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)
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 Indian Competition Authority dismisses allegations of anticompetitive conduct against two film producers and two digital cinema service providers (K Sera Sera Digital Cinema / Pen India)
Vaish Associates, Advocates (New Delhi)
CCI closes case against the producers and presenters of ‘Kahaani-2’ with respect to alleged anticompetitive agreement* CCI vide its order dated June 21, 2017dismissed allegations of contravention of Section 3 and 4 of the Act against Pen India Ltd., Bound Script Motion Pictures Pvt. Ltd., UFO (...)

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)
British Competition 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 Indian Competition Authority fines global automobile manufacturer for resale price maintenance and other anticompetitive conduct in markets for car manufacturing, spare car parts, and car repair services (Fx Enterprise Solutions India / Hyundai Motor India)
Vaish Associates, Advocates (New Delhi)
CCI penalizes Hyundai for resale price maintenance and tie-in* The CCI vide its order dated June 14, 2017 imposed a penalty of INR 87 Crore (Rupees Eighty Seven Crores) on Hyundai Motor India Limited (‘HMIL’) for contravention of Section 3(4) read with Section 3(1) of the Act. The Information (...)

The Polish Supreme Court provides guidance on setting fines for resale price maintenance and recognizes the privilege against self-incrimination in the national competition law (Polifarb Cieszyn – Wrocław)
Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (Warsaw)
Introductory remarks In its decision of 18 September 2006, the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (hereinafter referred to as the ’President of UOKiK’) imposed fines on Polifarb Cieszyn - Wrocław S.A. (hereinafter referred to as ’PCW’) Praktiker Polska, OBI, Castorama, (...)

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 DC)
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)
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 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 Spanish Competition Authority closes proceedings by means of a commitments against a tonic water company in a case related to restrictions of parallel trade (Schweppes)
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
The NMCC has closed with commitments an investigation against Schweppes, S.A. related to restrictions of parallel trade. The Coca-Cola group and Orangina Schweppes Holding B.V. (OSHBV) share the ownership of the Schweppes trademark in the EU. Coca-Cola owns the Schweppes trademark in the UK (...)

The Moldovan Competition Authority fines the state-owned utilities company for abuse of dominance on the water and sewage services market (Servicii Comunale Floreşti)
Faculty of Law - University of Macau
On 29 June 2017 the Competition Council of the Republic of Moldova (CC) fined the state-owned public utilities company for the abuse of dominance in the form of restricting the supply of water and sewage services to the customer that did not agree to install the water meter of certain brand as (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses allegations of abuse of dominance against a public bureau because it does not constitute an enterprise and hence does not fall under the Competition Act (Bureau of Indian Standards)
Vaish Associates, Advocates (New Delhi)
CCI closes allegation of abuse of dominance against the Bureau of Indian Standards* CCI vide its recent order dated June 29, 2017 has closed an allegation of abuse of dominant position against the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS)and the Department of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public (...)

The EU Commission fines a multinational technology company for abuse of dominance on the market of online comparison shopping service (Google Shopping)
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 Shopping)
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 Russian Competition Authority fines a gas producer for abuse of dominance (Gazprom)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
Ingushia OFAS fined “Gazprom Mezhregiongaz Pyatigorsk” Ltd. 140 million RUB* Fines are imposed for infringing the interests of small companies The decisions on abusing dominance were made after investigating several cases upon statements of small companies in the Republic of Ingushetia with (...)

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 Russian Competition Authority issues a warning letter to a multinational technology company to prevent an abuse of dominance (Microsoft)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
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 Indian Competition Authority dismisses allegations of abuse of dominance against government-controlled coal production company due to lack of dominance and lack of jurisdiction in other matters of the case (Singareni Collieries Company)
Vaish Associates, Advocates (New Delhi)
CCI closes allegation of abuse of dominance against Singareni Collieries Company Ltd.* The CCI vide its order dated June 12, 2017 has closed an allegation of abuse of dominant position against Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) in an information filed by Karnataka Power Corporation (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses allegations of abuse of dominance against a company in the market for wireless telecommunications services and holds that financial strength does not by itself constitute dominance (Reliance Jio Infocomm)
Vaish Associates, Advocates (New Delhi)
CCI closes allegations of abuse of dominance against Reliance Jio* CCI vide its orders dated June 9, 2017 and June 15, 2017 closed allegations of abuse of dominant position against Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL). The Informant in the first case was Bharti Airtel Limited (Airtel) and the (...)

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 Indian Competition Authority clears dominant mobile messaging service from abuse of dominance allegations (Fight for Transparency Society / WhatsApp)
Vaish Associates, Advocates (New Delhi)
CCI closes allegation of abuse of dominance against WhatsApp* CCI vide its recent order dated June 01, 2017 has closed an allegation of abuse of dominant position against popular message service WhatsApp. The complaint against WhatsApp was filed by an individual Vinod Kumar Gupta on behalf of (...)

The EU Commission opens a formal investigation to assess whether Romania’s gas transmission system operator has abused of its dominant position (Transgaz)
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 (...)

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 (...)

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 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)
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 acquisition of pharmaceutical company by global conglomerate, subject to commitment that clinical development of innovative insomnia drugs will not be adversely affected by the merger (J&J / Actelion)
DG COMP (Brussels)
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Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness
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DG COMP (Brussels)
J&J/Actelion - falling asleep fast and deeply while staying fully awake on innovation * In a nutshell: The Commission found competitive concerns due to the combination of two development programmes for insomnia drugs, currently in Phase II of clinical trials. These pipeline drugs are based (...)

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)
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 Competition Authority announces fines of € 110 million cannot be collected from a sausage cartel due to its members using an old legal loophole of internal restructuring (Bell Deutschland)
European Commission
"Sausage gap" - Further fines amounting to approx. 110 million euros cease to apply because of internal restructuring measures* In the sausage cartel case the Bundeskartellamt has to terminate further proceedings because the companies were able to make use of a legal loophole which existed (...)

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 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 (Brussels)
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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 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 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 (...)

Regulatory

The Government of India exempts certain smaller mergers from the 30-day filing deadline and eliminates the penalties for "delayed filings"
Vaish Associates, Advocates (New Delhi)
Indian Merger Control-exemption from 30 day filing deadline to CCI- Will it lead to reduction in “Gun jumping” cases?* Much has been written about the recent exemption granted by the Government of India, Ministry of Corporate Affairs vide Notification dated 29 June, 2017 (‘Notification’) (...)

The OECD holds a roundtable on competition issues in aftermarkets
OECD - Competition Division
Aftermarkets are widespread across the economy. From a competition perspective, the manufacturer of the primary good is often a major supplier in the aftermarket and may enjoy market power in the secondary market, which raises questions as to whether antitrust intervention is warranted to (...)

The OECD holds a roundtable on rethinking the use of traditional antitrust enforcement tools in multi-sided markets
OECD - Competition Division
A key challenge for competition agencies, particularly in digital markets, is the multi-sided nature of some of the markets that they analyse. In June 2017 the OECD held a hearing to look at an important question that competition agencies face: Are the tools traditionally used to define (...)

The OECD holds a roundtable on algorithms and collusion
OECD - Competition Division
The combination of data with technologically advanced tools such as pricing algorithms and machine learning is increasingly changing the competitive landscape in the digital markets. There is a growing number of firms using computer algorithms to improve their pricing models, customise services (...)

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