October 2017

Anticompetitive practices

The Indian Competition Authority requests 28 trade unions and associations in the film industry to "cease and desist" from anticompetitive conduct and reminds them that labor laws are not mutually exclusive with competition laws (All India Film Employee Confederation)
Vaish Associates, Advocates (New Delhi)
Competition Commission finds All India Film Employee Confederation and other parties in contravention of Section 3 of the Competition Act, 2002* The Competition Commission of India (CCI) vide its recent order dated October 31, 2017 has directed 25 trade unions and associations and their All (...)

The Indian Competition Authority fines state association of chemists and issues advisory to pharmaceutical companies to cooperate in ceasing the practice of "No Objection Notices" (All Kerala Chemists & Druggists Association)
Vaish Associates, Advocates (New Delhi)
CCI issues advisory to Pharma companies while imposing penalty on All Kerala Chemists & Druggists Association and its office bearers* The Competition Commission of India vide its recent order dated 31.10.2017, while imposing penalty on the All Kerala Chemists & Druggists Association (...)

The German Competition Authority launches a sector inquiry into online price comparison websites
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt launches sector inquiry into comparison websites* The Bundeskartellamt has launched a sector inquiry into "online price comparison websites". Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartellamt: "Every day millions of consumers gather information by using price comparison (...)

The EU General Court holds that watch manufacturers are allowed to restrict the supply of watch parts only to approved repairers (CEAHR)
Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
In July 2004, the European Confederation of Watch and Clock Repairers’ Association (“CEAHR”) led a complaint with the Commission arguing that there was (i) an agreement or a concerted practice between a number of luxury watch manufacturers and (ii) an abuse of dominant positionresulting from (...)

The EU General Court endorses selective distribution of spare parts for luxury watches (CEAHR)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 23 October 2017, the General Court of the European Union (the “Court”) dismissed an action brought by Confédération européenne des associations d’horlogers-réparateurs (“CEAHR”) against the European Commission (the “Commission”) for the annulment of the Commission’s decision to reject a complaint (...)

The French Competition Authority fines three leading manufacturers of PVC and linoleum floor covering for cartel (Tarkett)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité has imposed sanctions totalling €302 million on the three leading manufacturers of PVC and linoleum floor covering, as a penalty for price fixing among other pratices.* Background Acting on information submitted by the Directorate General for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs (...)

The French Competition Authority fines three undertakings for price fixing in the linoleum floor sector and changes its competition compliance policy (Forbo / Tarkett / Gerflor)
Clifford Chance (Paris)
Leading French PVC and linoleum floor covering manufacturers, Forbo, Tarkett - both leniency applicants - and Gerflor together with the sector’s trade association have been sanctioned by the French Competition Authority for having implemented anticompetitive practices over more than two decades. (...)

The French Competition Authority fines three undertakings and a trade association € 302 in a cartel case in the PVC and linoleum floor sector (Forbo / Gerflor / Tarkett / SFEC)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 18 October 2017, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) issued a decision imposing nes totalling € 302 million on three ooring companies (Forbo, Ger or and Tarkett) and a trade association (Syndicat Français des Enducteurs Calandreurs: the “SFEC”) for engaging in cartel activities between 1990 (...)

The German Federal Court of Justice quashes a decision which had ruled that minimum resale pricing did not result in an appreciable restriction of competition given its limited timeframe and scope (Almased Wellness)
Commeo (Frankfurt)
In its judgment of 17 October 2017, the Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof - “BGH” or the “Court”) quashed a decision taken by the Celle Higher Regional Court (Oberlandesgericht Celle – “OLG Celle”) in April 2016 which had ruled that minimum resale pricing did not result in an appreciable (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses allegations of anticompetitive conduct and bid rigging against 2 companies in the market for construction and electrification of new elevators due to lack of evidence (Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation / Royal Power Trunkey Implements)
Vaish Associates, Advocates (New Delhi)
The Competition Commission of India dismisses allegations anti-competitive conduct* The CCI vide its order dated October 9, 2017, dismissed allegations of anticompetitive conduct against Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (OP 1) and Royal Power Trunkey Implements Private Limited (...)

The Indian Competition Authority fines 3 chemical companies for bid rigging in the market for water purification (Aditya Birla Chemicals / Grasim Industries / Gujarat Alkalis and Chemicals)
Vaish Associates, Advocates (New Delhi)
Competition Commission of India finds Grasim Industries and others indulging in anti-competitive practices* The Competition Commission of India ("CCI") vide its order dated 05.10.2017 has found Aditya Birla Chemicals (India) Limited (ABCIL), Grasim Industries Limited (GIL) and Gujarat Alkalis (...)

The Hellenic Competition Authority fines six undertakings active in the wholesale trade of luxury cosmetics for cartel (NOTOS COM)
Hellenic Competition Authority (Athens)
Prohibition of competition law by wholesalers of luxury cosmetics* Following an ex officio investigation, The Grand Chamber of the HCC decided, by majority vote regarding the number of the undertakings involved, that six undertakings active in the wholesale trade of luxury cosmetics (namely, (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses allegations of anticompetitive conduct against 2 professional film associations due to lack of evidence (Film Distributors Association / Kerala Film Producers Association)
Vaish Associates, Advocates (New Delhi)
The Competition Commission dismisses allegations of anti-competitive conduct against the Kerala Film Producers Association* The CCI vide its order dated October 3, 2017 dismissed allegations of contravention of Sections 3 and 4 of the Act.The Informant, P. V. Basheer, exhibits movies in his (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Italian Competition Authority finds a foreclosing practice in the single-wrapped ice cream market (Unilever / Distribuzione Gelati)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
In the recent Unilever/Distribuzione Gelati case, the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) has deal with the issue whether the commercial policies of the leading player in the ice cream impulse sector breached 102 TFEU. The conduct of the dominant firm, Unilever, consisted in a number of (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines a company for abuse of dominance in the single-wrapped ice cream market through rebates (Unilever)
University of Rome "La Sapienza"
On 6 December 2017, the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”, “Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato”, “AGCM”) sanctioned Unilever Italia Mkt. Operations S.r.l. (“Unilever”) for an abuse of dominant position in the Italian ice cream sector in breach of Article 102 TFUE. After a two-years (...)

The Indian Competition Authority opens investigation into abuse of dominance by state housing developer (Gurgaon Institutional Welfare Association / Haryana Urban Development Authority)
Vaish Associates, Advocates (New Delhi)
CCI finds a prima facie case of abuse of dominance against HUDA* The CCI vide its order dated October 31, 2017 found a prima facie case of abuse of dominant position by Haryana Urban Development Authority “HUDA” (Opposite Party). The informant, Gurgaon Institutional Welfare Association, is a (...)

The Moldovan Supreme Court of Justice quashes a Competition Authority’s decision regarding refusal to supply in the context of public procurement of pharmaceutical products (Esculap-Farm)
Faculty of Law - University of Macau
On 25 October 2017 the Supreme Court of Justice (SCJ) of the Republic of Moldova has quashed the decision issued by the Competition Council (CC) in a case concerning the refusal to supply pharmaceutical products purchased in the context of public procurement by public hospitals and other public (...)

The EU General Court issues a ruling on mandatory access and interoperability in the software industry (Contact Software)
Jones Day (Brussels)
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Jones Day (Amsterdam)
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Jones Day (Brussels)
The European General Court’s ("GC") decision relates to a complaint filed with the European Commission ("EC") by Contact Software, a German software supplier of Product Data Management ("PDM"). Contact Software alleged an abuse of dominance by Dassault Systèmes and Parametric Technology Corp., as (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses allegations of abuse of dominance against the largest national energy conglomerate (Tata Power Delhi Distribution / NTPC)
Vaish Associates, Advocates (New Delhi)
CCI dismisses allegations of abuse of dominance against NTPC -India’s largest energy conglomerate* The CCI vide its order dated 12.10.2017 has dismissed allegation of abuse of dominance and anti-competitive conduct against NTPC Limited, India’s largest public electricity generator (the Opposite (...)

The Moldovan Supreme Court of Justice upholds the NCA decision concerning refusal to supply in the context of public procurement of pharmaceutical products (Medeferent)
Faculty of Law - University of Macau
On 4 October 2017 the Supreme Court of Justice (SCJ) of the Republic of Moldova has upheld the decision issued by the Competition Council (CC) in a case concerning the refusal to supply pharmaceutical products purchased in the context of public procurement by public hospitals and other public (...)

The EU Commission fines the incumbent Lithuanian railway company for abuse of dominance on rail freight market (Lietuvos geležinkeliai - Baltic Rail)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission fines Lithuanian Railways €28 million for hindering competition on rail freight market* The European Commission has fined Lithuanian Railways (Lietuvos geležinkeliai) an amount of €27 873 000 for hindering competition on the rail freight market, in breach of EU antitrust (...)

The EU Commission fines the incumbent Lithuanian railway company €28 million for abuse of dominance by dismantling a track connecting Lithuania to Latvia thus hindering new entrance to the market (Lietuvos geležinkeliai - Baltic Rail)
DG COMP (Brussels)
On 2 October 2017 the European Commission adopted its decision in the Baltic Rail case finding that the Lithuanian railways company, Lietuvos geležinkeliai (’LG’) abused its dominant position. The extraordinary circumstances of the case prompted one commentator to wonder whether this is ’the most (...)

Mergers

The EU General Court orders fresh review of a merger (Liberty Global/Ziggo)
Dechert (Brussels)
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Dechert (Brussels)
The EU lower court has overturned a 2014 merger clearance by the European Commission (EC) following an appeal by a third party. Overturning the clearance does not mean that the deal is now prohibited. Instead, the case goes back to the EC, and the parties have to re-notify. At best this is (...)

The EU General Court sets aside the Commission’s approval decision of a merger in the market for television and telecommunication services (KPN - Liberty Global / Ziggo)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
By the judgment recently rendered in the KPN/Commission case , the General Court of the EU (GC) has quashed the decision previously made by the European Commission by which it gave a conditional go-ahead to the Ziggo acquisition by Liberty Global. The appeal was filed by a competitor of the (...)

The EU General Court annuls a Commission’s conditional merger clearance in the audiovisual sector (Liberty Global / Ziggo)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 26 October 2017, the General Court annulled the European Commission’s conditional merger clearance decision in Liberty Global/Ziggo. The Commission had approved the acquisition of Ziggo by Dutch rival cable TV operator Liberty Global in 2014, subject to extensive conditions including the (...)

The EU General Court dismisses an appeal against a Commission decision for implementing acquisition of sole control without first obtaining approval under the EU Merger Regulation (Marine Harvest / Morpol)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 26 October 2017, the General Court dismissed an appeal by Marine Harvest against a € 20 million fine imposed on it by the Commission for implementing its acquisition of sole control over Morpol without rst obtaining approval under the EU Merger Regulation (see VBB on Competition Law, Volume (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a merger in the cured meat sector (Cooperl Arc Atlantique / Financière Turenne Lafayette)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 23 October 2017, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) cleared Cooperl Arc Atlantique’s acquisition of control of the cured meat division of Financière Turenne Lafayette. The FCA granted a derogation on 24 May 2017 to allow the buyer to acquire control of the target company prior to FCA (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a merger on the cured meat products market (Financière Turenne Lafayette/ Coorperl Arc Atlantique)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence clears the acquisition of full control of the cured meats’ division of Financière Turenne Lafayette (Paul Prédault, Madrange…) by Coorperl Arc Atlantique (Brocéliande)* Parties to the operation On 4 May 2017, Cooperl Arc Atlantique (VériTable, L’atout prix or (...)

The Hellenic Competition Authority clears an acquisition of joint control over a dairy milk company subject to commitments (Delta Foods / Mevgal)
Prentoulis Gerakini Law Partnership (Athens)
Under its decision No. 650/2017 the Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) approved the acquisition of joint control of Mevgal SA by Delta Food SA and members of the Hatzakou family. Delta Food S.A., member of the Vivartia Group of companies, produces and distributes dairy products such as, (...)

The Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania forces a company to submit a merger filing in the ticket distribution market (Baltic Ticket)
Lithuanian Competition Authority (Vilnius)
Ticket distributors failed to suspend merger control procedure* The Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania (Court) concluded that the company Baltic Ticket Holdings which acquired UAB Nacionalinis bilietų platintojas shall submit a merger filing to the Competition Council which started (...)

The UK Government proposes greater intervention in national security and infrastructure mergers
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
On October 17, 2017, the UK Government published legislative proposals that would give it greater powers to intervene in mergers that raise national security considerations or involve national infrastructure. In the short-term, any transaction involving a party active in the manufacture or (...)

State Aid

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation into statutory rules that exempt certain financing income earned by foreign subsidiaries (United Kingdom)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (London)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
On 26 October 2017, the European Commission (the Commission) opened an in-depth investigation into UK statutory rules that exempt certain financing income earned by foreign subsidiaries of UK corporate taxpayers from UK tax. The Commission’s investigation will focus on whether the UK Controlled (...)

The EU Court of Justice issues a ruling clarifying the conditions under which an existing state aid measure can be transformed into a new one (Italian milk quota)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on StateAidHub: http://stateaidhub.eu, republished in e-Competitions with the courtesy of the author. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Authors are welcome to write an alternative article on this case/text, provided they have no (...)

The EU Commission highlights the distinction between indirect and secondary effects of a State aid in a case regarding regional airports (Sardinia Airports)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on StateAidHub: http://stateaidhub.eu, republished in e-Competitions with the courtesy of the author. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Authors are welcome to write an alternative article on this case/text, provided they have no (...)

The EU Commission concludes that Luxembourg has granted undue tax benefits to an electronic commerce company (Amazon)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission finds Luxembourg gave illegal tax benefits to Amazon worth around €250 million* The European Commission has concluded that Luxembourg granted undue tax benefits to Amazon of around €250 million. This is illegal under EU State aid rules because it allowed Amazon to pay (...)

The EU Commission pursues Ireland before the Court of justice for failure to recover illegal tax benefits from an American multinational technology company (Apple)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission refers Ireland to Court for failure to recover illegal tax benefits from Apple worth up to €13 billion* The European Commission has decided to refer Ireland to the European Court of Justice for failing to recover from Apple illegal State aid worth up to €13 billion, as (...)

Procedures

The EU Court of Justice rules the prohibition on selling at a loss laid down by Spanish legislation relating to retail commerce contrary to EU law (Europamur Alimentación)
CMS Albiñana y Suárez de Lezo (Madrid)
In the context of a preliminary ruling, the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) concluded, through judgement of 19 October 2017 (Case C-295/16, Europamur Alimentación, S.A.), that the prohibition on selling at a loss (or sale at a loss) stated in Article 14 of Law 7/1996, regulating retail commerce (...)

The Moldovan Competition Authority fines three companies for failure to submit to an on-site inspection (Cifroteh / Interacces-M / Glamis)
Faculty of Law - University of Macau
On 16 October 2017 the Competition Council (CC) fined three undertakings for the failure to submit to an on-site inspection and providing false or misleading information to the representatives of the CC thus obstructing the ongoing investigation. The Competition Law authorizes the CC to carry (...)

The UK High Court renders a judgment significantly restricting the temporal scope of the claims in four air cargo cartel damages actions (Emerald Supplies)
Shearman & Sterling (Brussels)
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Shearman & Sterling (Brussels)
On 4 October 2017, the High Court gave a judgment on a preliminary issue significantly restricting the temporal scope of the claimants’ claims in four air cargo cartel damages actions. This judgment is the last in a series of adverse judgments for the claimants in these proceedings. Background (...)

Regulatory

The Polynesian Competition Authority issues an opinion on the functioning of the telecommunication services
Polynesian Competition Authority (Papeete)
Opinion n°2017-A-02 dated September the 22th 2017 dealing with the requests from Viti and Pacific Mobile Telecom companies for prior administrative authorizations required to provide telecommunications services to the public in French Polynesia* In response to requests from Viti and Pacific (...)

The German Competition Authority publishes a paper on ’Big Data and Competition’ as Big Data and digital markets remain in the focus of EU competition authorities
Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
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Hogan Lovells (Munich)
I. Introduction On 6 October, the German Federal Cartel Office (’FCO’) launched its new series of papers on ’Competition and Consumer Protection in the Digital Economy’. The first paper deals with ’Big Data and Competition’. The same day, a ’real-life example’ of competition enforcement in Big Data (...)

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