September 2010

Anticompetitive practices

The Italian Competition Authority closes two parallel investigations into joint fixing banking commissions for payment services by accepting commitments (Accordi Interbancari Riba-Rid-Bancomat)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
Introduction By a commitments decision taken on 30 September 2010 the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) closed two parallel investigations against the Italian Banking Association (ABI) and Consorzio Bancomat, respectively. The ICA found the set of commitments offered by the parties to be (...)

The German Competition Authority fines two manufacturers of pressroom chemicals for their involvement in anti-competitive agreements (DC Druck Chemie, Felix Böttcher, Helmut Siegel)
European Commission (Brussels)
Germany: Fines imposed on two Companies in the Press room Chemicals Sector On 29 September 2010, the Bundeskartellamt imposed fines amounting to € 660,000 on two manufacturers of pressroom chemicals for their involvement in anti-competitive agreements prohibited by national law and by Article (...)

The UK Competition Authority issues a statement of objections to two banks concerning alleged exchange of confidential information on price (Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays)
European Commission (Brussels)
United Kingdom: Office of Fair Trading (OFT) proceeds with Loan Pricing Case On 29 September 2010, the OFT issued a Statement of Objections to the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Barclays in respect of alleged disclosure of confidential and commercially sensitive future pricing information. (...)

The Regional Court in Bratislava annuls the Slovak Antimonopoly Office’s decisions concerning an agreement restricting competition in the banking sector (Akcenta case)
Kinstellar (Prague)
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Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) (Slovenia)
A summary of arguments adopted by the Regional Court in Bratislava (the “Court”) in annulling decisions taken by the Slovak Antimonopoly Office (the “SVK AMO”) concerning an agreement restricting competition in the banking sector. Factual background By its judgments No. 3S 57/2010 of 28 September (...)

The German Competition Authority fines a company airline for coordinating ticket prices for flights to Turkey (Condor Flugdienst)
European Commission (Brussels)
Germany: Fine imposed for coordinating Ticket Prices for Flights to Turkey On 28 September 2010, the Bundeskartellamt imposed a fine of € 1,200,000 on Condor Flugdienst GmbH for its involvement in an illegal agreement on the prices of flights from Germany to Turkey infringing national (...)

The French Competition Authority issues a communication reviewing its initiatives in the retail sector following a European public consultation
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. The retail sector, a priority for the Autorité de la concurrence*. The Autorité de la concurrence has published today a communication reviewing its initiatives in the retail sector. This contribution follows (...)

The EU Commission declares that it won’t open formal proceedings against changed policies on restrictions imposed on the development of applications for smart phones operating system and cross-border warranties (Apple iPhone)
Ashurst (Milan)
European Commission closes preliminary investigations into Apple’s iPhone policies* On 25 September 2010, the European Commission declared that it would not open formal proceedings against Apple, following Apple’s iPhone change of policies on restrictions on the development of applications (or (...)

A Slovakian Regional Court annuls Competition Authority’s decision which fined a banking cartel (Ceskoslovenska obchodna banka (CSOB), Slovenska sporitelna (SLSP) and (VUB) Vseobecna uverova banka)
European Commission (Brussels)
Slovakia: Regional Court in Bratislava annuls Authority’s decision in Banking Cartel Following the hearings at the Regional Court of Bratislava (RC BA) on 23 and 28 September 2010, three judgments were adopted in the case of the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic (AMO) vs. (...)

The Belgian Competition Council rules that the publication of recommended minimum rates by a professional body influences free price setting of real estate agents (Beroepsinstituut van Vastgoedmakelaars)
Liège University - IEJE
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Reprobel
I. The Parties BIV is the Belgian Institute of real estate agents. This professional association regulates access to the profession and the application of deontology rules. II. The Facts In 1996, BIV drafted and published a scheme of recommended minimum rates for services provided by real (...)

The French Competition Authority fines French banks for illegally agreeing on interbank fees for dematerialized checks (Banque de France, les Banques Populaires Participations, La Banque Postale, BNP-Paribas, Crédit Agricole, Crédit Mutuel, Crédit du Nord, Crédit Industriel et Commercial, LCL, HSBC, Société Générale, Caisse Nationale des Caisses d’Epargne)
EDHEC (Nice)
Summary 11 French banks were fined for agreeing on fixed fees to be paid by banks for each interbank check, thereby distorting competition on the bank market. Facts Before 2002, interbank checks were physically transported from a bank to another, entailing processing costs and implying an (...)

A French working group recommends the abandonment of the "damage to the economy" criterion for the calculation of antitrust sanctions and urges the French Competition Authority to adopt guidelines (Commission Folz-Raysseguier-Schaub)
Fieldfisher (London)
On the 20th September 2010 the Folz-Raysseguier-Schaub working group presented to Ms. Christine Lagarde, Minister of Economy, its report on antitrust penalties. The committee consisted of Mr. Jean-Martin Folz, former president of PSA’s executive board, Mr. Christian Raysseguier, Advocate General (...)

The French competition authority fines 11 French banks € 384.9 M for unjustified interbank fees during the transition period to the new digital system for processing checks (Cartel in the banking sector)
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Paris)
Summary of the case The Autorité de la concurrence (the French national competition authority) issued a decision on 20 September 2010 in which it fined the Banque de France, BPCE, the Banque postale, BNP-Paribas, Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel, Crédit Agricole, Crédit du Nord, Crédit (...)

A US District Court rules against plaintiffs in the auto parts industry holding that they failed to prove specific facts under Robinson-Patman Act’s price discrimination provision (Coalition for a Level Playing Field, Autozone)
Scharf Banks Marmor
Is it Possible to Plead a Robinson-Patman Act Case at All?* The recent decision in Coalition for a Level Playing Field, LLC v. Autozone, Inc., 2010-2 Trade Cas. ¶ 77,182 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 16, 2010) was a bit surprising to me. The essence of the case was that a group of smaller purchasers of (...)

The Bulgarian Supreme Administrative Court upholds the decision of the competition authority establishing the existence of a cartel on the market for poultry meat and eggs (Bulgarian Poultry Breeders Union)
Faculty of Law - University of Macau
On 15 September 2010 the Bulgarian Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) upheld the decision of the Bulgarian Competition Authority (CPC) establishing that the members of the Bulgarian Poultry Breeders Union (SPB) have infringed the national equivalent of Article 101 TFEU by coordinating prices (...)

The Czech Competition Authority imposes highest fine ever for anti-competitive vertical agreement (Sokolovská uhelná)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
According to a press release of 15 September 2010, the Czech Competition Authority has imposed its highest fine ever for an anti-competitive vertical agreement on Sokolovská uhelná (a coal supplier established in the Czech Republic). It appears that from 1997 to 2007 Sokolovská uhelná concluded (...)

The ECJ Advocate General Mazák proposes to partially set aside General Court’s judgment in rubber chemicals case, while upholding parent companies’ liability (General Química, Repsol Química and Repsol YPF)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 14 September 2010, Advocate General Mazák issued his opinion on an appeal brought by General Química and its parent companies, Repsol Química and Repsol YPF concerning the attribution of liability in the rubber chemicals cartel case. On 18 December 2008, the General Court (at that time, the (...)

The Czech Office for the Protection of Competition fines five participants in the cathode ray tubes cartel under national antitrust law (CRT cartel)
Czech Ministry of Justice (Prague)
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Czech Ministry of Justice (Prague)
In a first-instance decision of 13 September 2010, the Czech Office for the Protection of Competition concluded that from 1998 to 2006, Samsung SDI, Chunghwa Picture Tubes, Koninklijke Philips Electronics, Technicolor, Panasonic, Toshiba and LG Electronics formed a prohibited cartel in the (...)

The US DoJ obtains guilty plea by a former employee of a national bank for bid-rigging and fraud conspiracies in municipal bond probe (Bank of America)
J.P. Morgan
Douglas Lee Campbell, a former senior vice president in Bank of America’s municipal derivatives group, has pled guilty to conspiracy to restrain trade, conspiracy, and wire fraud for engaging in bid-rigging and fraud conspiracies in connection with more than 200 guaranteed investment contracts (...)

The EU General Court reduces fine in Spanish raw tobacco case (Deltafina)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 8 September 2010, the General Court handed down its judgment on an appeal brought by Deltafina against the European Commission’s decision of 20 October 2004, fining it € 11,880,000 for its participation in a cartel of producers and processors of raw tobacco in Spain. The General Court upheld (...)

The Romanian Competition Council fines for client sharing agreements 14 administrators of mandatory pensions funds, applying for the first time both Art. 101(1) TFUE and national mirror provision (Pension Funds administrators case)
Peli Filip
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Peli Filip
On 16 September 2010 the Romanian Competition Council (the “Council”) published Decision n° 39/07.09.2010 sanctioning almost all the players in the Romanian market for private administration of mandatory pensions funds (14 out of 18 players active on the market) for a client sharing cartel (the (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority prosecutes fourteen private pension funds for client sharing agreements contrary to Art. 101 TFEU (Aegon)
Faculty of Law - University of Macau
On 7 September the Romanian Competition Authority (CC) held that fourteen private pension funds have infringed Article 101(1) TFEU by dividing their clients in violation of the sector specific regulation which prescribed a different procedure for the assignment of clients. The Romanian pension (...)

The German Cartel office issues new information leaflet on the advantages of an efficient and successful fight against cartels
European Commission (Brussels)
Germany: New Information Leaflet by the Bundeskartellamt (BKartA) on the Advantages of an efficient and successful Fight against Cartels On 6 September 2010, the BKartA published a new information leaflet for the general public, which sheds light on the benefits of fighting cartels. Its main (...)

The Paris Court of Appeal reduces damages awarded for sales of perfumes through a website by unauthorised distributors (eBay, Parfums Christian Dior, Kenzo Parfums, Parfums Givenchy, and Guerlain)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 3 September 2010, the Paris Court of Appeal delivered its judgment in a case between eBay and SA Parfums Christian Dior, SA Kenzo Parfums, SA Parfums Givenchy, and SA Guerlain (which are perfume and cosmetics suppliers belonging to the LVMH group – hereinafter the “LVMH group”). On 30 June (...)

The Lithuanian Supreme Administrative Court upholds the annulment of the NCA’s cartel decision for price fixing in the waste management sector (PEATA)
Sorainen (Vilnius)
On 2 September 2010 the Lithuanian Supreme Administrative Court (LSAC) upheld the lower court judgment in annulling the Lithuanian Competition Council (LCC) decision in the waste management cartel. Earlier that year the Association of Packaging and Electronic Waste Processors (PEATA) and its (...)

The Paris Court of Appeal rules on termination of dealership contract for the sale of motor vehicles (Subaru France)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In a judgment of 2 September 2010 which has recently become available, the Paris Court of Appeal gave its ruling in legal proceedings between a supplier of motor vehicles, Subaru France, and one of its former dealers. It appears that after Subaru France terminated the dealership agreement by (...)

Unilateral Practices

The European Commission adopts decision accepting structural commitments from the italian incumbent electricity operator (ENI)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Practising Law Institute (New York)
On 29 September 2010, the Commission announced that it had adopted a decision under Article 9 of Regulation 1/2003 [1] to accept commitments from ENI concerning Italy’s natural gas market. Notably, the commitments were of a structural nature, in that ENI proposed to divest its shares in three (...)

The German Competition Authority accepts commitments from electric heating providers to implement measures to open the market and reimburse customers
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Practising Law Institute (New York)
On 29 September 2010, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) announced that an investigation into twenty-four electric heating operators suspected of abusing their respective dominant positions was closed after the FCO accepted commitments to resolve the competition concerns. The (...)

The European Commission adopts a commitment decision addressed to Italian energy company regarding potential abuse of its dominant position in the market for gas transportation services(ENI)
DG COMP (Brussels)
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NERA (Berlin)
Strategic underinvestment and gas network foreclosure – the ENI case* Introduction On 29 September 2010, the Commission adopted a commitment decision addressed to ENI Spa (ENI) under Article 9 of Regulation 1/2003. With this decision, the Commission made binding on ENI the commitments it had (...)

The French Competition Authority recommends a strict application of the exceptional legal provisions concerning the public awards of transport related services (Grand Paris)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. The Autorité de la concurrence recommends a very strict application of the exceptional legal provisions concerning the markets for engineering and delegation of project management.* The Syntec-Ingenierie (...)

The French Competition Authority issues a decision making compulsory commitments made by two companies to resolve competition concerns in the household plastic packaging waste treatment (Eco-Emballages & Valorplast)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. Eco-Emballages and Valorplast commit to greater neutrality vis-à-vis local and regional administrations in order to ensure full competition between buyers.* Following a referral by DKT International, the (...)

The EU Commission declares that it would not open formal proceedings following the change of policies on restrictions on the development of apps for smartphone operating system and cross-border warranties (Apple’s iPhone)
Ashurst (Milan)
European Commission closes preliminary investigations into Apple’s iPhone policies* On 25 September 2010, the European Commission declared that it would not open formal proceedings against Apple, following Apple’s iPhone change of policies on restrictions on the development of applications (or (...)

The Paris Court of Appeal rejects the applicability of Art. 101 and 102 TEU but upholds the findings that two telecom operators had abused their dominant positions in the telephony markets (Orange Caraïbe and France Telecom)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Court of Appeal ruled on 23 September 2010 in the Orange Caraïbe case. It mainly upheld the findings of the French Competition Authority. Nonetheless, ruling out the applicability of Article 101 and 102 on doubtful grounds, it also quashed the decision insofar it found a margin squeeze in (...)

The Belgian Competition council dismisses a complaint of the Union of Belgian French-speaking Booksellers against a distributor’s concerted practices and abuse of dominance (SLFB/ Interforum)
Liège University - IEJE
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Koan (Brussels)
I.The parties SLFB (“Syndicat des libraires Francophones de Belgique”) is a major Belgian professional association of booksellers (60% of french speaking’s booksellers are members of the SLFB). Interforum is a company active in the book distribution business. II. The facts This case put into (...)

The Brussels Court of First Instance dismisses the action brought by the national railway company for lack of proof (NMBS / SNCB, Electrabel)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 20 September 2010, the Brussels Court of First Instance dismissed the action brought by NMBS/SNCB, the national railway company, against Electrabel for lack of proof. Mere reliance upon a report published by the energy regulator was found inconclusive evidence to demonstrate an abuse (...)

The French Competition Authority accepts commitments undertaken by a tire manufacturer to allay concerns that it abused its dominant market position (Michelin Group)
Fieldfisher (London)
On the 15th September 2010 the French Competition Authority («Autorité de la concurrence«) accepted and rendered legally binding the commitments proposed by Michelin Group. The conduct of Michelin Group, the worldwide leader in the tire market, has repeatedly raised competition inquiries. In the (...)

The EU General Court confirms fine imposed by the European Commission for abuse of dominant position in the market for reverse-vending machines (RVM) used to collect used beverage containers focusing on exclusive agreements and loyalty-based rebates (Tomra)
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 September 9, 2010, the General Court of the EU (the Court) issued its judgment in Tomra vs. Commission (Case T-155/06), dismissing an appeal brought by Tomra against a European Commission decision imposing a €24 million fine for abuse of its dominant position in Germany, Austria, Sweden, the (...)

The EU General Court upholds a Commission’s decision concerning an abuse of dominance in the market for machines for the collection of used beverage containers addressing the issues of loyalty rebates and exclusivity agreements (Tomra)
Liege Competition and Innovation Institute
Hungry for More?* Apologies for the long post, but I have several remarks to add to my former post under Tomra v. Commission: •Priority-setting – As most of you know, this judgment confirmed a Commission Decision of 2006, in which Tomra, a producer of reverse vending machines used for (...)

The Macedonian Supreme Court upholds the NCA’s decision finding an abuse of dominance on the electricity distribution market (Elektrostopanstvo)
Faculty of Law - University of Macau
On 6 September 2010 the Macedonian Supreme Court upheld the infringement decision of the Macedonian Competition Authority (KZK) issued against the electricity company EVN Macedonia (EVN) for committing an abuse of dominant position on the market for electricity distribution. The case dates (...)

ECJ Advocate General Mázak adopts opinion that limits the application of the margin squeeze theory to regulated markets and indispensable inputs (TeliaSonera Sverige)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Practising Law Institute (New York)
On 2 September 2010, Ján Mázak, an Advocate General (“AG”) at the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”), published his opinion in a case considering whether TeliaSonera, the Swedish telecom incumbent, abused its dominant position as the owner of the country’s telephony infrastructure by engaging in a (...)

The Latvian Competition Council refuses to initiate a case regarding the possible failure to notify a merger and abuse of dominant position, declaring that a general partnership falls outside the scope of provisions of the competition law (Latroad)
Kronbergs & Čukste
In July 2010, the Latvian Competition Council received application from SIA “Firma L4” and VAS “Latvijas valsts ceļi”, requesting the Latvian Competition Council to investigate establishment of a general partnership “Latroad” by five competitors: SIA “PRO VIA”, AS “Ceļu inženieri”, SIA “Pk 19+93”, AS (...)

Mergers

The US FTC imposes conduct remedies prior to clearing a vertical merger causing anticompetitive concerns in the soft drink industry (PepsiCo / Pepsi Bottling)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Cologne)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Washington)
After a decade of what was perceived by many as relatively restrained merger enforcement, the Obama administration has repeatedly and vocally vowed to “reinvigorate antitrust enforcement” and to “take effective action to stop or restructure mergers that are likely to harm consumer[s]”. Many (...)

The EU Commission refers the assessment of the joint venture between two German private broadcasters to the competition authorities of Austria and Germany, at their request (ProSie-benSat.1 / RTL)
J G Associates (Brussels)
Main developments between 1 September and 31 December 2010* On 24 September 2010 the European Commission referred the assessment of the joint venture between the German private broadcasters ProSie-benSat.1 and RTL to the competition authorities of Austria and Germany, at their request. The (...)

The UK Office of Fair Trading assesses divestments remedies to an up-front purchaser in the largest grocery retailers proposed acquisition of grocery stores (Asda/Netto)
DLA Piper (London)
Asda Stores Limited (Asda) is one of the UK’s largest grocery retailers. In May 2010, Asda entered into a sale and purchase agreement to acquire the Netto chain of 194 grocery stores across the UK from Dansk Supermarket A/S. The UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has concluded that the merger is (...)

The US FTC Chairman delivers a speech on the new horizontal merger guidelines and the agency’s efforts to protect competition and consumers
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
FTC Chair Discusses Merger Guidelines, Other Agency Efforts* The FTC’s efforts to substantially revise the Horizontal Merger Guidelines for the first time since 1992 were among the recent agency accomplishments touted by FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz in remarks delivered last week to attendees of (...)

The UK competition authorities publish new merger guidelines
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 16 September 2010, the Office of Fair Trading and the Competition Commission published the first set of consolidated joint Merger Assessment Guidelines under the UK Enterprise Act 2002, which governs merger control law in the UK. The guidelines supersede various merger control guidance (...)

The EU General Court upholds a Commission’s phase II merger approval in the publishing sector and rehabilitates parking arrangement (Odile Jacob)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
Odile Jacob: the rehabilitation of the parking arrangement* More than six years after the case was launched, the General Court rendered its judgment in Case T-279/04, Editions Odile Jacob Sas v. Commission, relating to the appeal against a 2004 decision of the European Commission approving the (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a merger between several agricultural cooperatives in Brittany (Triskalia)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. The Autorité de la concurrence authorizes the merger of the Coopagri Bretagne, Union Eolys and CAM 56 agricultural cooperatives.* In its decision on 9 September 2010, the Autorité de la concurrence authorized (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a merger in the milk collection and manufacturing of cheeses sector (Sodiaal / Entremont)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. The Autorité de la concurrence authorizes the purchase of the Entremont group by the Sodiaal agricultural cooperative.* The Autorité de la concurrence has just issued a decision in which it authorizes the (...)

State Aid

The European Commission finds €10 M support for reconstruction of Czech cableway on Mount Sněžka does not constitute a state aid
DG COMP (Brussels)
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Hogan Lovells (Madrid)
State Aid: Main developments between 1 September and 31 December 2010* On 29 September 2010 the Commission decided that financial support of CZK 250 million (Eur. 10 million) for the reconstruction of a cableway on Mount Sněžka did not constitute State aid. The support will be granted to the (...)

The European Commission orders France to repay the full amount of the parafiscal tax on advertisements broadcast on sound radio and television following the Court of Justice judgment that invalidated the State aid scheme (Official communication)
Direction générale des finances publiques (DGFIP)
This article is an official communication from the French Public Finances General Directorate, published at the Legal Department-Taxation request. It concerns the reimbursement of the parafiscal tax that unlawfully financed State aid scheme no. C 4/2009 (ex N 679/1997). The title is from the (...)

The European Commission approves €21.4 M public funding for Dutch company Mapper to develop new semiconductor manufacturing technology (Mapper)
DG COMP (Brussels)
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Hogan Lovells (Madrid)
State Aid: Main developments between 1 September and 31 December 2010* On 29 September 2010 the Commission authorised The Netherlands to grant € 15.6 million of soft loans and a direct grant of € 5.7 million to Mapper Lithography B.V. for the development of ‘E beam lithography’. Mapper is a (...)

The European Commission authorises the compensation which Spain intends to grant to electricity generators to meet the costs of fulfilling a public service obligation (Preferential dispatch of indigenous coal plants)
DG COMP (Brussels)
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Hogan Lovells (Madrid)
State Aid: Main developments between 1 September and 31 December 2010* On 29 September 2010 the Commission authorised the compensation which Spain intends to grant to electricity generators to meet the costs of fulfilling a public service obligation, namely producing specific volumes of (...)

The European Commission approves the restructuring of Latvia’s second biggest bank (Parex)
DG COMP (Brussels)
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Hogan Lovells (Madrid)
State Aid: Main developments between 1 September and 31 December 2010* On 15 September 2010 the Commission approved a thorough restructuring of Parex, Latvia’s second biggest bank before the crisis. The bank, which was partly nationalised in November 2008, benefited from State aid for a total (...)

The European Commission finds against planned regional subsidy to Italian energy company (Fri-el Acerra)
DG COMP (Brussels)
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Hogan Lovells (Madrid)
State Aid: Main developments between 1 September and 31 December 2010* On 15 September 2010 the Commission decided that the regional investment aid of € 19.5 million that Italy intended to grant towards the takeover and conversion, by Fri el Acerra S.r.l, of a closed thermoelectric power plant (...)

The European Commission approves State aid measures supporting the purchase of digital television terminal equipment for socially vulnerable groups in Slovakia (Switch-over to digital TV broadcasting in Slovakia)
DG COMP (Brussels)
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Hogan Lovells (Madrid)
State Aid: Main developments between 1 September and 31 December 2010* Another measure supporting the purchase of digital television terminal equipment for socially vulnerable groups in Slovakia was approved by the Commission on 15 September 2010. The aim is to bring digital television within (...)

The European Commission authorises a scheme for the recapitalisation of credit institutions in Greece by the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund
DG COMP (Brussels)
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Hogan Lovells (Madrid)
State Aid: Main developments between 1 September and 31 December 2010* On 3 September 2010 the Commission authorised a scheme for the recapitalisation of credit institutions in Greece by the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (FSF). Its capital, which amounts to € 10 billion, stems from the (...)

A French Court of Appeal, upon referral from the Supreme Court, puts an end to the debate on whether the tax on direct sales amounts to State aid on the basis of article 108.1 TFEU (Glaxosmithkline, Boiron, Bristol Myers Squibb)
CMS Bureau Francis Lefebvre (Paris)
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CMS Bureau Francis Lefebvre (Paris)
In three decisions handed down on 2 September 2010, the Court of Appeal of Versailles ruled that the tax on direct sales failed to comply with the “Altmark test” designed by the European Court of Justice (now the Court of Justice of the European Union, hereinafter “the Court of Justice”) in order (...)

The European Court of Justice quashes General Court’s judgment and finds no manifest error in Commission’s assessment of State aid (Scott)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 2 September 2010, the Court of Justice quashed a ruling of the General Court which partly annulled a Commission decision finding illegal State aid in the sale of a parcel of land by the French authorities to Scott S.A. (“Scott”). According to the Commission, Scott unduly benefited from a (...)

The European Court of Justice confirms General Court’s annulment of the Commission decision in a State aid case (Deutsche Post)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 2 September 2010, the Court of Justice handed down its judgment in the Deutsche Post State aid case. It rejected the Commission’s appeal, thereby confirming the annulment of the Commission decision in question. Deutsche Post operates both in the mail delivery sector, in which it enjoys a (...)

Procedures

The College of Prosecutors of the Belgian Competition Council decides that consumers are competent to ask for interim measures but rejects their request (Telenet)
European Commission (Brussels)
Belgium: The Telenet Case: Consumers and Interim Measures In its decision of 27 September 2010, the competition prosecutor has decided that consumers are competent to ask for interim measures when they are the victim of restrictive practices. The request for interim measures against Telenet (...)

The EU Competition Commissioner speaks on due process and competition enforcement underlining the importance of judicial review by European Courts
DG COMP (Brussels)
The scope of judicial review in question* In a speech delivered on 17 September 2010 at the IBA annual competition conference, Commissioner Almunia engaged the audience on the sensitive topic of due process and competition enforcement. Among the reasons justifying his overall satisfaction with (...)

The EU Court of Justice confirms that communications with an in-house lawyer are not legally privileged (AKZO)
Stibbe (Amsterdam)
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Outer Temple Chambers (London)
1. Following approximately seven years of extended litigation, discussed in previous issues of Concurrences the last phase of the Akzo litigation relating to the personal scope of legal professional privilege («LPP») has finally come to an end with the European Court of Justice’s («ECJ») seminal (...)

The EU Court of Justice confirms that legal professional privilege under EU law does not extend to communications with in-house lawyers (AKZO)
Linklaters (London)
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A&L Goodbody (Dublin)
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Linklaters (Brussels)
Background In February 2003, the Commission, with the assistance of the UK’s Office of Fair Trading, conducted a dawn raid at the UK premises of Akzo Nobel and Akcros Chemicals on suspicion of possible anti-competitive practices. During the raid, a dispute arose between the investigation team (...)

The European Court of Justice holds that in-house lawyers are not protected by legal professional privilege in antitrust investigations (Akzo)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
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Dentons (Brussels)
On September 14, 2010, the Court of Justice (the Court) issued its judgment in Akzo v. Commission (Case C-550/07 P, hereinafter the Judgment) dismissing an appeal brought by Akzo Nobel Chemicals Ltd. (Akzo) against a judgment of the Court of First instance (now the General Court) of September (...)

A US court of appeals overturns a lower court decision addressing the issue of the copyright’s first sale doctrine in the computer software industry (Vernor/Autodesk)
University of Chicago - Law School
Vernor v. Autodesk: Copyright, Software Upgrades and Secondary Markets* Earlier today, the Ninth Circuit decided an important case about the scope of the first sale doctrine in copyright as applied to computer software. In Vernor v. Autodesk, the court concluded that the documents in question (...)

Regulatory

The French Competition Authority issues an opinion on the deployment of optical fibre networks in moderately dense areas
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. The Autorité de la concurrence is in favour of a regulation that reconciles investment incentives and the preservation of competition*. After having issued an opinion in September 2009 at the request of the (...)

The US House Subcommittee on Courts and Competition Policy questions whether antitrust law can deal with competition in evolving digital industries
Wolters Kluwer
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Wolters Kluwer
Can Antitrust Law Deal With Competition in Evolving Digital Industries?* Are U.S. antitrust laws suited to deal with the challenges presented by rapidly evolving digital industries? That was the question posed at a September 16 hearing of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the (...)

The Cypriot Competition Authority holds that the provision of free pre-school education by State nurseries does not amount to an economic activity and that the termination of the provision of a number of benefits to private nurseries by the Stores of the Ministry of Education are not anti-competitive (Association of private nurseries)
Chrysses Demetriades & Co. LLC (Limassol)
1. Background In a ruling pronounced on 15/9/2010 the Cypriot Commission for the Protection of Competition (CPC) decided to reject the complaint filed by the Cypriot Association of Private Nurseries (The complainant) against the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Cyprus (the Ministry) (...)

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