawn raid against several companies belonging (...)

The EU General Court overturns Commission’s refusal to grant third party access to documents in merger control case file (Editions Odile Jacob)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In a judgment of 9 June 2010, the General Court annulled a decision by the European Commission refusing to disclose to Editions Odile Jacob certain documents of the Commission’s Lagardère/Natexis/VUPmerger proceedings case file. In the Lagardère/Natexis/VUPdecision of January 2004, the Commission (...)

The EU General Court imposes a high burden on the European Commission to refuse access to its confidential records (Editions Odile Jacob)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
,
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
,
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
On June 9, 2010, the EU’s General Court (Court) issued its judgment on an appeal by Editions Odile Jacob (EOJ) against a decision by the European Commission (the Commission) refusing to disclose certain documents relating to the Commission’s review under the EC Merger Regulation of the (...)

The European Commission publishes 2009 annual report on competition policy
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 3 June 2010, the European Commission published its 2009 annual report on competition policy. This yearly report gives an overview of the main developments in EU competition policy and major enforcement actions. The 2009 report also dedicates a chapter to considering how the tools of (...)

The Paris Court of Appeals applies the EU "harmless error rule" in a commitment procedure where a party has been denied full access to the French Competition Authority’s file (Canal 9)
Jones Day (Paris)
The harmless error rule and the French commitment procedure* Paris Court of appeals, 1 June 2010, Canal 9 Merely one month before the ECJ delivered its very expected judgment in the Alrosa case, a ruling of the Paris Court of Appeals confirmed that the exercise of the rights of the defense in (...)

The English High Court clarifies approach to be taken when considering striking out competition law claims (Sel-Imperial Limited / The British Standards Institution)
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
With the jurisdiction of England and Wales becoming an increasingly popular forum for competition law claims, potential litigants continue to observe with interest how the peculiarities of English civil procedure will be applied in the competition law context. This case concerned the English (...)

The Amsterdam Court of Appeal holds, after having heard the European Commission’s submissions provided as amicus curiae on the basis of Art. 15.3 Reg. 1/2003, that fines imposed by the EU Commission for breach of competition rules are not deductible from taxable profits (X B.V. Belanghebbende / Inspecteur Belastingdienst)
European Commission - DG HR
,
European Court of Justice
The present judgement from the Gerechtshof Amsterdam (the Court of appeal of Amsterdam) follows the preliminary ruling issued by the European Court of Justice on 11 June 2009 in case C-429/07, Inspecteur van Belastingdienst v. X BV. The case at hand relates to a dispute between company X and (...)

The Bulgarian Competition Authority issues guidelines on commitments
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 9 February 2010 the Bulgarian Competition Authority (CPC) issued the Guidelines on assessment of commitments under competition law (the Guidelines), which contain substantive and procedural rules on presentation, assessment and acceptance of commitments within the framework of investigations (...)

The UK High Court leaves a supermarket chain, found guilty of price fixing by the OFT, move one step closer to trial in its action against former employees and directors in order to obtain indemnity for the penalty incurred (Safeway - Dairy products)
University of Southampton
Background In January 2005 the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) launched an inquiry into the alleged collusion between supermarkets and dairy processors in relation to the price fixing of certain dairy products. Among the parties involved was the Safeway supermarket chain (now owned by Wm Morrison (...)

Regulatory

A Dutch Court of Appeal holds that national legislation on the unbundling of energy network operators infringes the rules on free movement of capital (Delta, Eneco and Essent)
European Commission - DG HR
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European Court of Justice
Essent, Delta, and Eneco are three vertically integrated energy companies active in the production, trade and distribution of electricity and gas. They supply end-consumers through their own electricity and gas networks. Each group’s networks are managed by separate network operators, (...)

The German Federal Cartel Office concludes that there is no need to prohibit long-term gas supply contracts anymore
European Commission
Germany: Positive Development in the Gas Distribution Sector - No Need to prohibit Long-Term Gas Supply Contracts in Germany anymore On 15 June 2010, the Bundeskartellamt has published a report on the evaluation of its decisions on long-term gas supply contracts. In several decisions (...)

The UK Energy Regulator minds to impose £2 million revenue penalty on an electric distribution network operator (EDF Energy Networks)
Energy regulator Ofgem is consulting on imposing a £2 million revenue penalty on EDF Energy Networks following an independent audit into the company’s handling of a power cut in the Dartford area of London last year. The incident affected 94,000 customers, many for more than 24 hours. Background (...)

The Competition Commission of the West African Economic and Monetary Union finds that Senegal infringes the regional competition law by taking actions that foreclose its national market to competition from Ivory Coast raising issues related to the integration process in West Africa (Norme NS-072)
Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition (Munchen)
1 Introduction and background on WAEMU This contribution reports on a case decided by the Competition Commission of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). The decision, Norme NS-72, raises issues at the cross-road of trade, regional integration and competition law. WAEMU is a (...)

The UK Energy Regulator announces that an electricity producer makes payments of £200,000 to two consumer organisations following investigation (EDF Energy/Money Advice Trust - Citizens Advice)
EDF Energy has made payments of £200,000 to the Money Advice Trust and to a Citizens Advice led scheme after a finding by the energy regulator, Ofgem, that the company had breached new regulations setting standards for handling customer complaints. Background The regulator brought in new rules (...)

The Commercial division of the French Supreme Court emphasizes the reliability and independent conduct of price records involving a large amount of products, thereby validating a price comparison website (Carrefour / Leclerc)
EDHEC Business School
The launching, in May 2006, of a price comparison website suggestively named “www.quiestlemoinscher.com” (www.who-is-the-cheapest.com) by the large-scale retail group E. Leclerc marked a significant development in the price war opposing major French large-scale retail groups. This price war (...)

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