May 2016

Anticompetitive practices

The Croatian High Administrative Court fines several personal protection firms for cartel (Sokol Marić)
Croatian Competition Agency
Decisions of the High Administrative Court* In the first case, by dismissing the claim of the claimants the High Administrative Court backed the CCA decision of 17 March 2015 establishing that the personal protection firms Sokol Marić, AKD-Zaštita, Securitas Hrvatska, Klemm Sigurnost, (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority raids several undertakings active in the sale of over-the-counter products pharmacies
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
The Belgian Competition Authority confirms inspections at several undertakings active in the sale of non-prescription products in pharmacies* The Investigation and Prosecution Service of the Belgian Competition Authority (hereafter “BCA”) confirms that the BCA has conducted inspections this week (...)

The UK Court of Appeal overturns UK Patents Court and allows hearing to be held on competition law arguments in a FRAND dispute in relation to Standard Essential Patents (Unwired Planet / Huawei / Samsung / Ericsson)
Monckton Chambers
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Monckton Chambers
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Monckton Chambers
Court of Appeal reinstates Samsung’s case on non-discrimination and FRAND*On Friday 27 May, the Court of Appeal handed down an important judgment on the interplay between competition law and the licensing of essential patents.This is part of a landmark patent infringement case where Unwired (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority adopts a settlement decision concerning market sharing agreements concluded between SMEs in the regular river cruise sector (Dinant / Les Bateaux mouches)
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
The Investigation & Prosecution Service of the Belgian Competition Authority adopts a settlement decision for market sharing agreements between SMEs in the regular river cruise sector and imposes a fine amounting to 64,100 euros* The Investigation & Prosecution Service of the Belgian (...)

The Finnish Competition Authority inspects bus and coach operators suspected of collusion
Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA)
FCCA has inspected bus and coach operators in Southwest Finland* The purpose of the inspections was to find out whether the operators were guilty of unlawful collaboration between competitors. The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority has a right to carry out inspections under the (...)

The EU Commission fines a steel abrasives producer for cartel (Pometon)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission fines Pometon € 6.2 million for participation in steel abrasives cartel* The European Commission has found that Italian abrasives producer Pometon S.p.A. breached EU antitrust rules by participating in a cartel to coordinate steel abrasives prices in Europe for almost four (...)

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority fines a company for retail price maintenance on online sales (ITW)
Van Bael & Bellis
On 24 May 2016, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) fined ITW Limited, a supplier of refrigerators, £ 2,298,820 for retail price maintenance on online sales. From 2012 to 2014, ITW required dealers to adhere to its minimum advertised price policy for Foster commercial fridges and (...)

The French Competition Authority gathers informations to assess data processing in the on-line advertising sector
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence begins, at its own initiative, gathering information in order to assess data processing in the on-line advertising sector* The Autorité has decided, at its own initiative, to gather information with a view to assessing competition in the internet advertising sector (...)

The Moldovan Competition Authority accepts commitments from tour operators and airlines in the charter air passenger transport market (Scavolin)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 4 November 2011 the Moldovan Competition Authority (CC) concluded its investigation into the alleged anti-competitive practices on the market for charter air passenger transport by accepting a series of commitments offered by the tour operators and airline companies involved. The case (...)

The Hellenic Competition Authority sends a statement of objections to suspected members of a cartel in the construction sector (Ellaktor)
Hellenic Competition Authority (Athens)
Statement of Objections addressed to undertakings active in the construction sector regarding an alleged infringement of Article 1 of the Greek Competition Act and Article 101 TFEU* Following the issuing of a statement of objections, the Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) will convene on 21 (...)

The Latvian Competition Council announces the adoption by the Latvian Parliament of significantly modernising amendments to the Competition Law
Competition Council of Latvia
Saeima passes Amendments to the Competition Law* On 12 May, Latvian Parliament – Saeima – adopted in final reading amendments to the Competition Law that significantly modernizes competition protection in Latvia. Amendments to the Competition Law provides the Competition Council (CC) of Latvia (...)

The Danish Competition Authority announces that three franchisees and one franchisor entered into a settlement for price fixing and market sharing (Lely Nordic)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Denmark: ”Franchise chain in Denmark pays fine in settlement for fixed selling prices and shared markets of supply with respect to milking robots”* In April 2016, the franchisor Lely Nordic A/S, three Danish franchisees and a person from the management in Lely Nordic A/S entered into a (...)

The French Competition Authority and German Federal Cartel Office publish a joint report on big data and its implications for competition law
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
On May 10, 2016, the French Competition Authority and German Federal Cartel Office published “Competition Law and Data,” a joint report on big data and its implications for competition law. The paper identifies issues that antitrust authorities should consider when assessing the interplay among (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority fines several tenderers for bid-rigging in public procurements on broadcasting vehicles (LIGA TV)
Hungarian Competition Authority (Budapest)
Fine imposed by the GVH concerning public procurements* According to the decision of the GVH, Finella Investment Kft. (the successor of HTD Szaknévsor Kiadó Kft.), JRM Produkció Kft., LIGA TV Kft. (LIGA TV), “PUPU Produkció” Filmgyártó Kft., and Nosztalgia-Design Kft. concerted their practices with (...)

The German Competition Authority fines several breweries and retailers for resale price maintenance (Offenburg)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Resale price maintenance in food retail sector - Fine proceedings largely concluded in beer segment too* In its vertical case in the food retail sector the Bundeskartellamt has concluded further cartel proceedings and imposed new fines on retailers totalling 90.5 million euros. This time the (...)

The Czech Competition Office fines several construction companies that coordinated their bids in public tenders
Czech Competition Authority
More fines imposed for prohibited agreements of construction companies* On the 4 May 2016, the Office for the Protection of Competition adopted its first instance decision regarding the so-called small construction cartel. In the decision, the Office imposed fines amounting to CZK 278 million (...)

The Lithuanian Supreme Administrative Court confirms that 29 travel agencies breached antitrust rules to limit discounts for travel packages (Eturas)
Van Bael & Bellis
On 4 May 2016, the Lithuanian Supreme Administrative Court (“Lithuanian Supreme Court”) confirmed that 29 travel agencies had breached antitrust rules when using an online booking system to limit discounts for travel packages. This judgment follows the ruling handed down by the Court of Justice (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Bulgarian Commission on Protection of Competition fines for the first time a company for an abuse of stronger bargaining position (Siemens)
Johnson & Johnson (Sofia)
On 26 May 2016 the Bulgarian Commission on Protection of Competition sanctioned Siemens Bulgaria for abuse of stronger bargaining position as per the new Article 37a of the Bulgarian Protection on Competition Act. Siemens Bulgaria is a subsidiary of the corporation Siemens AG (Germany). The new (...)

The Danish Competition Council issues its recommendations on how to avoid public commercial activities distorting competition with private businesses on commercial markets
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
The Competition Council: Tighten up regulation for public players on commercial markets* The Danish Competition Council publishes recommendations on how to avoid public commercial activities distorting competition with private businesses on commercial markets. On May 26th 2016 the Danish (...)

The Latvian Competition Council fines an operator of a regional bus terminal for abuse of dominance (Rēzeknes autoosta)
Competition Council of Latvia
The CC finds Unreasonably High Fees for the Entrance of a Bus Terminal* On 25 May, the Competition Council (CC) of Latvia imposed a fine in the amount of 4026.53 EUR and legal obligation on SIA Rēzeknes autoosta, which is an operator of a regional bus terminal in Rēzekne. The CC found that the (...)

The German Federal Cartel Office terminates proceedings regarding possible abuse of dominance in the market for the distribution of passenger train tickets and accepts several commitments by the incumbent train company (Deutsche Bahn)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
By a decision of 24 May 2016, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) announced that it had terminated proceedings against Deutsche Bahn AG after having accepted several commitments. In 2014, the FCO initiated an investigation against Deutsche Bahn AG and reached the preliminary conclusion that (...)

The German Competition Authority informs that, following its investigations, a railway company has decided to make far-reaching changes to the sale of passenger tickets (Deutsche Bahn)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Deutsche Bahn AG to make changes to ticket sales* Following investigations by the Bundeskartellamt, Deutsche Bahn AG has undertaken to make far-reaching changes to the sale of passenger tickets. The measures will improve the ticket sales possibilities of its competitors. In early 2014 the (...)

The Paris Court of Appeal upholds the decision of the Competition Authority fining two mobile phone carriers for abuse of dominance (Orange / SFR)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 19 May 2016, the Paris Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) imposing a fine on the French telecoms operators Orange and SFR for having abused their dominant position in the mobile call termination market. The Court nevertheless granted the operators a (...)

The French and German Competition Authority publish a joint study on competition law and data
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The French Autorité de la concurrence and the German Bundeskartellamt publish joint paper on data and its implications for Competition Law* The increasing collection, processing and commercial use of data in digital markets has prompted a broad debate about the role of data in corporate (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit rules on bundling in pharmaceuticals sector (Eisai / Sanofi Aventi)
Constantine Cannon (New York)
Third Circuit Shows No Love For Lovenox® Bundling Theory*Citing the well-known maxim that the antitrust laws are concerned with “the protection of competition, not competitors,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit on Wednesday affirmed summary judgment for Defendant Sanofi Aventis on (...)

The French Competition Authority imposes several interim measures on an energy provider suspected of abuse of dominance (Engie)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence issues several urgent interim measures on Engie so that the price of some of its market offers to business customers reflects its costs.* In brief Last October, Direct Enrgie made a referral to the Autorité de la concurrence. In particular it reported that (...)

Mergers

The EU Commission clears a merger subject to remedies in the market of building materials (Italcementi / HeidelbergCement)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of building materials group Italcementi by HeidelbergCement, subject to conditions* The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Italian building materials group Italcementi by its German competitor (...)

The French Competition Authority opens an in-depth investigation concerning a merger in the food retail sector (Auchan / System U)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Retailing sector* The Autorité de la concurrence has decided to open an in-depth examination regarding the de facto merger of Auchan and System U. Auchan and System U groups have notified the Autorité de la concurrence of their merger project on December 30th 2015, after a referral of the (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation regarding a merger in the market of railway equipment manufacturing (Wabtec / Faiveley)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into Wabtec’s proposed takeover of railway equipment manufacturer Faiveley* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether the proposed acquisition of Faiveley Transport of France by Westinghouse Air Brake (...)

The US District Court for the District of Columbia grants the Federal Trade Commission’s request for a preliminary injunction halting a merger in the office supply superstores sector (Staples / Office Depot)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
On May 10, 2016, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia released his highly anticipated decision in the matter of Staples’ acquisition of Office Depot, granting the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) request for a preliminary injunction and effectively (...)

The EU Commission prohibits a merger between two telecommunication companies in the UK mobile market (Hutchison / Telefónica UK)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission prohibits Hutchison’s proposed acquisition of Telefónica UK* The Commission has blocked the proposed acquisition of O2 by Hutchison under the EU Merger Regulation. It had strong concerns that UK mobile customers would have had less choice and paid higher prices as a result of (...)

The EU Commission blocks a merger between two mobile networks due to the risk of price increase on the market (Telefónica / Hutchison)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 11 May 2016, the European Commission (“Commission”) prohibited the proposed acquisition of Telefónica’s O2 by Hutchison’s Three under the EU Merger Regulation. The Commission’s primary concern was that a combined Three/ O2 would have the ability and incentive to raise prices in the UK market for (...)

The Lithuanian Competition Council prohibits a merger between two managers of classified ads websites for real estate and vehicles (AS Eesti Meedia / AllePAL OÜ)
Lithuanian Competition Authority (Vilnius)
Competition Council: Merger between classified ads websites restricted competition* On 6 May 2016, the Competition Council (hereinafter – KT) prohibited a merger whereby in 2014 AS Eesti Meedia acquired 100 per cent of AllePAL OÜ shares. KT found that the merger restricted competition in the (...)

The National Competition Authorities from EU member States issue a report on information requirements for merger notification in Europe
French Competition Authority (Paris)
National competition authorities from the European Union publish report on information requirements for merger notification in Europe* This tool will facilitate companies’ notifications of cross-border transactions in multiple jurisdictions Highlights The EU Merger Working Group has (...)

The German Competition Authority clears a merger between producers of equipment for semiconductor manufacture (KLA-Tencor Corporation / Milpitas / Lam Research Corporation / Fremont)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt clears planned merger of producers of equipment for semiconductor manufacture* The Bundeskartellamt has cleared the planned merger between KLA-Tencor Corporation, Milpitas, USA, and Lam Research Corporation, Fremont, USA. Both parties to the merger are internationally active (...)

State Aid

The EU General Court hands down a judgment in a case regarding a German law on renewable energy and clarifies notion of State resources (Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 10 May 2016, the General Court of the European Union (“Court”) handed down a judgment in a case concerning the German law on renewable energy of 2012 (the Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz 2012 - “EEG 2012”) (case T-47/15, Germany vs. Commission). The EEG 2012, which was replaced by a new law in (...)

Procedures

The Swiss Federal Court rules on the protection of business secrets and access to files in cartel cases (Nikon)
University of St. Gallen (St Gall)
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Lenz & Staehelin (Zurich)
Landmark judgments of Swiss Courts on the protection of business secrets and access to files in cartel cases* In two recent landmark judgements, Swiss Courts have provided important clarifications on the protection of business secrets and access to files in cartel cases. Harmful internal (...)

Regulatory

The French Competition Authority publishes a negative opinion on the draft decree establishing a code of ethics for nurses
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence issues an unfavourable opinion on the draft decree establishing a code of ethics for nurses.* In brief Following a referral from the French Ministry of Health, the Autorité de la concurrence has issued major reservations regarding several provisions in the draft (...)

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