October 2016

Anticompetitive practices

The US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit holds that the invocation of intellectual property rights is a presumptively valid business justification sufficient to rebut a refusal to deal antitrust claim (Solidfx / Jeppesen Sanderson)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Rome)
Tenth Circuit holds IPRs defense available to rebut a refusal to deal antitrust claim* On 31 October 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit (the “Court of Appeals”) held that the invocation of IPRs is a presumptively valid business justification sufficient to rebut a (...)

The Ukrainian Competition Authority issues a 7 million euros fine on seven alleged road fuel cartelists
Asters (Kiev)
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Asters (Kiev)
Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine - What is behind EUR 7 million fine on seven alleged road fuel cartelists?* On 28 October 2016, the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine (AMC) fined seven companies, including Shell and SOCAR, a total of approx. EUR 7 million for alleged concerted practices. The (...)

The Turkish Competition Board imposes administrative monetary fine on an expo centre operator for abuse of dominance through refusal to deal (Congresium)
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
This case note analyses the Turkish Competition Board’s (“Board”) Congresium ATO decision dated 27.10.2016 and numbered 16-35/604-269. The Board’s decision comes following the judgment of the Ankara 3rd Administrative Court which annulled the Board’s previous decision with respect to the same case (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority investigates members of the Norwegian banking sector for suspected breaches of competition rules (DNB / Nordea / Finance Norway / BankID)
European Commission (Brussels)
ESA investigates DNB, Nordea, Finance Norway and BankID* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has opened proceedings against DNB, Nordea, Finance Norway and BankID for suspected breaches of the competition rules in the EEA Agreement. Bits, a related organisation to Finance Norway, will also (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority confirms unannounced inspections carried out in the market of distribution and sale of infra-red cabins
Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
The Belgian Competition Authority confirms the inspection at an undertaking active in the distribution and sale of infra-red cabins* The Investigation and Prosecution Service of the Belgian Competition Authority (hereafter “BCA”) confirms that the BCA has conducted an inspection at the premises (...)

The US DOJ and FTC issue guidance signaling that they will bring enforcement actions for wage-fixing and no-poaching agreements under federal antitrust law
Morgan Lewis (Washington)
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Morgan Lewis (Washington)
The DOJ will now treat wage-fixing and no-poaching agreements criminally. On October 20, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued guidance (the Guidance) signaling that they will bring enforcement actions for wage-fixing and no-poaching agreements under (...)

The German Competition Authority cancels fines against sausage manufacturers due to restructuring measures (Zur Mühlen Group)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Proceedings against companies of ClemensTönnies group concluded – fines of 128 million euros cancelled due to restructuring measures* The Bundeskartellamt has closed its fine proceedings against two companies of the Zur Mühlen Group. The fines totalling 128 million euros which were imposed on (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority decides that recommending the use of a certain engine oil brand in authorised service centres does not amount to a vertical restraint (Castrol / Dogus Oto)
University of Sussex
This case note analyses the decision of the Turkish Competition Authority (TCA) in which it has decided that recommending the use of only Castrol branded engine oils in service centres authorised by Volkswagen and Dogus Oto, coupled with the practice of voiding the manufacturer’s warranty for (...)

The Italian Supreme Court rules that the reorganization of the Italian distribution network of a car manufacturer does not breach competition law (Volkswagen)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
By the recent Volkswagen Group Italia (VGI) judgement , the Italian Supreme Court or Court of Cassation (the Court) has ruled that the plan for the reorganization of its Italian distribution network implemented by a German car manufacturer did not breach competition. The Court considered the (...)

The Clinton campaign publishes a fact sheet providing insight into how a Clinton Administration would approach antitrust enforcement
Steptoe & Johnson (Washington)
Every presidential election season, antitrust attorneys hear one question more than any other from clients: “Do you think that the election will have an effect on antitrust enforcement?” This election year, the answer from most lawyers has very likely been something similar to: “If Trump is (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit considers potential discrimination between taxis and transportation network providers (Illinois Transport Association / City of Chicago)
Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (Warsaw)
Sharing and traditional economy: matter of substitutability ... between cats and dogs?* Sharing economy firms are disrupting traditional industries across the globe. As Tom Goodwin once put it: “Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Canadian Competition Tribunal denies leave to commence a private application in a refusal to deal case (CarGurus)
Cassels Brock (Toronto)
Used car listing website operator CarGurus Inc.’s attempt to force rival Trader Corporation to supply it with vehicle listing data has encountered a dead end as the Competition Tribunal denied it leave to commence a private application under several provisions of the Competition Act. This (...)

The Indian Competition Authority opens investigation into abuse of dominance by national gas supplier against its customers (Rico Auto / Omax Autos / Rico Castings / GAIL Gas Authority of India)
Vaish Associates, Advocates (New Delhi)
CCI initiates investigation against Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) for alleged abuse of dominance* CCI by its order dated October 3, 2016 has directed investigation against GAIL for alleged abuse of dominant position in relation to gas supply agreements (GSAs) with its customers. The (...)

Mergers

The French Competition Authority clears a merger on the end of line products and travel services markets (Bazarchic / Galeries Lafayette)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence clears the acquisition of the Bazarchic by the Galeries Lafayette group* The Galeries Lafayette group notified the Autorité de la Concurrence on 27 September 2016 of its intention to acquire the Bazarchic Company. After considering the transaction’s effects on the (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a merger subject to remedies in the airports market (Aéroports de Lyon / Vinci Airports)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence clears the acquisition of Aéroports de Lyon by Vinci Airports, subject to commitments* On 6 September 2016, Vinci Airports, a subsidiary of the Vinci group, notified the Autorité de la concurrence of its acquisition of sole control of Aéroports de Lyon, the company (...)

The EU Commission clears acquisition of global laser manufacturer by its leading competitor, subject to conditions (Coherent / Rofin-Sinar)
European Commission (Brussels)
Coherent/Rofin-Sinar: Merger between leading CO2 laser suppliers cleared in phase I subject to conditions* In a nutshell: After the Bundeskartellamt had prohibited Coherent’s acquisition of Excel (now Synrad) in 2006, Coherent announced in 2016 its intention to acquire Rofin-Sinar; another (...)

The Indian Competition Authority approves an internal restructuring of healthcare conglomerate’s three companies into two companies with clearer business verticals (Fortis Healthcare / Fortis Malar Hospital / SRL)
Vaish Associates, Advocates (New Delhi)
CCI approves international organization within the Fortis Group* CCI vide its order dated October 14, 2016, has given the approval to the internal re-organization of the hospitals and diagnostics business of Fortis Group into separate verticals. Prior the proposed combination, the healthcare (...)

The EU Commission invites third party comments on proposed acquisition in information technology sector (Microsoft / Linkedin)
Fieldfisher (London)
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Fieldfisher (London)
Microsoft/LinkedIn: could Big Data be a Big Problem?*On 14 October 2016, Microsoft’s $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn was notified to the European Commission for merger clearance. The EU regulator’s initial deadline to decide whether to approve the deal or refer it for in-depth (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation concerning a merger on grey cement market in Croatia (HeidelbergCement / Schwenk)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into HeidelbergCement and Schwenk’s joint acquisition of Cemex Croatia* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether the proposed acquisition of Cemex Croatia by HeidelbergCement and Schwenk is in line with the (...)

The EU Commission launches a consultation on aspects of EU merger control
Norton Rose Fulbright (Brussels)
EU Commission consults on merger control reform* The EU Commission recently launched a consultation on ‘procedural and jurisdictional aspects of EU Merger Control’ (the Consultation), which most notably proposes the introduction of a deal-size threshold in the EU Merger Regulation (EUMR) to (...)

The Indian Competition Authority clears acquisition of sole ownership over automation solutions provider by private equity group (Cortes NP Acquisition Corporation / ASCO Power GP / Emerson Network Power Business / Platinum Equity Group)
Vaish Associates, Advocates (New Delhi)
CCI approves acquisition of sole interest Emerson Network Power Business (ENP) by Platinum Equity Group* CCI by its order dated October 5, 2016 has approved the aforementioned combination. The proposed combination relates to acquisition by Platinum Equity Group (Platinum) of 85% equity (...)

The EU Commission clears acquisition between two of the world’s largest rail equipment manufacturers, subject to divestment of the overlapping friction materials business (Wabtec / Faiveley)
DG COMP (Brussels)
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DG COMP (Brussels)
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DG COMP (Brussels)
Wabtec/Faiveley - Braking News: Commission conditionally clears acquisition in train equipment sector* In a nutshell: The Commission cleared the acquisition of Faiveley Transport by Wabtec, subject to conditions. This case required the assessment of the effects of a merger with a potential (...)

State Aid

Procedures

The EU Court of Justice rules that the creation of a single agency grouping sector regulators and the competition authority breaches EU law
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) rules that the creation of the current SCA breached EU law (ECJ Judgment of 19 October 2016 (Case C-424/15)). The ECJ has issued its ruling on a request by the Supreme Court regarding the compatibility of the SCA creation back in 2013, when Spain integrated (...)

The US FTC releases long-awaited report on patent assertion entities
Jones Day (Washington)
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Jones Day (Cleveland)
Three years after initiating an extensive sector study under section 6(b) of the FTC Act, the Federal Trade Commission has issued its report on the activities of patent assertion entities ("PAEs"). The report, titled Patent Assertion Entity Activity: An FTC Study ("PAE Report"), sets forth the (...)

Regulatory

The French Competition Authority publishes an opinion on the freedom of establishment for lawyers at the French Administrative Supreme Court and French Supreme Court
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Freedom of Establishment for lawyers at the French Administrative Supreme Court and the French Supreme Court* The Autorité de la concurrence issues an opinion on the freedom of establishment for lawyers at the French Administrative Supreme Court and French Supreme Court. In order to improve (...)

Public sector

The US FTC and US DOJ jointly issue Antitrust guidance for human resource professionals
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 (Washington DC)
On October 20, 2016, the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) jointly issued new guidance designed to help human resources professionals and their companies understand the potential antitrust implications of their work. The guidance (...)

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