June 2017

Anticompetitive practices

The German Competition Authority fines two manufacturers of industrial batteries and their representatives for cartel (Hawker)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt imposes fines totalling approx. 28 million euros on manufacturers of industrial batteries* The Bundeskartellamt has imposed fines totalling around 28 million euros on two manufacturers of industrial batteries and their representatives for agreeing between them to levy the (...)

The EU Commission fines three car lighting system producers for cartel (Automotive Lighting / Hella / Valeo)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission fines three car lighting system producers €27 million in cartel settlement* The European Commission has fined Automotive Lighting and Hella a total of €26 744 000 for participating in an automotive lighting cartel, in breach of EU antitrust rules. Valeo was not fined as it (...)

The OECD holds a workshop to address algorithms and collusion issues
Norton Rose Fulbright (Brussels)
OECD workshop addresses algorithms and collusion issues* On June 21-23, the OECD held a roundtable on the theme of “Algorithms and Collusion,” as part of a wider work stream on competition in the digital economy. The OECD roundtable reflects a shift in the debate over the antitrust implications (...)

The UK Competition Authority fines a lighting supplier for price resale maintenance (National Lighting Company)
UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) (London)
Lighting company fined £2.7 million for restricting online prices* A lighting supplier has been fined for requiring retailers to use a minimum price when selling their products online. The National Lighting Company (NLC) supplies light fittings to a range of retailers who then sell them on. (...)

The Belgian Administration implements the EU Damages Directive
Simmons & Simmons (Brussels)
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Simmons & Simmons (Brussels)
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Simmons & Simmons (Brussels)
On 12 June 2017, the Act implementing the EU Damages Directive into Belgian law was published in the Belgian State Gazette. The Act adds a new chapter to the Belgian Code of Economic Law. The EU Damages Directive (Directive 2014/104/EU, the Directive) sets out rules which must ensure that (...)

The German administration adopts significant changes to the German Act against Restraints of Competition
White & Case (Hambourg)
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White & Case (Hambourg)
Today, significant changes to the German Act against Restraints of Competition have entered into effect. This newsletter provides an overview of the most significant aspects of the 9th amendment to the German competition law. Cartel Damages The amendment strengthens the procedural and legal (...)

The U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York dismisses a class action lawsuit alleging a large number of entities and individuals in a cartel case (Sea brent crude oil)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
The U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York recently dismissed a class action lawsuit alleging, among other claims, that a large number of entities and individuals in the market for producing, refining and trading Brent crude oil (together, Defendants) manipulated the prices of (...)

The EU Commission opens a formal investigation into distribution agreements of a clothing manufacturer and retailer (Guess)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission opens formal investigation into distribution practices of clothing company Guess* The European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation into the distribution agreements and practices of clothing manufacturer and retailer Guess. The Commission will examine (...)

The Italian Competition Authority opens a market investigation on Big Data
Shearman & Sterling (Rome)
Introduction On 30 May 2017, the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”), together with the national regulators for communications and data protection, opened a joint market investigation on Big Data. The investigation appears to be wide-ranging, covering not only competition issues, but data (...)

The Italian Competition Authority opens a market investigation on Big Data
Shearman & Sterling (Rome)
Introduction The Italian Competition Authority, together with the national regulators for communications and data protection, opened a joint market investigation on Big Data. The investigation appears to be wide-ranging, covering not only competition issues, but data protection, consumer (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Dutch Competition Authority fines Dutch rail operator for various abuses in winning tender (Nederlandse Spoorwegen)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 29 June 2017, the Dutch Competition Authority (“DCA”) published the non-con dential version of a decision of 22 May 2017 imposing a €40.95 million fine on Dutch rail operator Nederlandse Spoorwegen (“NS”) for abusing its dominant position in the context of a tender for public transport services (...)

The EU Commission fines a multinational technology company for abuse of dominance on the market of online comparison shopping service (Google)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission fines Google €2.42 billion for abusing dominance as search engine by giving illegal advantage to own comparison shopping service* The European Commission has fined Google €2.42 billion for breaching EU antitrust rules. Google has abused its market dominance as a search (...)

The EU Commission imposes a record fine for abuse of dominance in the search engine market (Google)
Simmons & Simmons (London)
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Simmons & Simmons (London)
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Simmons & Simmons (London)
Introduction On 27 June 2017, the European Commission (the Commission) imposed a record €2.42bn fine on Google after finding it had abused its dominant position in the search engine market by giving favourable treatment to its comparison shopping service in its search results. Background (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority rejects a request for interim measures on the pharmaceutical market (Medicare-Market group)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
The Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) has rejected a request for interim measures of the Medicare-Market group* The SA Medicare-Market (hereafter Medicare-Market) filed on 2 June 2016 a complaint against the Order of Pharmacists and requested interim measures on 28 April 2017. The (...)

The EU General Court addresses concepts of vexatious action and abuse of regulatory procedure in judgment upholding rejection of a complaint (Agria Polska)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 16 May 2017, the General Court offered guidance on the concepts of vexatious action and abuse of regulatory procedure in the context of a judgment upholding a Commission decision to reject a complaint brought by Agria Polska and four other companies active in the parallel importation of (...)

The UK Competition and Markets Authority publishes full decision on excessive pricing and focuses on intention and evidence (Pfizer/Flynn)
Simmons & Simmons (London)
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Simmons & Simmons (London)
The CMA’s decision relies heavily on evidence of the parties’ intentions in applying competition rules. On 15 June 2017, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published the full non-confidential version of its decision to fine Pfizer and Flynn a record £84.2m for their excessive and (...)

The Russian Competition Authority issues a warning letter to a multinational technology company to prevent an abuse of dominance (Microsoft)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service
FAS warned “Microsoft” not to create discriminatory conditions* On 13 June 2017, FAS issued warnings to “Microsoft” to stop actions that have signs of violating the antimonopoly law (Clause 8 Part 1 Article 10 and Articles 14.2, 14.8 of the Federal Law “On Protection of Competition”). (...)

The UK High Court of Justice issues an injunction prohibiting an undertaking from selling wireless telecommunications products in Britain due to its failure to enter into a worldwide patent license (Unwired Planet / Huawei)
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Washington)
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Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Washington)
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Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (London)
“Between a Rock and a Hard Place”: Unwired Planet v. Huawei and the Dangerous Implications of Worldwide FRAND Licenses I. Introduction The United Kingdom High Court of Justice (Patents) recently issued an injunction prohibiting Huawei from selling wireless telecommunications products in (...)

The French Competition Authority dismisses a complaint of a railway company accusing the incumbent of abuse of dominance (TRANSDEV)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence examines the state of competition in the coach transport sector and dismisses the complaint lodged by TRANSDEV against SNCF* Having been referred to by TRANSDEV GROUP (TRANSDEV) regarding practices implemented by the SNCF group in the intercity coach transport (...)

The EU Commission opens a formal investigation to assess whether a Romania’s gas has abused of its dominant position (Transgaz)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission opens investigation into gas export restrictions from Romania* The European Commission has opened a formal investigation to assess whether Romania’s gas transmission system operator Transgaz has been hindering gas exports from Romania to other EU Member States. The (...)

Mergers

The French Competition Authority adopts an innovative merger decision in the health care institution sector (Elsan / MPP)
Simmons & Simmons (Paris)
The French Competition Authority (FCA) has adopted an innovative merger decision in the health care institution sector, assessing not only the effects of the operation on medical services (diagnostic and treatments), but also the effects on non-medical ancillary services. An innovative merge (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger subject to remedies in the chemicals market (Huber Silica / Evonik)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Huber Silica by Evonik, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation Evonik’s acquisition of Huber Silica. The decision is conditional on the divestment of some of both companies’ activities related to (...)

The US District Court rejects a "failing firm" defence and blocks the merger of nuclear waste disposal companies (EnergySolutions / Waste Control Specialists)
McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
Federal judge blocks merger of nuclear waste disposal companies rejecting "failing firm" defense* On June 21, 2017, US District Judge Sue L. Robinson blocked EnergySolutions, Inc.’s proposed acquisition of Waste Control Specialists LLC (WCS), applying a strict standard for the “failing firm” (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority clears a merger subject to remedies on the telecommunication market (Coditel / Telenet)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
The BCA has approved conditionally the acquisition of Coditel by Telenet* The Competition College of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) has approved conditionally on 12 June 2017 the acquisition of Coditel Brabant SPRL and her subsidiary Coditel SARL (hereafter ‘Coditel’) by Telenet Group (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger subject to remedies on the markets for debt collection and debt purchasing (Intrum Justitia / Nordic Capital)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Intrum Justitia by Nordic Capital, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Intrum Justitia by Nordic Capital. The decision is conditional on the divestment of the companies’ (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger subject to remedies on the pharmaceutical market (Actelion / Johnson & Johnson)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Actelion by Johnson & Johnson, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Actelion Pharmaceuticals by Johnson & Johnson. The decision is subject to conditions (...)

The Polish Competition Authority imposes a fine of more than EUR 124,000 for gun-jumping (Bać-Pol)
WKB Wierciński Kwieciński Baehr (Warsaw)
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WKB Wierciński Kwieciński Baehr (Warsaw)
In its decision of 5 June 2017, the Polish Competition Authority (Prezes Urzędu Ochrony Konkurencji i Konsumentów, the “PCA”) fined Bać-Pol S.A. PLN 527,000.00 (approx. EUR 124,000.00) for failure to notify of the takeover of a portion of assets of another company called Klementynka. The PCA (...)

State Aid

The EU Commission approves a State aid for construction Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport express rail line (CDG Express)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves French support for construction of €1.3 billion Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport express rail line* The European Commission has approved French support measures for the construction of an express railway line between Paris and the Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport. (...)

The French Council of State rules out as non-compensable losses the recovery, however belated, of a State aid unlawfully granted together with the accrued interest (Le Muselet Valentin)
DLA Piper (Paris)
In its confirmatory ruling issued on 7 June 2017, the French administrative supreme court (Conseil d’Etat, 9ème et 10ème chambres réunies, hereafter the “French Council of State”) dismissed the compensation claims brought against the State by the beneficiary of an incompatible State aid on the (...)

Procedures

The UK Competition authority launches a consultation relating to a new proposal for handling leniency applications
Simmons & Simmons (London)
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Simmons & Simmons (London)
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Simmons & Simmons (London)
On 30 June 2017, the CMA launched its consultation relating to a new proposal for handling leniency applications. The proposed guidance would make the CMA the “first point of contact” for leniency applicants, in an effort to make the existing system clearer for businesses in regulated sectors. (...)

The German Parliament adopts a new amendment to the Act Against Restraints of Competition in order to adapt its competition law to the digital economy
Hogan Lovells (Munich)
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Hogan Lovells (Munich)
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Hogan Lovells (Munich)
On 9 June 2017, the 9th amendment of the German Act Against Restraints of Competition (ARC) entered into effect introducing important amendments for companies to German competition law. The reform deals with two main issues: the implementation of the European Cartel Damages Actions Directive (...)

The Belgium Administration adopts legislation transposing the EU directive on private antitrust damages
Jones Day (Brussels)
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Jones Day (Brussels)
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Jones Day (Brussels)
On June 6, 2017, Belgium adopted legislation ("Law") transposing the EU directive on private antitrust damages (Directive 2014/104, ("Directive")). The Law became applicable on June 22, 2017, and is expected to boost private competition law enforcement in Belgium and should enhance the full (...)

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