September 2016

Anticompetitive practices

The French Competition Authority fines several modelling agencies for cartel (L’Agence)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité fines for anticompetitive agreement the modelling sector’s main professional union and 37 modelling agencies* In brief The Autorité de la concurrence today issues a decision under which it fines the main professional union of modelling agencies, the SYNAM, for having, between (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit offers misguided analysis of product hopping (Mayne / Warner Chilcott / Mylan)
Rutgers University
On September 28, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued a misguided ruling granting defendants’ motion for summary judgment and ignoring the regulatory framework relevant to “product hopping,” by which a drug company switches from one version of a drug to another, sometimes (...)

The EU Commission challenges the governance rules of an international sports association as being incompatible with competition law (International Skating Union)
Gibson Dunn (Brussels)
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Gibson Dunn (Brussels)
Skating on thin ice: The European Commission challenges the governance rules of an international sports association as being incompatible with European antitrust rules* The recent announcement by the European Commission (“the Commission”) that it is actively looking into the compatibility of (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority launches a market inquiry on online platforms
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
Taking a closer look at online video platforms* The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has launched a market study into online platforms that offer videos and movies. Think of YouTube and Facebook, but also Dutch platforms such as NL-ziet and Dumpert. "We will be taking a (...)

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit vacates and reverses an antitrust verdict (Chinese vitamin C)
Baker McKenzie (Brussels)
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Baker McKenzie (New York)
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Baker McKenzie (Washington)
The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (the Second Circuit) in New York has vacated and reversed a USD 147 million antitrust verdict against a Chinese vitamin C manufacturer and its holding company, ruling that the district court should have granted Defendants’ original motion (...)

The US Court of Appeal for the Second Circuit reverses a price-fixing cartel verdict against Chinese defendants on international comity grounds (Vitamin C)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Rome)
Second Circuit reverses a price-fixing cartel verdict against Chinese defendants on international comity grounds* On 20 September 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (the “Appeals court”) in New York reversed a federal district court judgment in an antitrust lawsuit (...)

The French Competition Authority carries out unannounced inspections on the market of manufacturing and distribution of sandwiches intended to food supermarkets
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The General Rapporteur of the Autorité de la concurrence states that unannounced inspections were carried out on September 15 in the sector of manufacturing and distribution of sandwiches intended to food supermarkets.* On September 15th, following authorisation from the liberty and custody (...)

The EU Commission publishes the initial findings of its e-commerce sector inquiry
Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
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Hogan Lovells (Munich)
European Commission’s e-commerce sector inquiry - increasing anti-trust heat* Online sales are not only attracting the attention of consumers and tech businesses, but also increased review by antitrust regulators. On 15 September 2016, the European Commission published a detailed 290 page (...)

The EU Commission publishes initial findings of e-commerce sector inquiry report
Bydgoszcz University of Technology and Life Sciences (UOKIK)
On 15 September 2016, the European Commission published a preliminary report on its initial findings in the e-commerce sector inquiry, aimed at identifying business practices in the sector that might restrict competition and limit consumer choice. This development follows the Commission’s report (...)

The EU General Court confirms the decision of the EU Commission concerning its first pharma pay-for-delay case (Lundbeck)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission welcomes General Court judgments upholding its Lundbeck decision in first pharma pay-for-delay case Today the General Court upheld the Commission’s Lundbeck decision and ruled for the first time that pharma pay-for-delay agreements breach EU antitrust rules. In such (...)

The Romanian Competition Council carries out unannounced inspections on the market of movies distribution to cinemas
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
The Competition Council had carried out inspections within the investigation on movies distribution to cinemas* The Competition Council had carries out an unannounced inspection at Imedia Plus Group SA, company that operates www.cinemagia.ro. The inspection has been carried out within the (...)

The Latvian Competition Council fines medical equipment traders for bid rigging (Optika&Dentika / KJ Serviss)
Competition Council of Latvia
The CC fines Medical Equipment Traders for collusive Behaviour in Public Procurements* On 8 September, the Competition Council (the CC) fined two medical equipment traders SIA OPTIKA&DENTIKA and SIA KJ SERVISS for participating in a cartel agreement in four public procurements. Due to the (...)

The EU General Court upholds the Commission’s landmark patent settlement agreement decision (Lundbeck)
Sidley Austin (London)
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Sidley Austin (London)
EU General Court upholds Commission’s landmark Patent Settlement Agreement decision* In a much-anticipated series of judgments, running to some 579 pages, the EU’s General Court on 8 September 2016 upheld a 2013 decision of the European Commission that imposed fines of almost €150 million on the (...)

The Croatian Competition Authority accepts remedies proposed by a distributor of motor vehicle parts and accessories suspected to have concluded anticompetitive vertical agreements (Drezga)
Croatian Competition Agency
CCA accepted committments by Drezga d.o.o.* The Croatian Competition Agency (CCA) opened the ex-officio infringement proceeding against the undertaking Drezga d.o.o., an authorised distributor for Husqvarna Group products, based on the fact that the contracts this undertaking concluded with (...)

The Australian government proposes a competition law amendment enabling notification for resale price maintenance
Jones Day (Sydney)
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Jones Day (Sydney)
Australia experiments with a "third way" on resale price restrictions* Resale price maintenance (RPM) occurs when a manufacture or distributor and a wholesaler prevents a retail or distributor from selling below a specified price Since the US Federal Courts decided Leegin in 2007 there has (...)

The Polish Competition Authority fines infertility treatment providers for price fixing (Polish Centres of Infertility Treatment and Reproduction Development)
WKB Wierciński Kwieciński Baehr (Warsaw)
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WKB Wierciński Kwieciński Baehr (Warsaw)
In its decision dated 1 September 2016, the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (hereinafter the “OCCP President”) fined the Association of Polish Centres of Infertility Treatment and Reproduction Development (hereinafter the “Association”) for fixing prices of offers for (...)

Unilateral Practices

The EU Commission fines a company specialized in the waste management for abuse of dominance (ARA)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission fines ARA €6 million for hindering competition on Austrian waste management market* The Commission has fined Altstoff Recycling Austria (ARA) €6 million for blocking competitors from entering the Austrian market for management of household packaging waste from 2008 to 2012, (...)

The EU Commission fines undertakings for abuse of dominance on the Austrian waste management market (Altstoff Recycling Austria)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 20 September 2016, the European Commission announced that it had imposed a € 6 million fine on Altstoff Recycling Austria (“ARA”) for abusing its dominant position on the Austrian waste management market by blocking competitors from entering the Austrian market between 2008 and 2012. Austrian (...)

The EU General Court upholds the Commission’s decision making legally binding commitments remedying a finding of an abuse of dominance in the market for consolidated real-time data feeds (Morningstar / Thomson Reuters)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 15 September 2016, the General Court upheld the Commission’s decision accepting commitments proposed by Thomson Reuters with a view to remedying a finding of an abuse of a dominant position in the market for consolidated real-time data feeds, in breach of Article 102 TFEU. The Commission had (...)

The Croatian Competition Authority accepts remedies proposed by a company suspected of abuse of dominance on the funeral services market (Flora)
Croatian Competition Agency
CCA accepts commitments by Flora VTC* The Croatian Competition Agency (CCA) accepted the commitments offered by Flora VTC in the course of the ex-officio proceeding that it opened against this undertaking in April 2016. The CCA established within the proceeding that on the basis of the Prices (...)

The Italian Competition Authority, in partnership with the EU Commission and nine other NCAs, monitors the impact of the measures undertaken in online hotel booking sector
Italian Competition Authority (Roma)
Monitoring launched in online hotel booking sector* Monitoring the impact of the new parity clauses in the contracts with online travel agencies by the Italian Competition Authority in partnership with 9 other National Competition Authorities The Italian Competition Authority (AGCM), in (...)

Mergers

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation concerning a merger on financial markets (Deutsche Börse / LSE)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed Deutsche Börse/LSE merger* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess, under the EU Merger Regulation, whether the proposed merger between Deutsche Börse AG (DB) and London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) would (...)

The UK Competition Authority accepts remedies proposed by a supplier of fruit juice and clears the merger (Hain / Orchard)
UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) (London)
CMA accepts fruit juice merger remedies* The CMA has accepted Hain’s undertaking to sell its own-label fruit juice business to an approved buyer. Hain Frozen Foods UK Ltd (Hain) bought Orchard House Foods Ltd (Orchard) in December 2015. Both are major suppliers of own-label freshly squeezed (...)

The French Competition Authority clears a merger, subject to remedies, in the agriculture sector (Agri-Négoce / Axéréal Participations)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence clears the acquisition of sole control of Agri-Négoce by Axéréal Participations, subject to commitments* On 21 April 2016, the company Axéréal Participations, subsidy of the farming cooperative Axéréal, notified the Autorité de la concurrence of the acquisition of sole (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger in the energy market (Vattenfall / EPH / PPF Investments)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Vattenfall Europe Generation and Vattenfall Europe Mining by EPH and PPF Investments* The European Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of Vattenfall Europe Generation and Vattenfall Europe Mining by Energetický a Průmyslový Holding (EPH) and (...)

The UK Competition Authority accepts merger remedies proposed by a leading global interdealer broker (Tullett Prebon)
UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) (London)
CMA accepts broker merger undertakings* The CMA has accepted undertakings from Tullett Prebon and will not refer its merger with IGBB for an in-depth investigation. Tullett Prebon plc and ICAP plc are leading global interdealer brokers, companies that sit between investment banks helping to (...)

The UK Competition Authority accepts merger remedies proposed by a company specialized in records management services (Iron Mountain)
UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) (London)
CMA accepts records management merger undertakings* The CMA has accepted undertakings from Iron Mountain Inc to sell C21 Data Services in Aberdeen and Dundee to an approved buyer. Iron Mountain and Recall both provide records management services, which comprise the storage and retrieval of (...)

The German Competition Authority clears a merger between two savings banks in Bavaria (Ingolstadt / Eichstätt)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt clears merger of savings banks in Bavaria* Today the Bundeskartellamt has cleared the merger between the savings banks Sparkasse Ingolstadt and Sparkasse Eichstätt. Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartellamt: "Under the law of the federal state of Bavaria savings banks (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger, subject to remedies, on the telecommunications market (Hutchison / VimpelCom)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves Hutchison/VimpelCom joint venture in Italy, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation a proposed telecommunications joint venture between Hutchison and VimpelCom in Italy. The approval is conditional on the (...)

The EU Commission approves a joint venture between the third and fourth largest telecom operators in Italy subject to structural remedies (Hutchison / VimpelCom)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Rome)
European Commission approves a joint venture between the third and fourth largest telecom operators in Italy subject to structural remedies* On 1 September 2016 the European Commission approved a proposed joint venture between Vimpelcom and CK Hutchison, respectively the owners of Wind and H3G (...)

State Aid

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation concerning undue tax benefits potentially granted by Luxembourg to an energy provider (Engie)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation into Luxembourg’s tax treatment of GDF Suez (now Engie)* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation into Luxembourg’s tax treatment of the GDF Suez group (now Engie). The Commission has concerns that several tax rulings issued (...)

The EU General Court hands down a controversial judgment expanding market economy investor principle in a financial crisis case (FIH Holding)
University of Bergen
A controversial expansion of the MEIP in a financial crisis case - the GC judgment in Case T-386/14 FIH of 15 September 2016 (under appeal)* Introductory remarks Following such landmark cases as Ryanair, EDF and ING, one may observe a truly impressive expansion and development of the MEIP (...)

The EU General Court considers the distinction between private investors and private creditors in State aid (FIH Holding)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Private investor v Private creditor* Introduction On 15 September 2016, the General Court rendered its judgment in case T‑386/14, FIH Holding v Commission. FIH appealed against Commission decision 2014/884. In that decision the Commission had found that the asset transfer from FIH Group to the (...)

The EU General Court shows a reluctance to interfere with Commission powers in State aid cases (Ferraci / Montessori)
University of Sussex
Article 263(4) TFEU: Third party challenges to State aid decisions* The recent Ferracci and Montessori judgments of the General Court show that even when aggrieved third parties are able to satisfy the strict standing provisions to challenge European Commission decisions, the European Courts (...)

Procedures

The EU General Court relies on secretly-recorded telephone conversations obtained in the context of unannounced inspections (North Sea Shrimps)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
Under Article 2 of Regulation 1/2003, the Commission has the burden of proving an infringement of Article 101 TFEU. In the present case, as evidence of the cartel infringement, the Commission relied on secretly-recorded telephone conversations, and the transcripts or notes made thereof, which (...)

Regulatory

Public sector

The EU Court of Justice accepts use of "sure refund" good conduct guarantees in public procurement litigation (Star Storage)
European Procurement Law Group
ECJ deviates from AG Sharpston’s opinion and accepts use of "sure refund" good conduct guarantees in public procurement litigation (C-439/14 and C-488/14)* In its Judgment of 15 September 2016 in Star Storage, joined cases C-439/14 and C-488/14, EU:C:2016:688, the European Court of Justice (...)

The EU Court of Justice confirms that procurement rules do not apply to licences or authorisations for betting and gambling services (Politanò)
European Procurement Law Group
ECJ confirms that procurement rules do not apply to licences or authorisations ("concessions") for betting and gambling services (C-225/15)* In its Judgment of 8 September 2016 in Politanò, C-225/15, EU:C:2016:645, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) followed the Opinion of Advocate General (...)

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