May 2013

Anticompetitive practices

The Hungarian Competition Authority discontinues the proceedings concerning the practice of recommended end-user prices contained in contracts with cash-register services providers (ALT CASH)
Hungarian Competition Authority (Budapest)
The GVH terminated its proceedings against ALT CASH Kft.* The Hungarian Competition Authority (hereinafter: GVH) terminated the proceedings it had initiated against ALT CASH Kereskedelmi és Szolgáltató Kft. for a suspected infringement of the prohibition of restrictive agreements. Based on the (...)

A U.S. Court of Appeals narrows the state action exemption (North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners)
Jones Day (Washington)
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Jones Day (Washington)
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Columbia University
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that North Carolina’s Dental Board cannot ban non-dentists from offering teeth-whitening service, upholding the Federal Trade Commission’s finding that the practice was anticompetitive. The ruling represents the FTC’s latest victory in its push to (...)

The European Court of Justice dismisses appeal against General Court judgment in acrylic glass cartel case (Quinn Barlo)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 30 May 2013, the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) handed down its judgment dismissing an appeal brought by three companies within the Quinn Group (Quinn Plastics GmbH, Quinn Plastics NV and Quinn Barlo) against an earlier General Court (“GC”) judgment which had reduced the fine imposed by (...)

The EU Advocate General Sharpston issues opinions in three appeals against General Court’s judgments on industrial bags cartel (Groupe Gascogne, Kendrion)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 30 May 2013, Advocate General Sharpston issued her opinions in the appeals lodged by Groupe Gascogne SA, Gascogne Sack Deutschland GmbH (formerly Sachsa Verpackung) and Kendrion NV against judgments of the General Court (“GC”) concerning appeals against the European Commission’s (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines a notary association for adopting a decision of an association of undertakings aimed at reintroducing minimum tariffs (Order of Notaries of Milan)
University of Bologna
The Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) has fined the Order of notaries of Milan a total of 99,403 euro for adopting a decision aimed at limiting the autonomy in the determination of individual notaries’ remuneration by reintroducing repealed minimum tariffs. The aim of the deliberation that (...)

The Romanian Competition Council issues a report on inquiry into multilateral interchange fees in payment cards sector
European Commission (Brussels)
Romania: Report on Inquiry into Multilateral Interchange Fees in Payment Cards Sector* On 22 February 2011, the Romanian Competition Council (RCC) opened an inquiry into the card payment services sector. The findings of this inquiry were presented in a final Report published on 30 May 2013. (...)

The French Competition Authority fines four distributors of commodity chemicals operating in France for price coordination and customer allocation (Brenntag, Caldic Est, Univar and Solvadis)
Herbert Smith Freehills (Paris)
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In a decision dated 29 May 2013, the French Competition Authority (hereinafter, the "FCA") imposed a total fine of more than €79 million on the members of a cartel formed by the four major distributors of commodity chemicals (solvents, alcohols, acids, ethers, bleach etc…) in France. The (...)

The French Competition Authority fines € 79 M four distributors of commodity chemicals for engaging in cartel behavior (Brenntag, Caldic Est, Univar and Solvadis)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 29 May 2013, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) fined four distributors of commodity chemicals — Brenntag, Caldic Est, Univar and Solvadis — a total of € 79 million for engaging in cartel behaviour. The FCA found that, between 1998 and mid-2005, the parties had operated a cartel to (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority imposes fine of over € 6.4 M on 22 distributors of sanitary ware and plumbing materials (Almacenes Metalurgicos)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 29 May 2013, the Spanish National Competition Commission (“CNC”) issued a decision fining 22 distributors of sanitary ware and plumbing materials for cartel behaviour in the wholesale market for materials used in the installation, maintenance and repair of pipes for water and other (...)

The Chinese NDRC and China’s Civil Aviation Authority hold discussions with representatives of the IATA on an antitrust immunity programme for airline alliances
King & Wood Mallesons (New York)
Chinese Regulators Contemplate Antimonopoly Immunity Scheme for Airline Operators * On May 29, 2013, the National Development and Reform Commission (“NDRC“) and the Civil Aviation Administration of China (“CAAC“) held a seminar discussing the potential issues in setting up an antimonopoly immunity (...)

The German Competition Authority takes a critical view of the agreement on the German banking sector as regards the existing electronic cash card payment system (ELV)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Electronic cash card payment system of German banking sector raises competition concerns* The Bundeskartellamt takes a critical view of the agreement of the German banking sector on the existing electronic cash card payment system. Today the authority communicated its (preliminary) concerns to (...)

The New Zealand Commerce Commission issues a formal warning against attempt to fix prices for sanding and polishing services in the Taranaki region (Ansell Flooring)
New Zealand Commerce Commission
Press releases published on New Zealand Commerce Commission Taranaki flooring company warned over attempts to fix prices* The Commerce Commission has issued a formal warning to flooring company Ansell Flooring Limited for attempting to fix prices for sanding and polishing services in the (...)

The Canadian Competition Bureau recognizes the importance of competition audits for increasing the effectiveness of compliance
Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg (Toronto)
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Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg (Toronto)
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Mars
Conducting a competition law compliance audit: a checklist for corporate counsel* Canada’s Competition Bureau, like other competition enforcement agencies, identifies “compliance audits” as one of the essential elements of a credible and effective competition compliance program. The following is (...)

The Canadian Competition Bureau introduces criminal cartel whistleblowing initiative
WeirFoulds (Toronto)
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WeirFoulds (Toronto)
Hiding in Plain Sight: The Competition Bureau’s Criminal Cartel Whistleblowing Initiative* On May 28, 2013, Canada’s Commissioner of Competition, John Pecman, announced the launch of the Competition Bureau’s Criminal Cartel Whistleblowing Initiative (the “Initiative”), aimed at creating awareness (...)

The Canadian Commissioner of Competition announces the launch of the Bureau’s new Whistleblowing Initiative
Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg (Toronto)
Blowing the Whistle on Cartels in Canada* Cartel enforcement in Canada is heavily dependent on the use of informants. This is explained by two principal factors. First, cartel conduct is, by its very nature, secretive and carried out in the shadows of business life. Second, Canada’s Competition (...)

The French Competition Authority fines cartel among major distributors of commodity chemicals (Brenntag, Caldic Est, Univar and Solvadis)
European Commission (Brussels)
France: The Autorité de la concurrence fines Cartel among major Distributors of Commodity Chemicals in France* On 28 May 2013, the Autorité de la concurrence (the Autorité) issued a decision imposing a total of € 79 000 000 in fines on a cartel between Brenntag, Caldic Est, Univar and Solvadis. (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority imposes fines in three cases of bid-rigging in dutch demolition sector (Kanaalweg, Geuneburg, Bergambacht)
Allen & Overy (Amsterdam)
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Allen & Overy (Amsterdam)
I. INTRODUCTION On 23 March 2010 the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (Autoriteit Consument en Markt, ACM, formerly known as the Dutch Competition Authority, Nederlandse Mededingingsautoriteit, NMa) initiated an investigation into possible infringements by five demolition firms of (...)

The Slovak Supreme Court holds that banks cannot concert to drive a competitor out of the market: an end to the bank cartel case saga? (VUB Bank)
Kinstellar (Bratislava)
This article follows up on our previous articles (Art. N° 37004, Art. N° 38345 and Art. N° 51110) concerning a cartel of three Slovak banks. In May 2011, the Supreme Court in the case of CSOB bank controversially confirmed the decision of lower courts quashing the decision by the Slovak National (...)

The Slovak Supreme Court upholds competition authority’s decision in banking cartel case (Slovenská sporiteľňa, Všeobecná úverová banka)
European Commission (Brussels)
Slovakia: The Supreme Court upholds Authority’s Decision in Banking Cartel Case* On 21 and 22 May 2013, the Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic (Supreme Court) upheld a decision of the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic (the Office) in a case concerning a banking cartel, vis-à-vis two (...)

The EU General Court partially annuls the Commission’s decision relating to a cartel in the marine hoses market clarifying issues on continuous infringements, proof of agreement and attribution of liability for anticompetitive conduct (Marine Hose Cartel)
Vogel & Vogel
On 28 January 2009, the European Commission handed down fines of EUR 131 million to manufacturers of marine hoses for price fixing, market sharing and exchanges of sensitive commercial information between 1986 and 2007. Several of the undertakings in question lodged appeals to the General Court (...)

The French Court of Appeal upholds fine of € 1.34 M imposed on toy distributor for unlawful resale price maintenance (Kontiki)
Van Bael & Bellis
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Van Bael & Bellis
On 16 May 2013, the French Court of Appeal confirmed a decision of the French Competition Authority imposing a fine of € 1.34 million on toy distributor Kontiki SAS for engaging in unlawful resale price maintenance. On 15 December 2011, the French Competition Authority found that Kontiki (...)

The Spanish Competition Commission opens investigation into a car manufacturer for possible anti-competitive practices in the market for the supply of spare parts (Opel)
Van Bael & Bellis
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Van Bael & Bellis
On 16 May 2013, the Spanish Competition Commission (CNC) announced that it has opened a formal investigation into the Spanish subsidiary of General Motors, Opel, for possible anti-competitive practices in the market for the supply of spare parts to Opel’s authorised dealers and repairers. (...)

The Bulgarian Commission for the Protection of Competition draws the line on enforcement track-record in the year 2012
Kinstellar (Sofia)
The Bulgarian Commission for the Protection of Competition (the “CPC”) published its annual report on policy and enforcement in 2012. The account reveals largely steady levels of enforcement activity in the field of anticompetitive agreements and decrease in the number of dominance investigations (...)

The Austrian Cartel Court imposes fine against major retailer and several suppliers for anticompetitive vertical agreements in food retail sector (REWE)
European Commission (Brussels)
Austria: The Cartel Court imposes Fine in Food Retail Case* On 13 May 2013, the Cartel Court (the Court) imposed a € 20 800 000 fine on the REWE Group (REWE) for vertical agreements between REWE and a number of suppliers (Court reference number 25 Kt 29/13). The Court held that REWE agreed (...)

The Albanian Competition Commission rules that economic evidences are not sufficient to prove the existence of a cartel (Sunflower cartel)
Albanian Competition Authority
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Albanian Competition Authority
The views expressed herein are of the authors and do not necessary reflect the official position of Albanian Competition Authority One of the most important challenges of new competition agencies is the dilemma to take into account the indirect evidences during the proving of existing of (...)

The Italian Regional Administrative Court of First Instance partially annuls the Competition Authority in a public procurement case (2iGas Infrastruttura, E.ON Rete, Linea Distribuzione)
Lipani Catricalà & Partners (Rome)
*Italian antitrust administrative case law. Overview of all decisions from April to June 2013 (Second contribution) 1. Premise –This work is the second contribution of a project (hereinafter, the “Project”) aimed to offer a general, quarterly overview of all the decisions of Italian (...)

The Argentinean Supreme Court denies certiorari in case concerning a cartel in the cement market, where one of the largest fines ever was imposed (Loma Negra Compañía Industrial)
University of San Andrés
In 1999, the Argentine Antitrust Agency (Comisión Nacional de Defensa de la Competencia) started ex officio an investigation focused on the alleged cartelization of the cement industry. This investigation was opened after a journalist published an article on a news magazine on the subject and (...)

The Hague District Court considers the duty of sincere cooperation requires a national court should defer its judgment until the EU courts have rendered their final judgment unless a preliminary ruling on the validity of the decision is warranted (Paraffin wax cartel)
Allen & Overy (Amsterdam)
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Allen & Overy (Amsterdam)
I. The Parties The case involves the first instance of a dispute brought before the District Court of The Hague, The Netherlands, by CDC Project 14 SA (Cartel Damage Claims, CDC), a claim vehicle established in Brussels, which has bought the claims of seven customers of paraffin wax in Italy, (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Competition Commission of India finds no abuse of dominance by the hockey regulator (Sh. Dhanraj Pillay)
King’s College (London)
Shortly after the BCCI case (In Re BCCI Case No. 61/2010), the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has taken another decision against a national sports federation. In Sh. Dhanraj Pillay and Others v. Hockey India (Case No. 73/2011) the central issue was Hockey India’s (HI) alleged abuse of its (...)

The European Commission sends statement of objections to an operator for allegedly discriminating against foreign companies in the Romanian market for power exchanges (OPCOM, CNTEE Transelectrica)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 30 May 2013, the European Commission announced that it had issued a Statement of Objections against OPCOM S.A. and its parent company CNTEE Transelectrica S.A. regarding OPCOM’s business practice of requiring OPCOM’s electricity spot market participants to hold a Romanian VAT (...)

The Spanish Supreme Court validates the Spanish Competition Commission’s interpretation of excessive prices (Explosivos de Canarias)
Cuatrecasas, Goncalves Pereira (Madrid)
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Cuatrecasas, Goncalves Pereira (Barcelone)
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On May 29, 2013, the Spanish Supreme Court issued judgment number 2660/2013 on the appeal that Canarias Explosivos, S.A. (“Canarias Explosivos”) submitted against the judgment of the Spanish National Court (Audiencia Nacional) on December 10, 2009. The Supreme Court considered that there were no (...)

The Slovak Supreme Court upholds authority’s decision on prohibition of abuse in ‘green dot’ licencing (ENVI‑PAK)
European Commission (Brussels)
Slovakia: The Supreme Court upholds Authority’s Decision in Banking Cartel Case* On 23 May 2013, the Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic (Supreme Court) confirmed the decision of the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic (the Office) imposing a fine of € 18 394 on ENVI‑PAK, a. s. (...)

The Italian Competition Authority opens an investigation against the incumbent railway operator for breach of Art 102 TFUE (Ferrovie dello Stato)
Bonelli Erede Pappalardo (Rome)
By its decision of 22 May 2013, the Italian Competition Authority (‘ICA’) initiated an investigation against the incumbent Italian railway operator Ferrovie dello Stato group in order to verify if, through its subsidiaries RFI, Trenitalia, Grandistazioni, Centostazioni and FS Sistemi Urbani (...)

The Italian Competition Authority opens an investigation against the incumbent railway undertaking for abuse of dominant position in the high speed rail market (NTV v FS)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
By a decision made on 22 May 2013, the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) has opened an enquiry to establish whether the previous rail monopolist, the Ferrovie dello Stato (FS) group, had abused its dominant position in the market for high speed rail services. The ICA decision was based on a (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority terminates its investigation in connection with the price setting of certified translations and attestation of translations (Országos Fordító)
Hungarian Competition Authority (Budapest)
Investigation against OFFI terminated by the Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH)* On 21 May 2013, the Gazdasági Versenyhivatal (GVH - Hungarian Competition Authority) terminated the competition supervision proceedings that had been initiated against OFFI. The GVH investigated whether the (...)

The Italian Supreme Administrative Court confirms the NCA’s decision imposing a fine against construction materials company for abusing its behavior by aiming to exclude competitor’s entry into the plasterboard market (Saint Gobain)
Lipani Catricalà & Partners (Rome)
*Italian antitrust administrative case law. Overview of all decisions from April to June 2013 (Fourth and last contribution) 1. Premise –This work is the fourth and the last contribution of a project (hereinafter, the “Project”) aimed to offer a general, quarterly overview of all the decisions of (...)

The Israeli Antitrust General Director intends to declare two seaports companies ’an oligopoly’ (Ports of Haifa and Ashdod)
Eshel, Ashlagi, Rozent Law Offices (Bnei-Brak)
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Eshel, Ashlagi, Rozent Law Offices (Bnei-Brak)
On May 16, 2013, according to a press release published by the Antitrust Authority (the "Press Release"), the Restrictive Trade Practices General Director (the "General Director") informed the Ashdod Port Company Ltd. and the Haifa Port Company Ltd., the governmental companies operating the (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a pharmaceutical company for having implemented a strategy of denigrating the generic versions of its branded drug (Sanofi-Aventis)
European Commission (Brussels)
France: The Autorité de la Concurrence fines Sanofi-Aventis € 40 600 000 for denigrating Generic Versions of branded Drug Plavix* On 14 May 2013, following a complaint from the generics manufacturer Teva Santé, the Autorité de la concurrence (the Autorité) imposed a fine of € 40 600 000 on (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines Italy’s largest telecoms operator for creating obstacles for competitors trying to access infrastructure networks (Telecom Italia)
Simmons & Simmons (Milano)
In brief €103.8m fine for Telecom Italia in abuse of dominance case Findings of discrimination against competitors and margin squeeze Italian Competition Authority continues to focus on the Italian telecommunications market, as Telecom Italia faces a difficult challenge to protect its (...)

The US District Court of Miami dismisses claims on monopolization and resale price maintenance on the market for beauty products in duty free shops (Duty Free Americas / Estée Lauder)
Sheppard Mullin (Los Angeles)
Claims of Providing Truthful Marketing Information to Airports Issuing Bids for Duty Free Shops Fails to Allege Actionable Conspiracy or Attempted Monopolization* Conclusory allegations of parallel business conduct which are in the economic self-interest of the actor do not state an actionable (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines a telecom operator for unilateral practices in wholesale broadband markets (Telecom Italia)
European Commission (Brussels)
Italy: The Competition Authority fines Telecom Italia for Unilateral Practices in Wholesale Broadband Markets* On 9 May 2013, following complaints lodged by two Italian telecommunications providers (OAO - other authorized operators), the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) fined Telecom (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines incumbent telecom operator approximately EUR 104 M for ‘constructive’ refusal to supply and margin squeeze (Wind - Fastweb / Telecom Italia)
Bonelli Erede Pappalardo (Rome)
On 9 May 2013, the Italian Competition Authority (the ’ICA’) adopted an infringement decision against Telecom Italia (’Telecom’) fining the incumbent operator approximately EUR 104 million for having abused its dominant position in the voice communications and broadband internet access services (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority rejects a complaint regarding on refusal to supply in the pharmaceutical sector (Roche)
Nestor Nestor Diculescu Kingston Petersen (Bucharest)
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Nestor Nestor Diculescu Kingston Petersen (Bucharest)
On 19 May 2013, following the principles established by the European preliminary ruling in GlaxoSmithKline, the Romanian Competition Council (“RCC”) held that La Roche (“Roche”) did not abuse its dominant position on the pharmaceuticals distribution market. On 24 September 2010, SC Relad (...)

The Bulgarian Competition Authority sanctions electricity supplier for an abuse of dominance in the form of temporary suspension of supply for accumulated debts (NERGO PRO Sales AD)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 11 July 2013 the Bulgarian Competition Authority (CPC) prosecuted the dominant electricity supplier ENERGO PRO Sales AD (EP Sales) for an abuse of dominant position in the form of temporary termination of supply for the accumulated debts of its consumer – Water and Sewage Services Dobrich (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority follows case law precedent and finds no abuse of dominance on the pharmaceuticals distribution market (Roche)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 8 May 2013 the Romanian Competition Authority (CC) concluded its investigation into the alleged abuse of dominant position in the pharmaceuticals wholesale market. Finding no evidence that would demonstrate that the manufacturer attempted to prevent the re-importation of its products into (...)

The EU Commission sends statement of objections to a telecom operator over standard essential patents (Motorola Mobility)
Van Bael & Bellis
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White & Case (Brussels)
On 6 May 2013, the European Commission announced that it had formally sent Motorola Mobility a Statement of Objections (SO) over the company’s alleged misuse of mobile phone standard essential patents (SEPs). The Commission believes that Motorola Mobility abused its dominant position in (...)

Mergers

The Chinese Ministry of Information and Industry Technology pushes for consolidation and restructuring of China’s milk powder sector
China Competition Bulletin (Beijing)
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China Competition Bulletin (Beijing)
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Institute of American Studies
In response to the loss of market share and consumer confidence in domestic milk powder brands due to the 2008 milk powder scandal, the MIIT announced that it will strongly promote the consolidation and restructuring of the milk powder sector over the next two years. It aims to have 10 (...)

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets permits the establishment of a joint venture between undertakings in the healthcare sector, and clarifies when under the Dutch Competition Act a minority shareholder may exercise joint control over a concentration (Star MDC – Reinier de Graaf Groep)
Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs
Introduction On 30 May 2013 the Dutch Authority for Consumers & Markets (Autoriteit Consument & Markt, ACM) issued a decision clearing the establishment of a joint venture by two undertakings in the healthcare sector. The foundations Stichting Star-Medisch Diagnostisch Centrum (Star (...)

The Turkish Competition Board authorizes the acquisition of a Turkish water supplier by a multinational company (Sirma / Danone)
Erdem & Erdem
The Turkish Competition Board (“Board’’) authorized the acquisition of 51% of the shares of Sırmagrup İçecek Sanayi ve Ticaret A.Ş. (“Sırma’’) by Danone SA (“Danone’’), since this transaction does not create a dominant position or strengthen an existing dominant position in the relevant market. Parties to (...)

The French Competition Authority examines the creation of a joint venture in the animal nutrition sector after a referral of the European Commission (Glon Sanders & Euralis)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. The Autorité de la concurrence will examine the creation of a joint venture by Glon Sanders (subsidiary of Sofiprotéol) and the Euralis cooperative group*. At the request of the undertakings, the European (...)

The Danish Competition Council approves modification of merger commitments in relation to an acquisition on the market for supply of pure alcohol (Arcus / Pernod Ricard)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
The Danish Competition Council Approves a Modification of Commitment by Arcus-Gruppen Holding AS to Sell the Aquavit Brand ’’Brøndums’’ On September 26 2012 The Danish Competition Council (“DCC”) cleared the acquisition of Pernod Ricard Denmark A/S by Arcus-Gruppen Holding AS (“Arcus”). The DCC’s (...)

The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority welcomes Market Court decision (Uponor/KWH)
Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA)
Competition and Consumer Authority welcomes Market Court decision in Uponor/KWH matter* The Finnish Market Court decided in its ruling on May 24, 2013 to set stringent conditions for a corporate acquisition deal by Uponor and KWH Group. The court ruled in accordance with a proposal made by the (...)

The Finnish Market Court conditionally approves a merger in the plumbing and indoor climate systems sector and rejects the Competition Authority’s proposal to block the creation of a joint venture (Uponor / KWH)
Roschier (Helsinki)
On 24 May 2013 the Finnish Market Court handed down its first decision in a case utilising the recently enacted New Competition Act and the so-called SIEC (significant impediment of effective competition) test. The Market Court broke ground on many levels when it rejected the Competition and (...)

The Lithuanian Competition Council approves an acquisition on the market for TV-broadcasting (LNK & Baltijos)
Lithuanian Competition Authority (Vilnius)
LNK Television acquires Baltijos Television* On 22 May 2013, the Competition Council (Konkurencijos taryba, KT) cleared a merger wherein UAB Laisvas ir nepriklausomas kanalas (LNK) acquired 100 per cent of UAB Baltijos TV (BTV) shares. LNK is engaged in broadcasting of television programs in (...)

The Brazilian CADE analyzes two international mergers with intense cooperation with EU DG-Competition indicating a new approach for international merger review in Brazil (Mach/Syniverse, Munksjö/Ahlstrom)
Brasilian Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) (Brasilia)
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Vinicius Marques de Carvalho Advogados (VMCA) (Sao Paulo)
CADE has recently analyzed two international mergers with intense cooperation with DG-Competition. In fact, these two cases reflect the advances brought by new Competition Law. In the previous law, CADE would only analyze cases after their approval by other jurisdictions. With the institution (...)

The President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection clears a merger on the LPG distribution market in Poland and imposes a set of remedies, including behavioural (Gaspol/Orlen Gaz)
Markiewicz & Sroczynski
I. The Facts On 25 July 2012 Gaspol S.A. with its seat in Warsaw (“Gaspol”) notified the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (“OCCP”) of its intention to acquire the business of bottled liquified petroleum gas (“LPG”) from Orlen Gaz Sp. z o.o. with its seat in Plock (“Orlen (...)

The Polish Competition Authority gives conditional consent to a merger in the retail of bottled gas sector (Gaspol / Orlen Gaz)
WKB Wierciński Kwieciński Baehr (Warsaw)
In its decision of 20 May 2013, the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (the “OCCP President” or the “PCA”) has given her conditional consent for Gaspol to acquire a part of assets of Orlen Gaz. Both undertakings operate on the sales market of bottled gas. Gaspol applied (...)

The Italian Competition Authority clears a vertical merger between the manager of the airports of Rome and the suppliers of travel retail and catering services (Atlantia-Gemina)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
The Italian Competition Authority (ICA) has recently reviewed the merger between the Gemina group that owns ADR, the manager of the Rome’s airports of Fiumicino and Ciampino and Atlantia owned by the Edizione group whose subsidiaries WDFG and Autogrill are active in the airport retail sector. (...)

The US FTC requires divestiture of production and intellectual property assets before clearing an acquisition in the market for desktop hard drives (Western Digital / Hitachi GST)
Sheppard Mullin (New York)
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WilmerHale (Washington)
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US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
On May 8, 2012, Western Digital Corporation (“Western Digital”) completed its acquisition of Viviti Technologies (formerly, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies Ltd., or, “Hitachi GST”) for approximately $4.8 billion, after the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) approved a consent order requiring (...)

The Irish Competition Authority clears a merger between a pre-wholesaler and a wholesaler of pharmaceutical, healthcare and veterinary products (Uniphar & CMR)
Irish Competition Authority
Competition Authority clears proposed acquisition of CMR by Uniphar* The Competition Authority has cleared the proposed transaction whereby Uniphar plc would acquire Cahill May Roberts Limited. The transaction was notified by the parties under the Competition Act 2002 on 12 December 2012 and (...)

State Aid

The EU Commission clarifies the relation between Altmark criteria and public procurement rules (SNCM Corse-Méditerranée)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on Lexxion State Aid Blog. Altmark and Public Procurement: Definition and Award of Contracts* Introduction Ever since the Court of Justice ruled on Altmark ten years ago there has been a growing literature on the specific conditions that have to be satisfied so that public (...)

The EU Court of Justice dimisses the appeal of the Commission in relation to the failure to act as regards a state aid measure allegedly granted to Italian airlines (Ryanair)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on Lexxion State Aid Blog Exceptional Circumstances, Natural Disasters, Commercial Risk and Rights of Complainants* Rights of Complainants Concerning Unlawful Aid: Case C-615/11 P, European Commission v Ryanair, 16 May 2013 The European Commission appealed against the (...)

The EU Commission approves the scheme for compensation of damage caused by future natural disasters (Valle d’Aosta)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on Lexxion State Aid Blog Exceptional Circumstances, Natural Disasters, Commercial Risk and Rights of Complainants* Natural disasters: Commission Decision SA.36027 on compensation of damage caused by future natural disasters in Valle d’Aosta (IT) This is an unusual measure (...)

The EU Court of Justice decides that the Flemish tax incentives and subsidy mechanisms are liable to be classified as state aid (Eric Libert)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Restrictions on Sale of Land and Social Housing* Introduction This posting reviews the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union in two joined cases: Eric Libert, et al v Gouvernement Flamand, (C-197/11) and All Projects & Developments NV and Others v Vlaamse Regering, (...)

The European Commission issues a state aid decision concerning compensation for the provision of SGEI and orders the immediate and effective recovery of the illicit aid (Marseille -Corsica ferries)
Mircea & Partners (Bucharest)
Introduction The decision in discussion was issued by the European Commission on 2 May 2013 and established that the public service delegation contract for passenger shipping services between Marseille and Corsica did not satisfy the four cumulative conditions set out in Altmark. The (...)

Procedures

The Romanian Competition Council releases the report in relation to the payment cards market
Kinstellar (Bucarest)
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OMV Petrom
Introduction In 2011, the Romanian Competition Council (the “RCC”) launched a sector inquiry in relation to the market focused on: (i) how the interchange fees on the payment cards market are established; (ii) how the level of interchange fees and the taxes paid by the merchants to the (...)

The Moroccan Competition Council defines its analytical framework for abuse of economic dependence cases when examinating a complaint related to luxury hotels market (JK.hotel / Oriental Mandarin)
Moroccan competition Authority
The Moroccan Competition Council has recently had the opportunity to decide for the first time on an abuse of economic dependence case. This infringement widely inspired from the German and French regulations is framed by the article 7 of the law n° 06-99 on freedom of prices and competition. (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit reverses a federal district court’s denial of class certification (Levya/Medline Industries)
Cohen Milstein (Washington)
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Cohen Milstein (New York)
Present and former employees of a medical products manufacturer sued under California labor and unfair practice laws for various time calculation practices that allegedly reduced their pay. The district court denied class certification on the basis that damage amounts for each employee would (...)

The Canadian Competition Bureau launches the "Whistleblowing Initiative" in order to encourage the general public and the business community to report suspected violations of the Competition Act
Steve Szentesi Law Corporation
New Competition Act Whistleblowers Page* Given the recently increased focus on criminal competition law matters (e.g., cartels) and whistleblowing, the latter in the competition law world and corporate crime area generally, I thought I would launch a new whistleblowing page on the blog. A (...)

The European Commission releases 2012 report on competition policy
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 28 May 2013, the European Commission released its annual Report on Competition Policy for 2012. The Commission relies on its Report to illustrate that without an effective European competition policy, the internal market cannot deliver its full economic potential. Private barriers to (...)

The US Supreme Court agrees to review a judicial decision as regards a suit alleging state consumer protection and antitrust claims against manufacturers and distributors of LCD panels (Mississippi/AU Optronics)
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
Removability of Parens Patriae Antitrust Actions Under CAFA To Be Considered by U.S. Supreme Court* It appears that the U.S. Supreme Court will soon resolve a split among the circuits on the issue of whether parens patriae actions can be removed from state court as “mass actions” under the Class (...)

The Canadian Competition Bureau releases action plan on transparency
Canadian International Joint Commission
Introduction Canada’s Competition Bureau (the “Bureau”), an independent law enforcement agency that assists the commissioner of competition in the administration and enforcement of the Competition Act, released its Action Plan on Transparency (the “Plan”) on 28 May 2013. According to the (...)

The US Ninth Circuit reverses an order denying class certification of plaintiffs’ claim for pay discrimination based on national origin (Parra/Bashas)
Cohen Milstein (Washington)
,
Cohen Milstein (New York)
Grocery store employees brought a class action alleging discrimination based on race and national origin. Defendants argued that there was no predominance of common questions, asserting that the Supreme Court’s Comcast decision precluded a finding of predominance because individual damage (...)

The US Eastern District of Kentucky denies class certification due to individual damage calculation (Cowden/Parker)
Cohen Milstein (Washington)
,
Cohen Milstein (New York)
Individual insurance agents brought a class action against their insurance agency employer, asserting that the agency had agreed to pay its agents a commission on certain health insurance plans but had refused to pay them. The court denied class certification, reasoning that under Comcast, (...)

The US District Court for the Eastern District of Tennesse denies motion to dismiss in antitrust case brought against drug makers (Skelaxin -Metaxalone- Antitrust Litigation)
Cohen Milstein (Washington)
,
Cohen Milstein (New York)
Plaintiff drug purchasers brought suit under federal and state antitrust laws, contending that the defendants had engaged in an unlawful scheme calculated to raise and maintain the prices of the drug Skelaxin through sham litigation, the filing of sham citizen petitions and unlawful horizontal (...)

The US Eastern District of Michigan certifies a class for liability only (Miri/Dillon)
Cohen Milstein (Washington)
,
Cohen Milstein (New York)
The plaintiffs, a Michigan brew pub and its owner, brought a class action asserting that standard practices of the Michigan Treasury Department, involving issuance of warrants without judicial approval and search and seizure of property without advance notice, involve routine violations of due (...)

A U.S. District Court interprets the Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act to preclude antitrust claims by a Chinese manufacturer against its Chinese competitor (Lotes v. Foxconn)
University of Indiana - Maurer School of Law
,
Clements & Shackle LLC
Lotes Co., a manufacturer of USB devices, sued its competitor Foxconn in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York alleging violations of Section One and Section Two of the Sherman Act. Lotes competes directly with Foxconn in the market for making and selling USB (...)

The US District Court for the Northern District of California certifies class action underlying that the predominance element “does not require a plaintiff to prove that each element of her claim is susceptible to class wide proof” (Diamond Foods Securities Litigation)
Cohen Milstein (Washington)
,
Cohen Milstein (New York)
Shareholders of a nut processing, marketing and distributing company brought a class action under the federal securities laws, asserting that the company had maintained artificially high share prices by understating the cost of walnuts. Defendants argued that the plaintiff had failed to (...)

The French Competition Authority acknowledges it does not have jurisdiction over decisions made by bodies which are not economic operators (Conseil supérieur des messageries de presse)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. The Autorité de la concurrence does not have jurisdiction over decisions made by the Conseil supérieur des messageries de presse (CSMP)*. The Autorité de la concurrence today issued a decision whereby it (...)

The French Competition Authority launches a market test on multilateral interchange fees for domestic card transactions (Mastercard and Visa)
European Commission (Brussels)
France: The Autorité de la Concurrence market tests Visa and MasterCard’s Commitments to reduce Multilateral Interchange Fees for Domestic Card Transactions* On 6 May 2013, the Autorité de la concurrence (the Autorité) published Visa and MasterCard’s commitments to reduce the multilateral (...)

The Liaoning State Administration for Industry and Commerce issues provisions on the procedures for transferring evidentiary leads in anti-monopoly cases
China Competition Bulletin (Beijing)
,
China Competition Bulletin (Beijing)
,
Institute of American Studies
On 3 May 2013, the Liaoning AIC issued the Provisions on the Procedures for Transferring Evidentiary Leads in Anti-Monopoly Cases. Under the AML, the SAIC is responsible for non-price related aspects of monopoly agreements and abuse of dominance conduct under the AML. The provisions apply to (...)

The High Court of England and Wales refuses stay of proceedings despite ongoing EU appeal in interchange fees case (WM Morrison Supermarkets v MasterCard)
University of Leeds
The High Court (Queen’s Bench Division) has refused to grant a stay of proceedings against Mastercard defendants in WM Morrison Supermarkets plc and others v MasterCard Incorporated and others [2013] EWHC 1071 (Comm). In this case, Morrisons and other major high street retailers claimed damages (...)

The Polish Competition Authority publishes its annual report for 2012
Queen’s University Belfast
,
Constitutional Court of Poland
In May 2013 the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK), the Polish Competition Authority, published its Annual Report for 2012. This piece provides an overview of the reported activities within the competition law & policy domain, and comments on some of (...)

Regulatory

The Bulgarian Competition Authority adopts two opinions on competition in the market for medical devices (NHIF)
European Commission (Brussels)
Bulgaria: The National Health Insurance Fund Acts impose Quota Limitations on Pharmacies and foreclose the Market for Medical Devices* In May 2013, the Bulgarian Commission on Protection of Competition (CPC), as part of its competition advocacy powers, adopted two opinions on Acts of the (...)

The Scottish Court of Session finds the lack of proper ground for allowing the challenge of minimum pricing measures (Scotch Whisky Association)
University of Cambridge
Price-fixing by the State: a minimum unit price for alcohol* For a number of years concerns have been expressed over excessive levels of alcohol consumption and the effect this has on both public health and public order. There is a clear relationship between the price of alcohol and the amount (...)

Public sector

The German Competition Authority terminates test proceedings following commitment undertaken by a municipality (City of Düsseldorf / Siemens)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Award of concession for fire detection systems in conformity with competition law* Bundeskartellamt terminates test proceedings following commitment by the City of Düsseldorf The Bundeskartellamt has terminated its test proceedings on award procedures for fire alarm transmission systems and (...)

The Swedish Supreme Court holds that the time when the contract implementing an illegal direct award has been initiated should coincide with the time when the award decision may be subject to legal review (Swedish Immigration Office)
Mircea & Partners (Bucharest)
I. Introduction Konkurrensverket (Swedish Competition Authority) applied for public procurement fines against the Migrationsverket (Swedish Immigration Office) before the court of first instance on the 17 June 2011. The value of the contract in question exceeded € 8 million (SEK 69 million), (...)

The EU Court of Justice shows excessive deference towards social policy in public procurement: social housing schemes may not be public contracts (Libert)
European Procurement Law Group
In its Judgment of 8 May 2013 in Joined Cases C-197/11 & C-203/11 Libert and Others, the Court of Justice of the European Union has quashed the Belgian ’Living in Your Own Region’ scheme, whereby the acquisition of land and property in certain parts of the country was restricted on grounds of (...)

The Italian Supreme Administrative Court rules on the principles applicable to the award of concession contracts (Agam Reti Gas Acqua)
University of Turin
I. Introduction The grand chamber (Adunanza plenaria) of the Italian Consiglio di Stato, broadly corresponding to the assembléeof the Conseil d’Etat, has addressed the question of the applicability of some provisions of the 2006 Code of public contracts to the award of concession contracts. The (...)

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