May 2004

Anticompetitive practices

The Polish Competition Authority fines € 457.000 a pharmaceutical company and its distributor for price fixing and supply limiting agreements (Johnson & Johnson - COMPOL)
French National Research Agency (ANR)
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Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Washington)
Johnson & Johnson Poland, member of the worldwide group of producing, import-exporting and selling of pharmaceuticals, is in charge of the distribution in Poland of a Swiss made medicine, Eprex. This medicine is used in the treatment of anemia provoked by an insufficient level of (...)

The European Commission fines a producer of collectible products and confectionery popular with young children for preventing parallel imports of stickers and game cards (Topps, Pokemon)
European Commission - DG COMP
"Commission imposes fine on Topps for preventing parallel imports of Pokémon stickers and cards"* 1. Introduction On 26 May 2004, the Commission adopted a decision finding that The Topps Company Inc and its European subsidiaries, Topps Europe Ltd, Topps International Ltd, Topps UK Ltd and (...)

The Japan Fair Trade Commission renders its recommendations against participants in bidding for Surveying and Civil Engineering Consultant Business (Yamagata Prefecture)
Japan Fair Trade Commission (Tokyo)
Recommendation to Participants in Bid for Surveying and Civil Engineering Consultant Business Ordered by Yamagata Prefecture* Based on the provisions of the Antimonopoly Act, the Fair Trade Commission examined participants in bids for business such as surveying and civil engineering (...)

The Administrative Court of Appeal of Athens quashes a decision of the Greek Competition Authority that condemned 22 bakeries for concerted practice (Bakeries)
Hellenic Competition Authority (Athens)
The case concerned the common conduct of 22 bakeries in the region of Fokida (Central Greece) in November 2001. This behaviour has been condemned by the Greek Competition Authority (Hellenic Competition Commission, thereafter HCC) in 2002 (Decision 225/III/2002). Fines of 2% of the total (...)

Unilateral Practices

L’autorité danoise de concurrence censure comme abus de position dominante le non-respect par un éditeur de la réglementation nationale établissant un prix fixe (Gyldendalske Boghandel)
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
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Université Catholique de Louvain
Le droit danois de la concurrence permet à un éditeur de déterminer un prix de vente fixe pour ses nouvelles parutions, prix qui doit être respecté par tous les vendeurs (librairies, supermarchés, marchands spécialisés, etc...). Le législateur danois entendait créer par cette loi une exception (...)

The Polish Competition Authority prohibits an entrepreneur in dominant position to discriminate between national and foreign entrepreneurs (Regional Board of Management of State Forests in Wroclaw)
French National Research Agency (ANR)
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Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Washington)
President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (Prezydent Urzedu Ochrony Konkurencji i Konsumentów), May 21st, 2004, Decision n° RWR-22/2004, concerning the practices of the Regional Board of Management of State Forests in Wroclaw (Press release) Decyzja z dnia 21.05.2004r. (...)

The Greek Competition Commission refuses to adopt interim measures against a refusal to access to a motor vehicle distribution network, the insolvency of the distributor being considered as a valid commercial justification, which is not sanctioned by EC Reg. n° 1400/2002 (Auto Service/Technocar)
University College London
The company Auto Service, member of the Technocar’s motor vehicle distributor network has been informed in 2003 by Technocar that it would not be included in the distribution network, which was re-organized accordingly to the principles of the new Commission Regulation (EC) n° 1400/2002, of 31 (...)

The French Competition Authority fines the telecommunication incumbent for having broken the injunction issued against it as part of interim measures (France Télécom)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. ADSL Broadband Internet Access : the Conseil de la concurrence fines France Télécom 20 millions Euros.* Following a referral by the company 9 Télécom, the Conseil de la concurrence has fined France Télécom for (...)

Mergers

The European Commission conditionally clears a merger in the private security services (4 Falck / Securicor)
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European Commission - DG COMP
"Merger control: Main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2004"* Group 4 Falck, a Danish company, and Securicor, a company based in the United Kingdom, are both providers of private security services. These services include a wide range of activities such as cash transportation, guarding (...)

The Lithuanian Competition Council cleared an acquisition in the strong alcoholic beverages related market with divestiture remedy (Alita/Anyk?čių vynas)
Vodafone (Istanbul)
The operation By a decision dated 27 May 2004, the Lithuanian Competition Council authorized in phase II the acquisition by AB Alita (« Alita ») of 100 % shares of AB Anykščių vynas (« Anykščių vynas »). The market(s) The relevant market has been defined by the Council as the market of buying in of (...)

The Bulgarian competition authority clears the acquisition of the incumbent fixed telecom operator subject to remedies, including ensuring interconnection with other operators and unbundled access to the local loop (Viva Ventures/Bulgarian Telecommunications Company)
Boyanov & Co.
The operation The notified operation consists of the acquisition of a 65% controlling stake by Viva Ventures Holdings GmbH, a special purpose company established by Advent International, in the incumbent telecoms monopoly in Bulgaria - the Bulgarian Telecommunications Company. Advent (...)

The UK Competition Commission cleared a merger in the heathcare sector with remedies, including behavioural undertakings to maintain current products and services and price control (Drager Medical/Air-Shields)
Serle Court
The operation Drager Medical AG (“Drager”) develops, manufactures and sells products, services and integrated solutions for acute patient care, including neo-natal warming therapy products. Air-Shields’ main business comprises the manufacturing of warming therapy devices for infant care. Drager (...)

The Polish Competition Authority clears a merger in the pharmaceuticals sector, subject to a divestment remedy (Sanofi Synthelabo/Aventis)
Clifford Chance (Warsaw)
The operation The acquisition of Aventis by Sanofi-Synthelabo was performed by a public bid. The President of the OCCP, on 18 May 2004, cleared the merger, which led to the establishment of one of the largest pharmaceutical groups in the world (pages 3-5). The market(s) The President of the (...)

The Czech Competition Office cleared in phase II a merger in the bijouterie sector subject to remedies, including assumption of older commitments and maintaining supply conditions (Bijouterie Trading, Swarovski/Ornela, BÈM)
Clifford Chance
The operation Bijouterie Trading Company, akciová spoleènost ("BTC") and Swarovski Bohemia spol. s r.o. ("Swarovski Bohemia") acquired a joint control over ORNELA, akciová spoleènost ("ORNELA"), including its subsidiaries (such as Bižuterie Èeská Mincovna, a.s. ("BÈM")). BTC manufactures and trades (...)

The Austrian Cartel Court cleared an acquisition in the national market for industrial sugar and fruit preparations, subject to behavioural remedies including the obligation to link prices charged to smaller customers to the average prices for larger delivery quantities (Agrana/Atys)
NERA (Berlin)
The operation Agrana Zucker und Stärke AG (Agrana) is one of the leading Central European sugar and starch producing groups. Since 2003 it has also been globally active in the fruit market, which makes up the third core segment of its business. The French company Financière Atys SA (Atys) is (...)

State Aid

The European Commission opens investigation procedure regarding State aid to Polish steel company (Huta Czestochowa)
European Commission - DG COMP
"The Commission opens investigation procedure regarding aid to Polish steel company Huta Czestochowa"* Introduction On 19 May 2004, the European Commission took its first decision outside the interim procedure to launch an in-depth probe into possible aid granted to a company in a new Member (...)

The European Commission adopts a partially negative decision, with recovery, in respect of incompatible export aid granted to a large firm in Italy
Italian representation to the EU
"No export aid to large firms outside the EU"* Introduction On May 19, 2004 the Commission adopted a partially negative decision (not yet published), with recovery, in respect of incompatible aid granted to a large firm, in Italy. The latter was deemed to take advantage of national funding (...)

The European Commission takes a negative decision concerning a State aid of € 500 M euro which the Spanish State holding company granted to publicly owned civilian shipyards (Sociedad Estatal de Participaciones Industriales)
White & Case (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG CLIMA
"A new perspective for Spanish shipyards — reducing distortions in shipbuilding"* Introduction On 12 May 2004 the European Commission took a negative decision concerning aid worth 500 million euro which the Spanish State holding company Sociedad Estatal de Participaciones Industriales (SEPI), (...)

Procedures

The UK Court of Appeal holds that beer distribution agreements containing ties were contrary to Art. 81.1 EC and thus upheld an appeal for damages (Crehan)
London School of Economics
In this well-known case, published for the seek of completness (See J. Derenne and T. Seidenspinner, “The English Court of appeal applies Art. 81 EC and award damages for breach of EC law (Crehan)”, e-Competitions, April 2005, n° 204) , the claimant, Mr. B. Crehan, appealed against the judgment (...)

The UK Court of appeal applies Art. 81 EC and award damages for breach of EC law (Crehan)
Sheppard Mullin (Brussels)
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According to the Court of appeal judgement dated 21 May 2004, national court is obliged under its duty of sincere cooperation to give a great deal of deference to the Commission and is not entitled to reconsider the Commission’s previous decisions even if it thinks that they are wrong. Damages (...)

The Luxembourg Parliament implements EC Regulation N° 1/2003 and "modernises" Luxembourg competition law (Law 17.05.04)
MOYSE BLESER law firm
Since 17 May 2004 (Loi du 17 mai 2004 relative à la concurrence, published in the Official Journal, Mémorial A - n° 76 du 26 mai 2004, entered into force on 29 May 2004) (hereafter: “Law”), Luxembourg has a new law on competition and two competition authorities have been created by the Law: the (...)

"Modernisation" du droit luxembourgeois: La loi du 17 mai 2004 introduit en droit interne les dispositions « miroirs » des Art. 81 et 82 CE et installe l’autorité luxembourgeoise de concurrence
MOYSE BLESER law firm
Depuis le 29 mai 2004, date de l’entrée en vigueur de la loi du 17 mai 2004 relative à la concurrence, le Grand-Duché de Luxembourg dispose enfin d’une nouvelle loi relative à la concurrence et d’une autorité de concurrence. Sept ans, et la forte volonté politique d’un ministre libéral de l’économie, (...)

The Czech Parliament implements EC. Reg. N° 1/2003 into the legal system opening the way to modernisation and harmonization of competition law (Act n° 340/2004)
University Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne
The new principles of the Community law contained in Council Regulation (EC) n° 1/2003, of 16 December 2002, on the implementation of the rules on competition laid down in Articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty (OJEU L 1, 4 January 2003, p. 1-25), were introduced in the Czech law by Act n° 340/2004 (...)

Regulatory

The French Competition Authority delivers a favourable opinion concerning the draft decree on the sale of broadcasting rights for sporting competitions (Minister of Economy)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. The Conseil de la concurrence delivers a favourable opinion concerning the draft decree on the sale of broadcasting rights for sporting competitions.* Asked by the Minister of Economy to issue an opinion on a (...)

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