May 2007

Anticompetitive practices

The German Federal Cartel Office prohibits waste glass joint purchasing cartel between container glass manufacturers (GGA)
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Berlin)
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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt), 31 May 2007, Gesellschaft für Glasrecycling und Abfallvermeidung mbH a. o., Case n° B 4 - 37203 - Kc - 1006/06 German used packaging recycling systems are currently under the scrutiny of the competition authorities. One week after the Court of First (...)

Ofcom holds that exclusive agreements for the provision of television access services are nor in breach of Art. 81 EC (Independent Media Support - BBC Broadcast - Channel 4)
KPMG (Kent)
Ofcom, 30 May 2007, Complaint from Independent Media Support Limited about BBC Broadcast’s provision of television access services to Channel 4, Case CW/00842/06/05 Summary Ofcom has decided that the exclusive agreements signed by BBC Broadcast Limited to provide Channel 4 Television (...)

The Italian Antitrust Authority opens an investigation under Art. 81 EC for bid rigging in the banking sector (INAIL Affidamento Servizio di Cassa)
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Rome)
On 28 May 2007 the Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) commenced an investigation against Unicredit Banca (UB), Banca IntesaSanPaolo (IS), Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL) and Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS), all primary Italian banks. The AGCM alleges that these banks had been involved (...)

The US Supreme Court redefines notice pleading and clearly raises the bar for plaintiffs in private antitrust conspiracy claims (Bell Atlantic/Twombly)
St. John’s University School of Law
Twombly: The Demise of Notice Pleading, the Triumph of Milton Handler and the Uncertain Future of Antitrust Enforcement* The Supreme Court’s decision in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007) is a watershed ruling whose impact on private litigation, especially antitrust (...)

The US Supreme Court defines minimum pleading standard in antitrust class action (Bell Atlantic/Twombly)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
In a 7-2 decision on May 21, 2007, the Supreme Court held that a complaint alleging antitrust conspiracy based on parallel conduct alone fails to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, No. 05-1126. Further, the Court held that a bare (...)

The Irish Competition Authority settles price-fixing proceedings in the health insurance sector (Irish Medical Organisation - IMO)
London School of Economics
Background The facts of this action have been set out in detail in a previuous e-Competitions Bulletin. Therefore, they will only be briefly called in this contribution. The Irish Medical Organisation (‘IMO’) is an association of undertakings that represents some 2,000 General Practitioners in (...)

The Irish Competition Authority settles an alleged price-fixing dispute in the health sector relating to medical examination reports to life insurance companies (Irish Medical Organisation - IMO)
Baker Botts (Brussels)
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Merilampi Attorneys
Introduction On 28 May 2007, the Irish Competition Authority announced that it had concluded a settlement agreement with the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) on 25 May 2007. The settlement concerns an alleged price-fixing by the IMO in relation to the provision of Private Medical Attendant (...)

The US Supreme Court holds that an allegation of parallel conduct and a bare assertion of an agreement don’t suffice to state a claim of conspiracy under the Sherman Act (Bell Atlantic / Twombly)
Paul Hastings (New York)
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Paul Hastings (New York)
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INTRODUCTION On May 21, 2007, the United States Supreme Court issued an important decision pertaining to the pleading standards in an antitrust action under Section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1. In Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, No. 05‐1126, the Supreme Court (...)

The US Supreme Court affirms the necessity of pleading elements in private antitrust conspiracy claims (Bell Atlantic / Twombly)
University of Indiana - Maurer School of Law
Pleading Consumer Antitrust Claims* The U.S. has long followed a system of private enforcement of law meant to redress public harm. In the law of antitrust, from the very beginning U.S. law provided a claim to plaintiffs who could show harm flowing from the violation. Convincing private (...)

The Hungarian Competition Office finds certain marketing and advertising restrictions on pharmacists contrary to both Art. 81 EC and its Hungarian equivalent (Association of Hungarian Pharmacists)
Oppenheim
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Oppenheim - Budapest
The Hungarian Competition Office (HCO) initiated proceedings against the Association of Hungarian Pharmacists (AHP) in order to verify whether certain rules of the AHP regulating advertising and marketing by pharmacists infringe Article 81 of the EC Treaty and Article 11 of the Hungarian (...)

The Italian Antitrust Authority applies for the first time the new leniency programme by granting complete exemption from fine (Produttori di pannelli truciolari in legno)
Gattai, Minoli, Agostinelli, Partners (Roma)
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Linklaters (Milan)
Italian Competition Authority (Autorità garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato), 17 May 2007, Case I649 - Produttori di pannelli truciolari in legno, Provvedimento n° 16835 ; Bollettino n° 20, 5 June 2007 Four years after the Communication of the Commission on immunities and fines and after (...)

The Italian Competition Authority imposes a fine under Art. 81 EC on an association specialised in collecting data on the circulation of the press for unjustified exclusion of the free press (A.D.S. Accertamenti Diffusione Stampa - Audipress)
Linklaters (Milan)
Italian Competition Authority (Autorità garante della concorrenza e del mercato), 17 May 2007, Case I651 - A.D.S. Accertamenti Diffusione Stampa-Audipress, Provvedimento n° 16808 ; Bollettino n° 19, 28 May 2007 On 28 September 2005, the Italian Antitrust Authority (IAA) opened investigations (...)

The Italian Competition Authority grants a cartelist total immunity for the first time under the new Leniency Notice (Produttori di pannelli truciolari in legno)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
Italian Competition Authority (Autorità garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato), 17 May 2007, Case I649 - Produttori di pannelli truciolari in legno, Provvedimento n° 16835 ; Bollettino n° 20, 5 June 2007 On 17 May 2007 the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) fined eight firms for carrying out a (...)

The Italian Competition Authority grants leniency for the first time, fining 8 companies for a total of € 31 M and granting total immunity to the first leniency applicant (Produttori di pannelli truciolari in legno)
Studio Legale DDPV
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Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Milano)
On 17 May 2007 the Italian National Competition Authority (the «Authority») closed an in-depth investigation concerning an alleged cartel implemented by several Italian chipboard panels’ producers. The relevant product market has been defined as including raw and faced chipboard panels. Being raw (...)

The Northern Irish Competition Commission published a market investigation on personal current account banking services (Which ? complaint)
Hogan Lovells
Overview On 15 May 2007, nine days in advance of its statutory deadline of 25 May 2007, the Competition Commission (the "CC") published its findings in its market investigation into personal current banking services in Northern Ireland. The market investigation was a result of a reference made (...)

The Polish Competition Authority decides to discontinue proceedings instituted against the fixed telephony incumbent and a mobile phone operator by referring to the single economic unit doctrine (Telekomunikacja Polska - Polska Telefonia Komorkowa Centertel)
French National Research Agency (ANR)
In 2003, the Office for Competition and Consumer Protection published a paper entitled “Polish Telecommunication Sector and the Activity of the Anti-monopoly Authority” dealing with competition law violations that occurred in this sector, with particular attention to the behaviour of (...)

The French Competition Authority sanctions several professional associations for having implemented anticompetitive practices on the cereal collection sector (Coopérative drômoise de céréales)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. Sector for cereal collection: The Conseil de la concurrence penalizes 3 farming organisations for having distributed a price table for corn drying and 4 collecting cooperatives for having restricted (...)

The French Competition Council makes use of criminal proceedings to heavely sanction major anticompetitive practices in the course of public tendering (Ile-de-France secondary schools public works)
WTG Events
French Competition Council (Conseil de la concurrence), 9 May 2007, Decision n° 07-D-15, relating to practices implemented in public works of secondary schools in the Ile-de-France region (relative à des pratiques mises en œuvre dans les marchés publics relatifs aux lycées d’Ile-de-France) This (...)

A Dutch Court holds that an exclusive purchasing agreement relating to the exploitation of a service station cannot benefit from the EC block exemptions (BP Nederland v. V.O.F)
European Commission - DG HR
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European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
District Court of Utrecht (Rechtbank Utrecht), 9 May 2007, BP Nederland B.V. v. V.O.F., Case 508927 AC EXPL 07-609 (LJN: BA5375) On 23 September 1994, BP and the defendant concluded an exploitation agreement according to which the defendant obtained the right to exploit BP’s outlet for the sale (...)

The German Federal Court of Justice decides on the effects of legal changes brought by EC Reg. 1400/2002 on automobile distribution networks (Kfz-Vertragshändler III)
Gleiss Lutz (Munich)
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Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy (Munich)
Facts The plaintiff was a former authorised distributor of the defendant automobile manufacturer Bayerische Motorenwerke AG (BMW). In 1996, the plaintiff entered into a contract with BMW for the distribution of motor vehicles manufactured by BMW. This contract was based on a standard clause (...)

The Administrative Court of Appeal of Athens upholds a decision of the Greek Competition Authority condemning eight gas stations for price coordination (Gas stations)
Hellenic Competition Authority (Athens)
The case concerned the fixing of uniform prices from eight gas stations in the region of Arta (Northwest of Greece) during 2003. This practice has been discovered and condemned by the Greek Competition Authority (Hellenic Competition Commission, thereafter HCC) in 2004 (Decision 263/IV/2004). (...)

The Spanish Supreme Court declares that the “atypical agency agreements” between oil companies and Spanish petrol stations come within the scope of Art. 81.1 EC and national mirror provision, after having requested ECJ preliminary ruling (CEEES /CEPSA)
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
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Garrigues
On 4 May 1995, the Spanish Confederation of Service Station Businesses (“CEEES” in its Spanish initials) filed a complaint with the Servicio de Defensa de la Competencia (Lowest branch of the Spanish competition authority), against certain oil companies, including CEPSA. The CEEES complained that (...)

The Turkish Competition Board indicates that the geographical scope of an ancillary restraint should be limited geographically to the “area of operation of the seller before the transaction and its natural sales hinterland" (Cementeire Aldo Barbetti/Çimko)
ELIG, Attorneys-at-Law
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ELIG, Attorneys-at-Law
In Turkey, non-compete obligations may be evaluated under the scope of “agreements that restrict competition” or “abusive conducts of dominant undertakings” (Article 4 and 6 of Law No. 4054 on Protection of Competition (“Law No. 4054”), akin to Article 101 and 102 of TFEU, respectively). However, (...)

The Bulgarian Competition Authority holds than an exclusive and indefinite duration brand licence is valid as it does not aim at restricting or distorting competition but also grants leniency (Unilever - Kaliakra)
In a potentially far-reaching case, the Bulgarian Commission for the Protection of Competition (the Commission or CPC) addressed the balance between licensing rights and competition regulation. In 2000, a well-established Bulgarian producer of vegetal oils and fats, Kaliakra AD (Kaliakra), (...)

The Swiss Federal Council confirms the prohibition of book resale price maintenance (Swiss Association of Booksellers and Publishers, Sammelrevers agreement)
Riesen Law
I. Introduction On May 2, 2007 the Federal Council (Swiss Government) rejected a request for an exceptional authorisation of the “Sammelrevers” agreement based on Art. 8 of the Federal Act on Cartels and Other Restraints of Competition of 6 October 1995 (the "Competition Act") issued by the (...)

The International Competition Network issues a report on co-operation between competition agencies in cartel investigations
Hong Kong’s Competition Commission
"Co-operation between competition agencies in cartel investigations"* The International Competition Network barely needs introduction by now. Created in 2001, this worldwide network of competition agencies, with no concrete headquarters or permanent secretariat, works on substantial and (...)

Unilateral Practices

The UK Office of Communications dismisses a complaint based, inter alia on Art. 81 and 82 EC, on alleged anticompetitive agreement and abuse of dominant position of the public broadcaster for having entered into an exclusive agreement for television access services (BBC / Channel 4)
Paul Hastings (London)
The decision of OFCOM regarding case CW/00842/06/05 concluded that BBC Broadcast Limited (“BBC Broadcast”) did not infringe the Chapter I prohibition of the Competition Act 1998 (the “Act”) or Article 81(1) of the EC Treaty in relation to an exclusive agreement with Channel 4 Television (...)

The European Court of First Instance confirms packaging recycling system incumbent’s abuse of dominance (Duales System Deutschland)
European Commission - Secretariat General
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"The Court of First Instance confirms Duales System Deutschland’s abuse of dominance in the packaging recycling system"* I. Introduction On 24 May 2007 the CFI fully upheld two Commission decisions adopted in 2001 concerning the agreements set up by the German system for the collection and (...)

The Italian Competition Authority accepts commitments in the mobile telephony market closing its investigation against the three mobile network operators under Art. 81 and 82 EC (Tele2 / Vodafone / TIM / Wind)
The Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) continues to use its new powers to issue commitments decisions. Similarly to article 9 of 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 (OJEC L 1, 4 (...)

The Polish Competition Authority finds that a foreign broadcasting company has abused of its dominant position on a local pay-TV market (Discovery Communication Europe)
French National Research Agency (ANR)
In 2002 the Cable Television Chamber of Commerce located in Lodz (Poland) filed a complaint with the President of the Office for Competition and Consumer Protection (hereafter: the OCCP President) against the practices of Discovery Communication Europe, a company being registered in Wisconsin (...)

The Irish Supreme Court allows an appeal against the High Court’s finding of an abuse of dominance in the market for life insurance (Irish League of Credit unions)
London School of Economics
The present case is the first appeal against a High Court decision on substantive competition law matters to come before the Irish Supreme Court. The plaintiff in this case, the National Competition Authority (NCA), initiated this action before the High Court in accordance with the powers (...)

A German Court decides on the interpretation of the provision in German competition law concerning essential facilities (Hafa)
Gleiss Lutz (Munich)
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Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy (Munich)
On 3 May 2007, the German Hanseatic Higher Regional Court of Bremen issued a decision on several questions concerning denial of access to essential facilities. The case concerned the question whether the operator of an exhibition centre was a dominant undertaking in charge of an infrastructure (...)

The French Competition Authority imposes interim measures to address practices implemented by the incumbent operator on the sector of terrestrial analogical broadcasting of TV services (Emettel / TDF)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. Terrestrial analogical broadcasting of TV services: Conseil de la concurrence imposes interim measures against TDF and orders not to prevent TV channels from entrusting to other operators the broadcasting of (...)

The Polish Competition Authority reverses on procedural grounds the Telecom Regulator’s decision having fined the former incumbent for tying Internet and telecommunications offers (Telekomunikacja Polska)
DeBenedetti Majewski Szczesniak
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Bartkowiak Wojciechowski Halupczak Springer
On May, the Polish Court for Competition and Consumer Protection reversed the decision of the President of the Office for Electronic Communications (OEC) imposing a fine of 100,000,000 PLN on Telekomunikacja Polska S.A. (“TP S.A.”) for the unauthorized binding of offers of Neostrada tp (an (...)

Mergers

The Austrian Federal Competition Authority conditionally clears a regional press merger (Moser/Oberösterreichische Rundschau)
Mazars (Brussels)
The operation The Oberösterreichische Rundschau Gruppe (OÖ Group) publishes several weekly newspapers in Upper Austria. Moser Holding AG (Moser) is not yet active in the region but does publish the weekly freesheet "Bezirksblätter" in several regions, some of them bordering Upper Austria. The (...)

The UK Government refers a media merger to the Competition Commission finding that the proposed transaction could raise substantial issues concerning the plurality of news provision for both cross-media and television news (BSkyB/ITV)
The HR Suite
Competition Commission, 24 May 2007, British Sky Broadcasting plc. / ITVplc. Inquiry Summary On 24 May 2007, the UK government referred the proposed acquisition by British Sky Broadcasting Group (“BSkyB”) of a 17.9% stake in ITV plc (“ITV”) to the UK Competition Commission. Alistair Darling, (...)

The US DoJ conditions approval of a merger upon the divestiture of a Canadian subsidiary in order to preserve competition for ’tin mill’ products in the eastern United States (Mittal / Arcelor)
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld (Dallas)
On August 1, 2006, the DOJ announced that it had entered into a consent decree with Mittal Steel Company N.V. and Arcelor S.A., ending its investigation into their transaction. The consent decree required divestiture of Arcelor’s subsidiary Dofasco Inc., operating out of eastern Canada, as a (...)

The European Commission grants clearance, subject to divestiture, to a merger in the music publishing industry (BMG/Universal)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Merger control: Main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2007"* In May the Commission approved the proposed acquisition of the music publishing business of Bertelsmann Music Group(BMG) of Germany by the US-based company Universal. The Commission found that the proposed merger, as (...)

The European Commission conditionally approves merger in the music publishing business addressing the issue of market power of music publishers in view of evolutions in digital music publishing (Universal/BMG)
European Commission - DG CNECT
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Universal / BMG: Market power of music publishers in view of evolutions in digital music publishing"* On 22 May 2007, the European Commission approved, subject to conditions, the acquisition by Universal Music Group Inc. (“Universal”) of BMG Music Publishing (“BMG”). Both companies are active in (...)

The US FTC seeks divestiture of rights and assets to five different medications before approving a merger, which would affect the markets for generic injectable pharmaceuticals (Hospira / Mayne)
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld (Dallas)
The FTC entered into a consent decree with Hospira Inc. and Mayne Pharma Ltd. on May 21, 2007 imposing divestitures on the firms prior to clearing their merger. The consent decree required Mayne to divest its current business in one type of generic pharmaceuticals, as well as the assets (...)

The Greek Competition Commission authorizes a horizontal merger between two companies active in the production of electric power (Iberdrola Energias Renovables / H. Rokas)
European Investment Bank
The case concerns the authorization by the Greek Competition Commission (GCC) of a horizontal merger by way of acquisition within the scope of Article 4b of the Law 703/77 with regard to prior notification of concentrations. I. FACTUAL BACKROUND 1. General In December 2004 Iberdrola S.A. (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority clears a merger in the non-life insurances services subject to limitation of the duration of the non-compete clause (Dogan-TBIH)
Esin
The operation Tracing its beginning to the 1950s, Dogan Holding has been investing in vital sectors of the economy, helping the country and itself to prosper. The Holding Company has an interest in six major business areas: energy, media, industry, trade, insurance, and tourism. In line with (...)

The French Minister of Economy conditionally clears in phase I a merger in the railway laying and maintenance sector (Colas/Spie Rail)
University Paris II Panthéon‑Assas
The operation The operation concerned the acquisition of the Spie Rail company by the Colas company, a subsidiary of the Bouygues group active in the road and railway works. Through this transaction, Colas will acquire the sole control of Spie Rail. Spie Rail is a company specialised in the (...)

The French Minister of Economy grants conditional clearance to a merger in the railway laying and maintenance sector Colas / Spie Rail)
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Paris)
In its decision dated 14 May 2007, the French Minister of Economy cleared the acquisition of the Spie Rail company by the Colas company, a subsidiary of the Bouygues group active in the road and railway works. Through this transaction, Colas will acquire the sole control of Spie Rail. Spie (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority approves the acquisition of an outlet centre holding a fragmented definition of the relevant market (Freeport’s outlet centre/Carlyle group)
Morais Leitão, Galvão Teles, Soares da Silva & Associados (Porto)
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Morais Leitão, Galvão Teles, Soares da Silva & Associados (Porto)
I. Introduction On March 28, 2007, the Portuguese Competition Authority (PCA) was notified of a concentration under which Carlyle Europe Real Estate Partners (Carlyle) notified the acquisition of sole control over Freeport Leisure Plc (Freeport), through a takeover bid of the share capital of (...)

The German Competition Authority finds that where customers have dual or multi sources, a high combined market share does not allow direct conclusions with regard to the creation or strengthening of a dominant position (KLA-Tencor / Therma-Wave)
Compass Lexecon
Summary The German Bundeskartellamt (‘FCO’) found that the proposed concentration does not lead to the creation or strengthening of a dominant position in the provision of thin-film metrology tools, despite the fact that the two parties to the transactions were the leaders in the relevant (...)

The European Commission approves, subject to remedies, an acquisition in the automotive battery sector (JCI/FIAMM)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Merger control: Main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2007"* In May the Commission approved the acquisition by VB Autobatterie GmbH of Germany of the automotive battery business of the Italian FIAMM group. The approval decision was made subject to the implementation of certain (...)

The German Bundeskartellamt cleared a merger in the market for hospital services subject to remedies including the requirement to make capacity available to a competitor (Klinikum Region Hannover/LKH Wunstorf)
Baker McKenzie (Dusseldorf)
The operation On 20 December 2006 the Bundeskartellamt was notified of the proposed acquisition by Klinikum Region Hannover GmbH (“KRH”) of Niedersächsische Lankdeskrankenhaus Wunstorf (“NLKH Wunstorf”) from the State of Lower Saxony. KRH is a 100% subsidiary of Region Hannover, a municipality. (...)

The New French Merger Guidelines 2007
French Competition Authority (Paris)
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DGCCRF (Paris)
Central Office for Competition, Consumption and Fraud Repression, May 2nd, 2007, Guidelines on concentrations control, Procedure and Analysis Direction générale de la concurrence, de la consommation et de la répression des fraudes (DGCCRF), 2 mai 2007, Lignes directrices relatives au contrôle des (...)

The UK Competition Commission cleared a merger in the water sector, subject to a one-off price reduction to customers (Mid Kent Water/South East Water)
Serle Court
The operation Hastings Diversified Utilities Fund (HDF) and the Utilities Trust of Australia (UTA) jointly own Mid Kent Water Limited, which is a licensed supplier of drinking water to customers in the South East of England, in particular in Kent and parts of Sussex. HDF and UTA acquired 100% (...)

The UK Office of Fair Trading refers for the first time a water merger to the Competition Commission which imposed a price reduction remedy (Mid-Kent Water/South-East Water)
Dirty Monty
Introduction By way of introduction, the Enterprise Act 2002, that put in place many changes to competition law in England and Wales, amended the Water Industry Act 1991 to provide that the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) was under a duty to refer the merger/proposed merger of any two or more (...)

State Aid

The Greek administrative Court of appeal rules that interest due in the case of recovery of illegal aid constitutes a distinct category of interest which may not be confused or in any way affected by other types of interest or other provisions of national tax law (Heracles)
International Transport Forum
Factual Background: In 1983, Greece adopted Law 1386/1983 for the organization for the financial reconstitution of undertakings. Law 1386/1983 created an organization operating under the name of Business Reconstruction Organisation, whose purpose was to contribute, inter alia, to the social (...)

The European Commission considers that Prague municipal wireless network project does not constitute State aid (Wireless Prague)
European Ombudsman
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European Commission - DG ECFIN
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"Municipal wireless networks and State aid rules: Insights from “Wireless Prague”"* I. Introduction Access to advanced electronic communications networks and especially broadband services has become a critical component of the economic and social fabric of today’s societies. Despite full (...)

The German Administrative court of appeal finds that the existence of ongoing proceedings led by the EC Commission according to Art. 88.2 EC prohibits access to documents covered by the freedom of information act (Pflegen und Wohnen Betriebs)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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Maersk (Copenhagen)
Brief description of the facts and legal issues The Hamburg Administrative court of appeal holds that documents on ongoing proceedings do not fall within the scope of the Hamburg Freedom of Information Act setting the law on access to file. The existence of ongoing proceedings before the (...)

The Spanish Superior Court of Justice of Madrid denies tax exemption for a compensation for dismissal which had been paid with a State aid (Central Administration)
Hogan Lovells (Madrid)
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Allianz (Brussels)
Factual Background: Appeal by a worker who voluntarily accepted to be paid compensation for dismissal by joining employment regulation proceedings ("ERP"). The funding for the ERP came from state aid. The worker subsequently claimed compensation for unfair dismissal. The appeal was rejected by (...)

A Swedish Court rules on alleged illegal State aid from the City of Stockholm to promote local broadband infrastructure (Thomas Svensson)
Swedavia AB
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Hudson Advisors
Introduction There are no specific rules with regard to state aid in Sweden and the number of cases brought before a Swedish court are few. This, of course, causes a certain amount of unpredictability and uncertainty as regards the application of the EC state aid rules in the national legal (...)

A German regional court holds that Art. 88.3 EC does not confer any specific protection to a competitor and does not entitle the latter to challenge the award of State aid; therefore, the payment of so-called marketing support from an airport operator to an airline company does not constitute an unlawful action to the detriment of a competitor, even if the payment is inadmissible according to EC State aid law (Ryanair 3)
Maersk (Copenhagen)
Factual background The defendant manages the airport of Frankfurt-Hahn. Ryanair is the most important airline flying to and from Frankfurt-Hahn airport, using this airport as its European continental basis. The defendant is 65% owned by a publicly listed company; the Federal States Hesse and (...)

A German regional Court refuses to order recovery of unlawful State aid granted by Frankfurt airport to a low cost carrier (Ryanair/Lufthansa)
McDermott Will & Emery (Düsseldorf)
Background The low-cost carrier Ryanair and alleged State aid granted to Ryanair continue to keep the European Commission and Member State courts in terms of State aid law busy. The most recent example is a decision by the Landgericht Bad Kreuznach. The facts The (...)

The European Commission approves State aid envisaged by the Greek government concerning its participation in the early voluntary retirement scheme in the telecommunications sector (OTE)
European Ombudsman
"OTE is calling: who’s going to pick up this call? Is it for the State? Reflexions on the recent Commission’s State aid decision"* I. Introduction On 10 May 2007, the Commission approved under Article 87.3 of the Treaty the Greek government’s envisaged participation to the Hellenic (...)

The French Administrative appeal court of Douai rejects the claim of individuals based solely on Art. 87 EC judging that the provision has no direct effect (Direction de contrôle fiscal Nord)
Sheppard Mullin (Brussels)
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European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
Factual Background The claimants contested the taxation of an indemnity paid to public servants having changed their regime of mutual insurance. This sum was taxed under Article 160-0 A of the General Tax Code. The claimants argued that the tax led to an infringement of article 3 g) EC and (...)

The Greek Administrative Court of Appeal of Athens annuls a decision of the Regulatory Authority for Energy, finding that the alleged misapplication by the latter of national legislation pertaining to the costs to be incurred in connecting to the electricity transmission system amounted to State aid to the new system user (Public Power Corporation)
International Transport Forum
Parties: Appellant: Public Power Corporation S.A. Defendant: Greece (Minister of Development and Regulatory Authority for Energy) Background information: In 1999 Greece adopted Law 2773/1999 (the so-called Electricity Law), aligning its national legislation with Directive 96/92/EC concerning (...)

Procedures

Antitrust Law and Criminal Law in Italy
University of Catania
1. The regulatory framework In Italy, besides the EC Treaty dispositions and the regulations enacted by the European Community, the normative tools of protection of competition are mainly provided by law 10 April 1990, n° 287 (hereinafter “Law n° 287/90”), which introduces “rules for the (...)

Irish criminal competition sanctions: An overview
London School of Economics
Background The basic Irish domestic competition law provisions mirror Articles 81 and 82 of the EC treaty. Since the coming into force of Regulation 1/2003, the “modernisation regulation”, Articles 81 and 82 EC, as well as the domestic competition provisions which replicate them, are applied by (...)

The US Supreme Court shows to be driven by concerns with burdens of US litigation process according to recent antitrust decisions (Bell Atlantic / Twombly)
Gibson Dunn (New York)
U.S. Antitrust Decisions Frequently Driven by Concerns With Burdens of U.S. Litigation Process* Welcome to our blog! I thought I would start my postings on U.S. developments with a broader point about recent U.S. case law in the antitrust area. Many of the most important U.S. judicial (...)

The US Supreme Court holds that mere parallel conduct in a complaint is insufficient to state a claim of conspiracy under the Sherman Act (Bell Atlantic / Twombly)
Jones Day (Washington)
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Jones Day (Atlanta)
In antitrust, the Supreme Court is on a roll. After giving scant attention to antitrust cases over the last two decades, the Supreme Court has now issued five substantive antitrust decisions in the last 17 months-one of the most intense periods of antitrust activity in the Court’s history. And (...)

An Italian Court awards to a consumer damages amounting to twofold the loss suffered as a result of a cartel among insurance companies after obtaining an ECJ preliminary ruling (Manfredi)
Shearman & Sterling (Rome)
The decision is the final step of the same Manfredi case (ECJ, July 13th, 2006, Manfredi, Joined Cases C-295/04 C-295/04, C-296/04, C-297/04 and C-298/04, [2006] ECR I-6619) which prompted, after Courage (ECJ, September 20th, 2001, Courage and Crehan, Case C-453/99, [2001] ECR I-6297), a (...)

The Czech Office for the Protection of Competition publishes its first guidelines on fines
Government of the Czech Republic
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European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
Office for the Protection of Competition (Úrad pro ochranu hospodárské souteže), Guidelines of the Office for the Protection of Competition on the method of setting fines (Zásady postupu Úradu pro ochranu hospodárské souteže pri stanovování výše pokut) Presumably on 9 May 2007 (see below), the Czech (...)

A French Court of Appeal declares inadmissible an action for nullity carried out by the French Minister for Economic Affairs on the basis of Art. 6.1 ECHR in the framework of its right to act on behalf of victims of restrictive practices (Galec)
Japan Tobacco International (Boulogne-Billancourt)
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Linklaters (Brussels)
In September 2001, after comparing its conditions of purchase for fresh products with those granted to Carrefour by several suppliers, Galec noticed that the sums it received in relation to commercial cooperation services were below those of Carrefour. Galec thus claimed it had been (...)

The OFT uses for the first time home search powers for a criminal investigation into a suspected cartel (Marine Hoses Cartel)
Sanoma
,
Clayton Utz (Sydney)
Introduction On 3 May 2007, the Office of Fair Trading (“OFT”), the National Competition Authority in the UK, carried out a number of on-site searches as part of a criminal investigation into a suspected cartel in the market for marine hoses. These searches were reportedly carried out at two (...)

The Danish Parliament adopts changes to the Competition Act introducing leniency programme and strengthening the Competition Authority’s enforcement powers (2006-07-L 152)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
On 10 May 2007, the Danish Parliament adopted changes to the Danish Competition Act which introduce a leniency programme and strengthen the enforcement powers of the Danish Competition Authority (“DCA”). The amendments enter into force on 1 July 2007. In Denmark, the competition rules are (...)

Regulatory

The UK Competition Commission’s market investigation on the Northern Ireland banking market (PCA Northern Ireland)
RBB Economics (London)
The UK Enterprise Act introduced the market investigation, a new instrument that allows the Competition Commission (CC) to analyse markets in which there is “an absence of effective competition” and, where applicable, to implement remedies . The market investigation powers have been trumpeted as (...)

Public sector

The Supreme Court establishes the liability of a contracting authority to pay damages for the positive contractual interest to a tenderer who would have won the tender procedure if the procurement law had been correctly applied (Ishavet)
Mircea & Partners (Bucharest)
I. Introduction A tenderer who otherwise would have won the procurement procedure, if the procurement law had been correctly applied by the contracting authority shall be entitled to receive compensation for the positive contractual interest. Moreover the liability to pay damages does not (...)

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