Burden of proof

Anticompetitive practices

The Italian administrative court of first instance annuls the decision of the Italian Competition Authority that fined ferry operators for a concerted practice because it failed to meet the burden of the proof (Moby, GNV, SNAV and Marinvest)
Studio Legale Scoccini E Associati
On 7 May 2014 the administrative court of first instance with jurisdiction on antitrust cases (TAR Lazio) annulled the decision of the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) . The ICA had fined ferry operators Moby, GNV and SNAV and Marinvest - the holding company of the latter two -, after it (...)

The UK OFT brings criminal charges against ex-manager following an investigation into suspected cartel conduct in respect of the supply of galvanised steel tanks for water storage (Peter Nigel Snee)
University of East Anglia - CCP (Norwich)
Article published on Centre for Competition Policy blog. Can the OFT Succeed in its Latest Attempt at Bringing Criminal Charges Against an Individual for Cartel Conduct?* The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has charged Peter Nigel Snee under section 188 of the Enterprise Act 2002. It is alleged (...)

The UK CAT rules that antitrust findings as regards the copper plumbing tubes cartel did not support the intent to injure required for a conspiracy claim brought under section 47A of the Competition Act (W.H. Newson / IMI)
LSE
Conspiracy, the CAT, and the Court of Appeal: “Here is a case unprecedented” (The Gondoliers, Act 2)* In W.H. Newson Holding Limited & ors v IMI plc & ors [2013] EWCA Civ 1377, the Court of Appeal has made some important new law regarding the scope of section 47A of the Competition Act (...)

The Canadian Supreme Court clears the way for indirect purchaser competition class action related to compensation for harm caused by inflating the price of microchips (Infineon Technologies, Pro-Sys, Sun-Rype)
Steve Szentesi Law Corporation
Canadian Supreme Court Clears the Way for Indirect Purchaser Competition Class Actions: Reason and Clarity Prevail in Previously Muddled Area* Earlier today the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) released three long-awaited companion judgments that finally create clarity and certainty in the area (...)

The Canadian Supreme Court allows indirect purchasers claims for a cartel infringement on the market for processor compatible software (Infineon, Pro-Sys, Sun-Rype)
Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg (Toronto)
Supreme Court of Canada Allows Indirect Purchaser Claims* Note: On October 31, 2013, Canada’s Supreme Court issued important decisions regarding the scope of private claims for civil damages under the Competition Act. Below is a note prepared by Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg on these (...)

The Australian Federal Court establishes that the defendant has been directly knowingly involved in the anticompetitive arrangements and imposes criminal sanctions (Chaste Corporation)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
Peter Foster sentenced for contempt of court* The Federal Court has sentenced Peter Foster to three years imprisonment, with 18 months to be served and 18 months suspended, for contempt of court. Justice Logan also placed conditions on Mr Foster’s involvement in the weight loss, cosmetic or (...)

The Bulgarian Competition Authority finds resale price maintenance practices on the sunflower oil market (Kaliakra)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 17 July 2013 the Bulgarian Competition Authority (CPC) prosecuted the producer of bottled sunflower oil Kaliakra AD (Kaliakra) and its distributors for engaging in the resale price maintenance (RPM) practices. The CPC’s investigation was commenced after the completion of the sector inquiry (...)

The Canadian Court of Appeal dismisses the action for damages in a conspiracy claim against joint purchasers in the oil industry (Alberta/Husky Oil Operations)
Affleck Greene McMurtry
No pot of gold at the end of the Rainbow* A decision by joint operators of an oil field to use a single fluid hauler was not an unlawful conspiracy, the Alberta Court of Appeal held recently, overturning a 2011 decision that awarded about $8 million to the loser of a competitive bidding (...)

The Chilean Competition Tribunal condemns trade association for collusion (ACHAP)
Chilean Competition Tribunal (Santiago)
On 29th January 2013, the Chilean Competition Tribunal (‘TDLC’) issued its judgment in the ACHAP case (Sentence 128/2013). The TDLC partially accepted the complaint filed by the competition agency (the “FNE”) against the local Advertising Agencies Trade Association (the “ACHAP”, for its Spanish (...)

The Spanish National Court issues a third judgment in the asphalt roads cartel case addressing the issue of the burden of proof in bid rigging cases (Asphalt roads cartel)
CMS Albinana y Suarez de Lezo (Madrid)
In October of 2012 the Spanish National Court (“NC”) concluded its first two judgments on the Spanish asphalt roads cartel (“the Cartel”). In both cases the NC explained how the companies involved in the public bid process decided in a “competitive way” who was going to win the bid. The NC stated in (...)

The EU Court of Justice establishes that a national competition authority does not have to prove appreciable effect on competition for object agreements (Expedia)
Lancaster University
Anti-Competitive Agreements: knowing your ‘object’ from your ‘appreciable’ Posted on February 11, 2013* In October 2012 Christopher Brown posted an interesting blog on AG Kokott’s opinion in Case C-226/11 Expedia. The full judgment was delivered on 13 December 2012 and it seems appropriate to look (...)

The Hungarian Court of Appeal upholds NCA’s decision and reduces fines in IT procurement case (University cartel)
lakatos, koves and partners
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Kinstellar (Budapest)
The background of the case In 2004, the Hungarian Competition Office (HCO) launched proceedings against International System House Kft. (ISH), SAP Hungary Kft. (SAP) and International Business Machines Magyarország Kft. (IBM) for bid-rigging in public procurement. The tenders in question aimed (...)

The Supreme Court of Chile seems to be heading towards a per se rule in the assessment of cartel cases (Explora)
University College London
For the first time since the new Chilean Competition system started in 2004, the Supreme Court has overruled a decision of the Competition Tribunal in regard to a cartel case, which was not originally sanctioned by the latter. But also, the Supreme Court seems to have established a per se rule (...)

A US Court of Appeal unanimously expands extraterritorial reach of US antitrust rules in a foreign price-fixing conspiracy case (Potash II)
Cleveland-Marshall School of Law
Seventh Circuit Sitting En Banc Reverses in Potash, Announces Second Most Important of All FTAIA Opinions, Shores Up the Text Messaging Position on Conspiracy Pleading* Well, okay, I guess there might just possibly have been an appellate decision this week of even more pressing moment, but I (...)

The Canadian Competition Bureau jointly lays 77 charges against 11 individuals and 9 companies in the construction industry in connection with a Quebec bid-rigging case (Carrière Bernier, Cie Wilfrid Allen)
Steve Szentesi Law Corporation
Competition Bureau Jointly Lays 77 Charges Against 11 Individuals and 9 Companies in Quebec Bid-rigging Case – Tough Stance on Criminal Enforcement Continues* On June 21, 2012 the Competition Bureau announced that, together with the Unité permanente anticorruption (UPAC) in Quebec, it has laid (...)

The US District Court for the Northern District of California denies motions for acquittal and for a new trial in LCD price-fixing conspiracy case (AU Optronics)
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
Convictions in LCD Panel Price Fixing Case Stand After Motions for Acquittal, New Trial Rejected* The government’s successful prosecution of AU Optronics Corporation, its wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary, and two former company executives serves as a cautionary tale. The case marks the first time a (...)

A Chinese Intermediate Court dismisses allegations of vertical price-fixing against medical equipments company (Johnson & Johnson)
Institute of American Studies
The Shanghai Court’s Position on Resale Price Maintenance in the J&J Vertical Price-Fixing Litigation* On 18 May 2012, the Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court (‘Shanghai Court’) dismissed allegations that Johnson & Johnson Medical (China) Ltd. and its Shanghai branch had set a (...)

The Competition Commission of India fines 48 LPG cylinder manufacturers for engaging in bid-rigging in a tender for supply to oil corporation (IOCL)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co (New Delhi)
SUMMARY In tendering for the supply of LPG cylinders to the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., 48 manufacturers were found by the CCI to have quoted identical or similar rates, and to have bid collectively for particular territories, after reaching an agreement between themselves. The CCI fined each (...)

The UK OFT issues a statement of objections confirming the immunity for a company in the airline fuel surcharges cartel case (Virgin)
University of East Anglia - CCP (Norwich)
Article published on Centre for Competition Policy blog. If Virgin Gets to Keep Its Immunity, Who is Responsible for the Collapse of the BA Trial?* This week the Office of Fair Trading announced that Virgin Atlantic would keep its immunity in the Passenger Fuel Surcharges cartel case. This (...)

A US Court of Appeals holds claims against a foreign price-fixing cartel in the potash industry either exempted under the Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act or insufficient to state a cause of action under the Twombly/Iqbal pleading standards (Potash)
Cleveland-Marshall School of Law
Potash Potash Potash!!!!! En Banc Review Is in the Hizz-ouse, Y’all!* Something striking occurred in the Seventh Circuit this year. In two different, massive antitrust class actions, in the space of about nine months, panels of that court applied the Twombly-Iqbal pleading formula to reach (...)

The EU General Court annuls fine in the Dutch beer cartel case ruling that the evidence available to the EU Commission was not sufficient to establish the parent company liability for its subsidiary’s participation in the cartel (Grolsch)
Google (London)
The Dutch Beer Cases: The Value of Whistleblower Statements and the Cutback of Fines in Case of Unreasonably Long Commission Investigations* The General Court has rendered a series of judgments in the Dutch Beer Cartel case that involve a number of legal issues, including in Grolsch v. (...)

The EU General Court annuls fine imposed on parent company for its subsidiary’s participation in a beer industry cartel (Grolsch)
University of East Anglia - CCP (Norwich)
Article published on Centre for Competition Policy blog. Grolsch Cartel Fine Annulment: Should Parent Companies Pay for the Anti-Competitive Conduct of a Subsidiary?* The General Court has annulled a €36.6m fine imposed on Grolsch for the price fixing of beer in Holland. In its decision, the (...)

The Moldovan Court of Appeals quashes the infringement decision of the Competition Authority on concerted practices in the market for retail trade in oil derivatives on the basis of lack of evidence (Petrom-Moldova)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 24 June 2011 the Chisinău Court of Appeals (the CAC) quashed the infringement decision of the Moldovan Competition Authority (ANPC) establishing the existence of concerted practices on the market for retail trade in oil derivatives. The CAC held that the ANPC failed to present sufficient (...)

The EU General Court reduces fine in the Dutch beer cartel case finding that the EU Commission did not prove all infringements and that the duration of the procedure was excessive (Bavaria)
Google (London)
The Dutch Beer Cases: The Value of Whistleblower Statements and the Cutback of Fines in Case of Unreasonably Long Commission Investigations* The General Court has rendered a series of judgments in the Dutch Beer Cartel case that involve a number of legal issues, including in Grolsch v. (...)

The EU General Court reduces fine in the Dutch beer cartel case finding that the EU Commission did not prove all infringements and that the duration of the procedure was excessive (Heineken)
Google (London)
The Dutch Beer Cases: The Value of Whistleblower Statements and the Cutback of Fines in Case of Unreasonably Long Commission Investigations* The General Court has rendered a series of judgments in the Dutch Beer Cartel case that involve a number of legal issues, including in Grolsch v. (...)

The EU General Court holds for the first time that the Commission erred in relying on the presumption that a parent company is liable for the anticompetitive conduct of its wholly-owned subsidiary (Hydrogen Peroxide)
White & Case (Brussels)
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White & Case (London)
By its decision of 3 May 2006, the Commission imposed fines totalling over EUR 388 million on a number of companies for their participation in a cartel on the market for hydrogen peroxide and sodium perborate (bleaching agents) between 31 January 1994 and 31 December 2000. Among the companies (...)

The EU General Court partially annuls the Commission’s decision and reduces fines in a cartel case concerning the Dutch beer market (Netherlands Beer)
White & Case (Brussels)
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White & Case (London)
By its decision of 18 April 2007, the Commission imposed fines totalling approximately EUR 270 million on several Dutch brewers, including Heineken NV and its subsidiary Heineken Nederland BV, and Bavaria NV, for their participation in a cartel on the Dutch beer market between 27 February 1996 (...)

A Moldovan Court of Appeals quashes the concerted practices decision of National Competition Authority for the failure to demonstrate the existence of a price coordination mechanism and the absence of alternative explanations (Lukoil Moldova)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 12 May 2011 the Chișinău Court of Appeals (the CAC) quashed the infringement decision of the Moldovan Competition Authority (ANPC) establishing the existence of the concerted practices on the market for retail trade in oil derivatives. The CAC held that the ANPC failed to prove that seven (...)

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal narrows the scope of follow-on claims (Emerson Electric / Carbone)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
This article has been nominated by the Business Steering Committee for the business category, general antitrust section of the 2012 Antitrust Writing Awards. Click here to learn more about the Antitrust Writing Awards. On March 21, 2011, the U.K. Competition Appeal Tribunal (the “CAT”) struck (...)

The European Court of Justice issues a decision on a rubber chemicals cartel holding a parent company liable for the anticompetitive behaviour of its wholly-owned subsidiary and confirming that the presumption of parental liability is rebuttable (General Química)
Garrigues (Brussels)
The ECJ rules on parenthood (General Química v Commission)* The ECJ issued a Judgment yesterday in the General Química-Repsol case in which it partly upheld and partly annulled the General Court’s judgment dismissing the appeals against the Commission decision in the rubber chemicals cartel. In (...)

The UK Court of Appeal upholds a decision of the Competition Appeals Tribunal denying a claimant follow-on damages (Enron Coal Services/ English Welsh & Scottish Railway)
Francis Taylor Building
I. Overview In January 2011, the UK Court of Appeal (the “Court”) dismissed an appeal against a ruling of the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal (the “Tribunal”) that Enron Coal Services Ltd (“Enron”) was not entitled to follow on damages against English Welsh and Scottish Railway Ltd (“EWS”). The Court (...)

The European Commission issues new guidelines on horizontal co-operation agreements focusing on information exchanges under Art. 101 TFEU
Liege Competition and Innovation Institute
Information Exchange and Cartels – Dangerous Liaisons?* Are information exchanges really = cartels under EU competition law? The issue has triggered many discussions on the blog lately. I just thought I’d post my own ruminations on this. The Guidelines do not really say that information (...)

The European Commission issues new guidelines on the applicability of Art. 101 TFEU to horizontal co-operation agreements equating information exchanges between competitors with cartels
Garrigues (Brussels)
Information exchange=cartel?* Many have praised the inclusion of some guidance on exchanges of information within the new EU Guidelines on horizontal agreements. Personally, I agree with those arguing that guidance from the Commission was necessary, and I acknowledge that there are some useful (...)

The General Court of the European Union annuls a Commission’s decision limiting its discretion to reject complaints and addressing the issue of market definition in the luxury watches repair services and spare parts markets (CEAHR)
Garrigues (Brussels)
Wrapping up the week / Case T-427/08, CEAHR v Commission* Case T-427/08, CEAHR v Commission The complaint: The European Confederation for watch repairers associations lodged a complaint before the Commission alleging that watch manufacturers had engaged in agreements and/or concerted (...)

The EU General Court confirms the €38 million fine imposed for breaking a seal affixed to an office of a company by the Commission during an inspection (E.ON Energie)
Vogel & Vogel
On 15 December 2010, the General Court of the European Union (EGC) handed down a tough but very thoroughly argued decision on the infringement of breaking of an official seal. The European Commission had ordered an inspection of the premises of the company E.ON Energie AG in the context of an (...)

The Italian Court of First Instance confirms the Italian Competition Authority’s decision in a price fixing case concerning the liquefied petroleum gas sector (Butangas, Eni, Liquigas)
Bonelli Erede Pappalardo (Rome)
In its judgment delivered on 13 December 2010, the Italian Court of First Instance ("Tar Lazio") confirmed the decision by which the Italian Competition Authority ("ICA") found the three main operators active in the LPG sector in Italy (i.e. Butangas, Eni and Liquigas) to have coordinated their (...)

A US federal district court denies dismissal of antitrust conspiracy claim in tomato products industry (The Morning Star Company, SK Foods)
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
Claim of Antitrust Conspiracy Among Tomato Processors Avoids Dismissal* The federal district court in Sacramento, California, has refused to dismiss an antitrust claim alleging that SK Foods L.P.—a now-defunct food products distributor—conspired with others to eliminate competition in the market (...)

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 Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal holds that undertakings participating in an exchange of information amounting to a concerted practice should not be required to adduce irrefutable evidence that such exchange do not have any effect on their conduct on the market (KPN, Orange, Telfort, T-Mobile, Vodafone Libertel)
European Commission - DG HR
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European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
The Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal has held that by virtue of Article 6 of the ECHR, undertakings participating in an exchange of information amounting to a concerted practice should not be required to adduce irrefutable evidence that such exchange did not have any effect on their (...)

The Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court rules on key issues of private damages actions against hardcore cartels, decides on the indirect customer’s right to claim and addresses the challenging task of quantifying antitrust damages (Carbonless paper cartel)
Eberhard Karls University
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Eberhard Karls University
Introduction Private enforcement in hardcore-cartels cases is getting in motion. In Germany, within less than one year two actions for damages against participants in hardcore-cartels were successful. After the decision of the Berlin Higher Regional Court in the “Berliner Transportbeton”-case (...)

The Luxembourg Competition Council imposes its first fines for cartel practices and clarifies its fining and leniency policy (“Cité judiciaire”)
NautaDutilh (Luxembourg)
1. On 5 March 2010, the Luxembourg Competition Council (“Conseil de la concurrence”) has imposed fines on 7 flooring undertakings for bid rigging practices during a public procurement procedure for flooring works in the new court buildings in Luxembourg-City. The procedure began with a complaint (...)

A US District Court finds that the plaintiffs have failed to nudge their antitrust claims against building products distributor and grants order to dismiss the action (Bailey Lumber / BlueLinx)
Sheppard Mullin (Los Angeles)
Cross-Market Claims Flunk Twombly* In two companion opinions, Magistrate Judge Louis Guirola, Jr. of the Southern District of Mississippi granted motions to dismiss and greatly limited the scope of the claims asserted against several defendants in "opt out" actions following from the In re OSB (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit reverses a District Court decision and rules that the plaintiff satisfied the Twombly standard in a conspiracy case alleging parallel conduct (Starr / Sony BMG)
WilmerHale (Washington)
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In a notable recent decision, Starr v. Sony BMG Entertainment, 592 F.3d 314 (2d Cir. 2010), the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit addressed the pleading standard a plaintiff must satisfy to survive a motion to dismiss an antitrust conspiracy claim under § 1 of the Sherman Act (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority imposes an 8% fine to an association of undertakings for price fixing and refers for the first time to criminal investigation bodies (Association of the Depositories of Cereals)
NNDKP
Price fixing by associations of undertakings is no novelty in the competition world. Neither are heavy fines, although it is not often that a competition authority reaches an 8% fine for a short term infringement (be it price fixing), and without application of any aggravating circumstances. (...)

The Regional Administrative Tribunal for Latium upholds the decision of the Italian Antitrust Authority on the Pricing of Pasta case
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
By a judgment of December 2009 the Regional Administrative Tribunal for Latium decided on the appeal against the decision of the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) in the Pricing of Pasta case. The ICA had fined 26 pasta manufacturers and two trade association for having cartelized the market (...)

The Polish Appeal Court annulls the judgment of the Court of Competition and Consumer Protection pointing out that joint buying groups require a more in-depth competition analysis even in cases of resale price maintenance (PSB, Gamrat)
Hogan Lovells (Warsaw)
The Polish Appeal Court has quashed a Competition Court decision on procedural grounds pointing out that joint buying groups require a more in-depth competition analysis even in cases of resale price maintenance. On 10th November 2009, the Appeal Court issued a long awaited judgment concerning (...)

The Berlin Higher Regional Court rules on key issues of standing and standard of proof in cartel damages suits
Eberhard Karls University
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Eberhard Karls University
I. Introduction In its judgment on the first of October 2009 the Berlin Higher Regional Court has decided on important and disputed questions concerning the private enforcement of cartel damage claims under the German Act against restraints of Competition (“ARC”). Several statements in the (...)

The Belgian Supreme Court makes clear that a judge cannot invoke Art. 81.3 EC on its own motion if it was not invoked by one of the parties to the case (Brouwerij Haacht)
VMMa
Facts The case concerns an appeal to the Belgian Supreme Court against a decision of the Brussels Court of Appeal. It is important to note that the Belgian Supreme Court does not assess the facts of a case, it can only decide on the legality of a judgment. The case concerns an exclusive (...)

The English High Court denies representative action statute for antitrust price-fixing claims in the air freight services market (Emerald/British Airways)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom
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Dentons (Brussels)
On April 8, 2009, the English High Court of Justice, Chancery Division, granted British Airways’ request for an order striking two Plaintiffs’ representative claims. Though still subject to appeal, this decision potentially represents a significant obstacle to efforts underway to apply historical (...)

The Paris Court of Appeal confirms the fines imposed in a collective boycotting case and its strict case law on standard of proof (Defibrillators)
Hewlett Packard (Boulogne-Billancourt)
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Ginestié Magellan Paley-Vincent
On 8 April 2009, the Paris Court of Appeal (the "Court") confirmed the decision of the French Competition Council (the "Authority") dated 19 December 2007 to fine five of the world’s leading implantable heart defibrillator manufacturers (Biotronik, Ela Medical, Guidant, Medtronic and Saint Jude (...)

The ECJ Advocate General Kokott gives opinion on standard of proof with regard to anti-competitive concerted practices (T-Mobile Netherlands)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 19 February 2009, Advocate General Kokott delivered her opinion in relation to a preliminary reference from a Dutch court regarding the requirements that must be satisfied to establish an anti-competitive concerted practice for the purposes of Article 81(1) EC. The case before the Dutch (...)

A Belgian Court of appeal infers a cartel from a similar approach adopted by several medical oxygen providers boycotting a competitor (AGIM/Oxycure)
Arendt & Medernach (Luxembourg)
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NautaDutilh (Luxembourg)
Facts of the case 1. Oxycure markets an oxygen concentrator, which generates medical oxygen on the spot and hence constitutes an innovative and a more efficient alternative to medical oxygen distributed in bottles. As the oxygen concentrator works on electricity, Oxycure’s clients need reserve (...)

The German Federal Cartel Office imposes € 165 M fines against manufacturers of clay roof tiles for price fixing and applies leniency (Creaton, Pfleiderer Dachziegel, Koramic Dachprodukte, Monier, Erlus Gebr. Laumans)
Mutze Korsch Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft
Background The building materials sector has been often involved in cartel investigations over the last decades. The German Competition Authority (Federal Cartel Office, "FCO") is currently investigating more than one case where companies within this sector are alleged to have infringed (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority decides not to impose fines on ten producers of fluid-concrete as the participation of all undertakings in the infringement was not established and as result no appreciable restriction of competition could be determined (Betonmortelfabriek Utrecht)
Stibbe (Amsterdam)
Introduction On January 11, 2006 the Dutch Competition Authority (NMa) imposed fines on ten Dutch producers of fluid-concrete for a total amount of € 6 million for an infringement of Article 6 of the Dutch Competition Act. According to the NMa the undertakings exchanged information about price (...)

The Hungarian High Court of appeal upholds the competition office decision case and also accepts the approach of the first instance decision as regards the reduction of the fines (GIS cartel)
Oppenheim
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Oppenheim - Budapest
The Budapest Court of Appeal upheld, in its second instance judgment, the verdict of the Metropolitan Court of Budapest in the "GIS cartel" case: the judgment confirmed the existence of the infringement, whilst it accepted the lower court’s decision to decrease the fines imposed on the (...)

An Italian administrative Court confirms that a cartel took place in hospital supplies but slashes down fines (Bristol Myers Squibb)
Latham & Watkins (Brussels)
Introduction The Regional Administrative Tribunal of Latium, Rome Section (“TAR Latium”) by a judgment published on 6 June 2008 has upheld a decision of the Italian Antitrust Authority (“IAA”) finding that four companies had rigged supplies of ostomy products to the Italian National Health System (...)

A Portuguese Court annuls Competition Authority’s finding of a price fixing and market sharing cartel in the market for fire-fighting helicopters (Helicopters’ cartel)
PLMJ (Lisboa)
I. The facts and the administrative proceedings In October 2007, the Portuguese Competition Authority (the “PCA”) issued a decision finding a price-fixing and market-sharing cartel between Aeronorte and Helisul in their reply to the public tender for helicopters to fight forest fires, and (...)

A Dutch Court makes a reference for a preliminary ruling to the ECJ concerning the application of Art. 81.1 EC to concerted practice between mobile phone operators (KPN Mobile)
European Commission - DG HR
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European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
In December 2002, the Dutch Competition Authority (hereafter the ‘NMa’) imposed fines upon five Dutch mobile phone companies for breach of Article 6 of the Dutch Competition Act (a provision equivalent to Article 81 (1) EC). The NMa found that those mobile phone operators exchanged confidential (...)

The French NCA applies for the second time leniency and highlights discrepancy with EC competition law on concerted practices’ burden of proof ("Removals cartel")
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel (Paris)
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Eversheds Sutherland (Paris)
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Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Paris)
Summary of the decision Following an investigation with dawn raids and seizures initiated further to a leniency application, the French Competition Council has sanctioned a horizontal cartel between twelve companies in the sector of national and international removals to and from France, (...)

The French Commercial Supreme Court partly annuls the Paris Court of Appeal’s judgment on illicit exchange of sensitive information in the mobile telephony cartel, thus strengthening the standard of proof (Bouygues Telecom SFR and Orange)
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel (Paris)
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Eversheds Sutherland (Paris)
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Eversheds Sutherland (Paris)
French Commercial Supreme Court [Cour de cassation (Chambre commerciale, financière et économique)], 29 June 2007, Bouygues Telecom, Orange, SFR, Cases n° U 07-10.303, Z 07-10.354 and W 07-10.397 Proceedings In its decision of November 25, 2005, the French Competition Council imposed record (...)

The US Supreme Court defines minimum pleading standard in antitrust class action (Bell Atlantic/Twombly)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
In a 7-2 decision on May 21, 2007, the Supreme Court held that a complaint alleging antitrust conspiracy based on parallel conduct alone fails to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, No. 05-1126. Further, the Court held that a bare (...)

The Hungarian Supreme Court confirms the NCA’s decision having imposed a € 1.1 M fine for price fixing on the basis of Art. 81 EC to major multiplex movie theatres (Budapest Film)
Hogan Lovells
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Hungarian Supreme Court (Legfelsobb Bíróság), 25 April 2007, Budapest Film Kft, InterCom Rt, Palace Cinemas Magyarország Kft and UCI CE Magyarország Kft v. Hungarian National Competition Authority (Gazdasági Versenyhivatal) Hungarian Press release The Hungarian Competition Authority (“HCA”) (...)

The Romanian High Court quashes a NCA’s decision having imposed a 27 M euro fine for price fixing practices for insufficient proof on the basis, inter alia, of ECJ case law
Gide Loyrette Nouel
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Dechert (Paris)
Romanian High Court of Cassation and Justice (Înalta Curte de Casatie si Justitie), 5 March 2007, Decision n° 1358 The Romanian High Court of Cassation and Justice has recently made an application of the principles governing the burden and the level of proof in antitrust cases, overturning (...)

The Lithuanian Supreme Administrative Court confirms the NCA’s decision sanctioning taxi companies for price fixing through concerted practice (Martono taksi)
Sorainen (Vilnius)
In a decision dated 11 May 2006, the Lithuanian Supreme Administrative Court (LSAC) upheld the decision of the Vilnius District Administrative Court (VDAC) from 19 September 2006 with some corrections in the calculation of fines and confirmed the original decision of Lithuanian Competition (...)

The French NCA fines nearly 80 companies and trade associations for horizontal and vertical agreements in the sector of heating, sanitation, plumbing and air-conditioning products and clarifies the standard of proof applicable to anticompetitive meetings (Agreement in the sector of heating, sanitary, plumbing and air-conditioning products)
Dechert (Paris)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Paris)
In a decision of 9 March 2006, the French Competition Council (the "Council") fined nearly 80 companies and trade associations for unlawful practices implemented between 1993 and 1998 in the sector of heating, sanitation, plumbing and air-conditioning products. These practices included (i) (...)

The US Supreme Court reaffirms market power requirement to determine a tying arrangement as per se unlawful (Independent Ink)
BakerHostetler (Washington)
Are tying arrangements illegal per se?* In the deep, dark antitrust dungeon reserved for per se offenses, only one species of conduct remains that does not involve a horizontal conspiracy: tying arrangements. Minimum resale pricing agreements tunneled their way out thanks to the Supreme (...)

The US Supreme Court overturns a lower court decision for the plaintiff but reiterates the traditional method of proving secondary line price injuries under the Robinson-Patman Act (Volvo Trucks / Reeder-Simco)
Seattle University
The Robinson-Patman Act and Consumer Welfare: Has Volvo Reconciled them?* The Robinson-Patman Act is the black sheep of antitrust. Unlike the other antitrust laws, its fundamental goal is not to preserve competition in order to benefit consumers, but to limit competitive rivalry in order to (...)

The US Supreme Court reverses a lower court’s decision clarifying competitive injury and secondary price line discrimination under the Robinson-Patman Act (Volvo Trucks / Reeder-Simco)
Mayer Brown (New York)
Competitive Injury and Price Discrimination in the United States* In Volvo Trucks North America, Inc. v. Reeder-Simco GMC, Inc., the Supreme Court provided guidance on whether, under the Robinson-Patman Act, a manufacturer may offer one dealer better prices than another dealer when those (...)

The German Federal Court of Justice rules on the standard of proof for the existence of a revenue surplus from a cartel agreement (Transportbeton Berlin)
University College London
On June 28, 2005, the German Federal Court of Justice (FCJ) clarified the standard of proof in cases in which the state seeks to disgorge the revenue surplus (“additional proceeds”) from a cartel. I. Facts of the case Between 1995 and 1998, nearly all producers of ready-mixed concrete in the (...)

Dominance

The EU General Court holds that a duty to procure specific documents might be imposed on the Commission at the request of an undertaking which is the subject to an antitrust investigation under certain circumstances (Intel)
Mircea & Partners (Bucharest)
Access to documents not to be found in the Commission’s possession I. Background The Intel Cases have occupied the international arena of antitrust litigation for the past ten years and a definitive resolution has not been reached yet. The administrative proceeding initiated by the Commission (...)

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal awards damages in a follow-on claim arising from abuse of dominance on the market for transportation and partial treatment of water (Albion Water / Dŵr Cymru Cyfyngedig)
Blackstone Chambers
Albion v Dwr Cymru: Incompetence and counterfactuals* The Competition Appeal Tribunal today delivered that rarest of beasts: a judgment awarding damages in a follow-on claim. After its decade-long fight, Albion Water has been awarded around £2 million for Dŵr Cymru’s abuse of dominant position in (...)

The Lithuanian Supreme Administrative Court declares that the Competition Council has to perform new evaluation of commitments since its decision lacked motives and was inconsistent (TEO / Viasat)
Law firm of Raimundas Moisejevas (Vilnius)
Background On 22 November 2011, the Lithuanian Competition Council passed resolution on termination of investigation proceedings concerning conformity of Viasat World Limited and Viasat AS actions to the Article 9 of the Competition law. The present article of the Competition law prohibited (...)

The Specialized Administrative Court of Kazakhstan fines two major regional cement producers for a tacit collusion (Semei Cement Plant / Bukhtarma cement company)
Center for Development and Protection of Competition Policy
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Ernst & Young (Astana)
The regional division of the Antimonopoly agency – the Antimonopoly inspection of the East Kazakhstan oblast (‘Inspection’) conducted an investigation over the main competitors in the regional cement market, "Semei Cement Plant" LLC (‘LLC’) and "Bukhtarma cement company" JSC (‘JSC’), whose main (...)

A Chinese Intermediate Court dismisses antitrust claims for failing to prove abusive conduct in the car aftermarket (Dongfeng Nissan case)
Institute of American Studies
The Dongfeng Nissan Case and the Gaps of China’s Competition Law Regime in Tackling Vertical Restraints* The recent Dongfeng Nissan Case shed some interesting lights on the status of vertical restraints rules in China, three years after China’s Anti-Monopoly Law (AML) became effective in August (...)

A US district court, relying on ’common sense’, denies a motion to dismiss allegations of a ’price squeeze’ in the paper bags industry (WPK / Duro)
Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice (Washington D.C.)
California Court Relies on “Common Sense” in Rejecting Twombley Challenge* Perhaps there is life for conclusory antitrust claims after Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007). On May 24, the United States District Court for the Central District of California denied a motion to (...)

The EU Commission is called on to assess whether a company in the online search market has abused of its dominant position under Art. 102 TFEU (Microsoft, Google)
Liege Competition and Innovation Institute
Microsoft v. Google – Clash of the Titans* On Behalf of the Antitrust Community, A Big Thank You – Antitrust law professors should be grateful to Microsoft (hereafter, “MSFT”). As a repeat offender of the competition laws, MSFT has provided scholars with loads of research and educational material (...)

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 Italian Supreme Administrative Court reforms a judgment of first instance and considers an airport managing company not responsible for abuse of dominant position under art. 102 TFEU in the market for centralized airport infrastructures (SEA - Airport tariffs)
University Luiss Guido Carli - GRIF (Rome)
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Economisti Associati
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University Luiss Guido Carli - GRIF (Rome)
In September 2009, the Regional Administrative Court of Latium (Tribunale Amministrativo Regionale del Lazio) upheld the appeal from AIR ONE S.p.A., an Italian airline now merged with Alitalia, against a decision of the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) concerning the alleged abuse of (...)

A Chinese intermediate People’s court dismisses antitrust claims for failing to prove abusive conduct in the termite prevention service market (HY/HT)
China Competition Bulletin (Beijing)
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China Competition Bulletin (Beijing)
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Institute of American Studies
Huzhou Yiting Termite Prevention Service Co., Ltd (HY) v Huzhou Termite Prevention Research Institute (HT) Pending in the Zhejiang Higher People’s Court* On 25 November 2009, HY filed a suit against HT in the Hangzhou Intermediate People’s Court, alleging that HT had abused its dominance in (...)

A Chinese Court issues second abuse of dominance’s decision under the new anti-monopoly law (Baidu,TRISC)
Jones Day (Beijing)
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Jones Day (Beijing)
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Winston & Strawn (New York)
On December 18, 2009, a Chinese court ruled in favor of Baidu, Inc. (“Baidu”), allegedly the largest Chinese search engine company, in a lawsuit filed by Tangshan Renren Information Service Company (“TRISC”), an online information platform. TRISC alleged that Baidu abused its dominant market (...)

A US Court of Appeals sets aside FTC’s order holding that the Agency failed to prove antitrust violation in the computer memory industry (Rambus)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
On April 22, 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held in Rambus Inc. v. FTC, No. 07-1086, that the FTC failed to prove that Rambus Inc. violated antitrust law when it participated in a trade organization’s setting of industry technology standards without (...)

A Macedonian Court quashes a NCA’s decision establishing an abuse of dominance of the incumbent electricity provider on the electricity market (Elektrostopanstvo)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
Summary The Macedonian Administrative Court quashed the NCA’s decision imposing financial penalties for abuse of dominant position committed by Elektrostopanstvo on the electricity market. The main reason for the annulment consisted in the NCA’s failure to include all requisite information, (...)

The European Court of First Instance partially upholds the Commission’s decision concerning an abuse of a dominant position in the PC operating system (Microsoft)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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FTI Consulting (Brussels)
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Belgian Competition Authority (Brussels)
"The judgment of the Court of First Instance in the Microsoft case"* I. The 2004 Decision On 24 March 2004, the Commission adopted a decision pursuant to Article 82 EC concluding that Microsoft had abused its dominant position in the PC operating system market by (i) refusing to provide (...)

A US Court of Appeals applies a cost-based test to attempted monopolization claim premised on multiproduct discounting (Cascade Health Solutions / PeaceHealth)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
The Ninth Circuit evaluated the antitrust implications of multiproduct or “bundled” discounts in Cascade Health Solutions v. PeaceHealth, CV-02-06032 (Sept. 4, 2007). In doing so, the Ninth Circuit rejected the controversial Third Circuit rule of LePage’s Inc. v. 3M, 324 F.3d 141 (3d Cir. 2003), (...)

The Lisbon Court of Commerce quashes the Competition Authority’s first ever abuse of dominant position infringement decision in the underground ducts’ telecom network access case, upheld on appeal (PT Comunicações)
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
I. The case, the PCA’s decision and the judgments After receiving complaints from telecom undertakings “TvTel Comunicações” and “Cabovisão”, the Portuguese Competition Authority (hereinafter “PCA”) launched an investigation in 2003 into the allegations that Portugal Telecom Comunicações (hereinafter (...)

The UK High Court of Justice rejects a claim of predatory behaviour on a local bus transport services market (Chester City Transport v. Arriva)
King’s College (London)
Introduction and Background to the Claim In Chester City Council and Chester City Transport Limited v. Arriva Plc, Arriva Cymru Limited and Arriva North West Limited [2007] EWHC 1373 (Ch), the High Court of Justice had to consider a claim brought by Chester City Council (‘the Council’) and (...)

The US Supreme Court recognizes a limited claim for predatory bidding (Weyerhaeuser)
Penn State University
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University of Florida
Weyerhaeuser Co. v. Ross-Simmons Hardwood Lumber Co.: The U.S. Supreme Court Recognizes a Limited Claim for Predatory Bidding* Monopsony is the negative image of monopoly. Narrowly defined, it is the structural condition in which a well-specified good or service has only one buyer. But just (...)

The US Supreme Court extends monopoly predatory pricing standards to monopsony predatory bidding practices (Weyerhaeuser)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
On February 20, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a significant opinion in which it concluded that the test it had set forth previously to govern predatory pricing cases applies also to cases involving allegations of predatory bidding. See Weyerhaeuser Co. v. Ross-Simmons Hardwood Lumber Co., (...)

The UK Court of Appeal overturns the first ever finding by the High Court of an abuse of dominance pursuant to Art. 82 EC (Attheraces/British Horseracing Board)
White & Case (London)
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Reed Smith (London)
Background A recent decision of the Court of Appeal has reversed the first ever High Court finding of an Article 82 infringement in litigation between private parties. Attheraces v British Horseracing Board was an appeal from the High Court decision of Justice Etherton. The Judge who had held (...)

The French Supreme Court lowers the standard of proof for anticompetitive practices and quashes the Paris Court of Appeal judgment in the Ténor case, regarding calls from landlines to mobile phones (ETNA / France Telecom-SFR)
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Paris)
Following a referral by an association of telecom operators disputing the pricing policy of integrated operators (i.e. offering both landline and mobile phone services), the French Competition Council had, in its decision of 14th October 2004, found against France Télécom and SFR and fined them (...)

The Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court of England & Wales gives important guidelines as to the standard of proof for claiming damages in competition cases (Arkin)
Reed Smith (London)
Arkin v. Borchard Lines Ltd., [2003] All E.R. (D) 173, [2003] EWHC 687 (Comm) (10 April 2003), is important as one of the first damages claims brought in a United Kingdom court for breach of Articles 81 and 82 of the Rome Treaty involving private enforcement of competition law. It was decided (...)

Mergers

The Czech Supreme Administrative Court cancels the decision of the Regional Court which has refused a producer of lignite access to the file of a competitor in a merger control case (Litvínovská Uhelná)
Kinstellar (Prague)
Subject matter of the case On 3 August 2008, Litvínovská uhelná a.s. (“Litvínovská uhelná”), a producer of lignite and at that time a part of the Czech Coal Group (one of the major players in the Czech energy sector) filed a complaint to the Czech Office for Protection of Competition (the “Office”) (...)

A US Court of Appeals rejects the FTC’s attempt to identify a relevant product market in a pharmaceuticals related merger (Lundbeck)
Cleveland-Marshall School of Law
FTC v. Lundbeck: Why, God, Why?* What really has the world come to when a merger to monopoly followed by a 1300% price increase survives Section 7 challenge? That, sadly, seems to be the final result in Federal Trade Commission v. Lundbeck, which the Eighth Circuit affirmed last Friday. (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit upholds a lower court’s finding that the FTC failed to show the relevant market in a case concerning the acquisition of two drugs treating a similar heart defect (Lundbeck)
Scharf Banks Marmor
What Is a Relevant Market Anyhow?* The Eight Circuit, in FTC v. Lundbeck, Inc., No. 10-3458/3459 (Aug. 19, 2011), upheld the district court’s finding that the FTC failed to show a relevant market, and thus was unable to challenge the acquisition of the drug NeoProfen. It already owned a drug (...)

The EU Commission clears in phase I a merger in the silicon sector examining possible coordination by the Chinese State of market behaviour of Chinese State-owned companies (China National Bluestar/Elkem)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
How to deal with Chinese State-owned Enterprises under the EUMR?* On 13 September, the Commission published its decision of 31 March 2011 in China National Bluestar/Elkem. After DSM/Sinochem/JV (decision of 10 May but published in June), this was the second published decision which dealt in (...)

A US District Court reaffirms importance of market definition in antitrust merger analysis (Golden Gate Pharmacy / Pfizer)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
On April 16, 2010, Judge Maxine M. Chesney of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed a complaint raising a private antitrust challenge to the merger of Pfizer, Inc. and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, because she concluded that the complaint failed sufficiently to (...)

The UK OFT accepts the application of the "Failing Firm Defence" in retail stores acquisition (HMV, Zavvi)
Linklaters (Hong Kong)
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Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft (Brussels)
On 14 May 2009, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), the UK’s competition agency, allowed an application of the « failing firm defence » under UK competition law, thereby clearing the HMV/Zavvi retail store acquisitions to proceed. The UK is one of the few jurisdictions to have explicitly recognised (...)

The Irish High Court overturns an NCA merger decision, finding the determination vitiated by material error in two respects, with particular focus on the significance of countervailing buyer power (Rye Investments)
Arthur Cox (Dublin)
On 19th March, 2009, the Irish High Court annulled the decision of the Irish Competition Authority (“ICA”) to block Kerry Group’s proposed acquisition of one its major competitors, Breeo Foods. Kerry’s acquisition of Breeo was notified to the ICA in March 2008. The proposal affected a number of (...)

A US District Court grants FTC request for preliminary injunction to block a 3-2 transaction in the market for electronic systems used to estimate the cost of collision repairs (CCC Holdings / Aurora Equity Partners)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
On March 18, 2009, Judge Collyer of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia released the public version of a significant opinion supporting her order granting the FTC a preliminary injunction in connection with the proposed $1.4 billion merger of CCC Information Systems (...)

The Macedonian Administrative Court confirms a merger prohibition decision in the market for retail distribution of pharmaceutical products (Zegin)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
On 1 June 2006 Zegin, leading distributor of the pharmaceuticals on the territory of Skopje municipality agreed with two other retail distributors of medicines - Alkaloid and Pharma Corp. to acquire joint control over City Pharmacy in Skopje , which owned a network of pharmacies in the (...)

The German Federal Court of Justice confirms the prohibition of an energy merger considering that the German market for primary sales of electricity is dominated by a duopoly (E.ON / Stadtwerke Eschwege)
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Berlin)
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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
In a judgment of 11 November 2008, the German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof) (Federal Court) upheld a previous decision of the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf (Higher Regional Court) which had itself confirmed a decision of the Federal Cartel Office (FCO) blocking E.ON’s plan to (...)

A US Court of Appeals reverses ruling against preliminary injunction in the organic food sector lowering bar for the FTC to challenge a merger (Whole Foods / Wild Oats)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
On July 29, 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit reversed the denial of a preliminary injunction sought by the FTC against a merger of Whole Foods Market, Inc. and Wild Oats Markets, Inc., in a ruling that significantly lowers the bar for the FTC to obtain preliminary (...)

The EU Court of Justice annuls the Court of First Instance’s judgment relating to a joint venture in the music publishing sector (Sony / BMG)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG FISMA
"The Joint Venture SonyBMG: final ruling by the European Court of Justice"* By judgment of 10 July 2008 in Case C-413/06 P, Bertelsmann and Sony Corporation of America v Impala (the “Judgment”), the Court of Justice (the “Court”) annulled the ruling by the Court of First Instance (the “CFI”). The (...)

The US FTC dismisses merger challenge after parties publicly announced to abandon the proposed acquisition in the healthcare industry (Inova / PWHS)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
Inova Health System Foundation (Inova) and Prince William Health System, Inc. (PWHS) announced today that they will abandon their proposed merger. This announcement comes after the Federal Trade Commission sought to preliminarily enjoin the merger so that it could conduct a “Fast Track” (...)

The Belgian Competition Council rules on the extent of veto rights necessary and sufficient for a minority shareholder to exert joint control over a JV within the meaning of merger control (Belgacom - Vodafone Belgium - Belgacom Mobile)
Loyens & Loeff (Bruxelles)
In its Belgacom - Vodafone Belgium - Belgacom Mobile merger decision, the Belgian Competition Council cleared in phase I the increase of Belgacom’s stake in Belgacom Mobile from 75% to 100%, through the acquisition of Vodafone Belgium’s 25% stake. The decision is interesting for two reasons. It (...)

A Dutch Court annuls a Dutch Competition Authority’s decision that conditionally cleared a merger between electricity companies for not having sufficiently demonstrated that the merger would lead to the creation or strengthening of a dominant position (Nuon/Reliant)
RBB Economics (Brussels)
On 31 May 2005, the Court of Rotterdam in the Netherlands annulled a decision by the Nederlandse Mededingingsautoriteit (NMa), the Dutch competition authority, concerning the proposed merger between electricity companies Nuon and Reliant . After a detailed inquiry, the NMa had cleared the (...)

The European Court of Justice dismisses the Commission’s appeal in a case concerning a merger in the packaging industry addressing the issues of conglomerate and vertical mergers (Tetra Laval/Sidel)
Sullivan & Cromwell (Brussels)
"Conglomerate and vertical mergers in the light of the Tetra Judgement"* Speech given at the International Forum on EC Competition Law organised by the Studienvereinigung Kartellrecht, Brussels 08/04/2005. The author would like to thank Michael König and Guillaume Loriot for their valuable (...)

The European Court of First Instance annuls the Commission’s decision declaring as incompatible with the common market a merger between Swiss-based packaging company mainly active in carton packaging, with a French packaging company mainly active in plastic PET packaging equipment (Tetra Laval/Sidel)
European Commission - DG ECFIN
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG GROW
"Merger Control: Main developments between 1st September 2002 and 31st December 2002"* On 25 October 2002, the Court of First Instance (CFI) delivered its ruling in case T-5/02, Tetra Laval v Commission, and annulled the Commission’s Decision of 30 October 2001 declaring as incompatible with (...)

State Aids

The ECJ Advocate General Trstenjak issues his opinion on the burden of proof in relation to recovery illegal State aid decisions (MTU Friedrichshafen)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In an opinion handed down on 19 February 2009, Advocate General Trstenjak proposes that the Commission’s appeal against a judgment of the Court of First Instance (CFI) which annulled a Commission decision ordering the recovery of illegal aid should be dismissed. The Advocate General considers, (...)

A Swedish Court applies the market economy investor principle in a State aid case (Thomas Svensson / City of Stockholm)
Cederquist
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Swedavia AB
Background In November 2005, Thomas Svensson (“Svensson”) appealed a decision by the City Council of Stockholm (the “City”) to the Stockholm County Administrative Court claiming that the decision by the City to give green light to four Stockholm city-controlled companies to invest in broadband (...)

A Swedish Court rules on alleged illegal State aid from the City of Stockholm to promote local broadband infrastructure (Thomas Svensson)
Swedavia AB
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Hudson Advisors
Introduction There are no specific rules with regard to state aid in Sweden and the number of cases brought before a Swedish court are few. This, of course, causes a certain amount of unpredictability and uncertainty as regards the application of the EC state aid rules in the national legal (...)

The French Civil Supreme Court requested a preliminary ruling from the ECJ with regards to the implementation of the Ferring case law : Advocate General Tizzano supports the reimbursement of the tax on direct sales paid by French pharmaceutical laboratories (Boiron/ACOSS)
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel (Paris)
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Eversheds Sutherland (Paris)
Background Law n° 97-1164, of 19 December 1997, on social security funding for 1998 set up a special 2.5 % tax payable only by pharmaceutical laboratories on sales of medicines made directly to pharmacies. Proceeds from the tax were aimed at financing the social security system. However, (...)

The EU Court of First Instance annuls the Commission decision rejecting a complaint concerning an alleged State aid in favor of a subsidiary of the French postal services incumbent (Sytraval)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
"SYTRAVAL"* In its judgment of 28 September 1995 in case T-95/94 «SYTRAVAL« v. Commission the Court of First Instance (CFI) annulled the Commission’s decision of 31 December 1993 rejecting a complaint in respect of alleged state aid in favour of «Sécuripost«, a subsidairy of the state-owned French (...)

Procedures

The EU Court of Justice conditionates the access upon proof of the utter dependence on disclosure of the documents contained by the file (EnBW)
Mircea & Partners (Bucharest)
Access to information as a procedural right of a cartel victim as recognized by EU law* The judgement in Commission v EnBW (C-365/12, 27 February 2014) has already awakened a lot of interest. The facts are very simple. EnBW, an energy-distribution company requires access to the cartel file (...)

The EU Court of Justice consolidates view on effective remedy for excessive length of proceedings before the General Court in competition cases (Groupe Gascogne)
Clifford Chance (Athènes)
In the Groupe Gascogne judgment delivered on 26 November 2013, the Court of Justice consolidates its conception on issues of effective judicial protection in competition law adjudication. The case originated in an action for annulment against the General Court (GC) judgment T-72/06 Groupe (...)

The Canadian Supreme Court rules on the matter of standing to sue for damages held by indirect purchasers in class action proceedings (Sun-Rype Products / Archer Daniels Midland)
Steve Szentesi Law Corporation
New C.D. Howe Institute Report on Indirect Purchaser Class Actions Before Supreme Court Decision – Consensus? Open the Door* Canada’s Supreme Court is expected to release a long awaited indirect purchaser competition class action decision on 31 October 2013. This case, and the tortuous (and (...)

The Canadian Supreme Court rules on the matter of standing to sue for damages held by indirect purchasers in class action proceedings (Infineon Technologies / Option Consommateurs)
Steve Szentesi Law Corporation
New C.D. Howe Institute Report on Indirect Purchaser Class Actions Before Supreme Court Decision – Consensus? Open the Door* Canada’s Supreme Court is expected to release a long awaited indirect purchaser competition class action decision on 31 October 2013. This case, and the tortuous (and (...)

The Canadian Supreme Court rules on the matter of standing to sue for damages held by indirect purchasers in class action proceedings (Pro-Sys Consultants / Microsoft)
Steve Szentesi Law Corporation
New C.D. Howe Institute Report on Indirect Purchaser Class Actions Before Supreme Court Decision – Consensus? Open the Door* Canada’s Supreme Court is expected to release a long awaited indirect purchaser competition class action decision on 31 October 2013. This case, and the tortuous (and (...)

The Court of Appeal of England and Wales rules that the making of an order for further information against a French litigant is in the English Court’s discretion, and is not precluded by French Law No. 68-678 or the Council Regulation No 1206/2001 (Secretary of State for Health / Servier Laboratories)
Blackstone Chambers
Curtains for the French Blocking Statute?* Never the most celebrated actor on the stage of English litigation, the French Blocking Statute nonetheless has its fans, particularly among competition lawyers. The recent decision of the Court of Appeal in Secretary of State for Health v Servier (...)

The Court of Appeal of England and Wales rules that the making of a disclosure order against a French litigant is in the English Court’s discretion, and is not precluded by French Law No. 68-678 or the Council Regulation No 1206/2001 (National Grid Electricity Transmission / ABB)
Blackstone Chambers
Curtains for the French Blocking Statute?* Never the most celebrated actor on the stage of English litigation, the French Blocking Statute nonetheless has its fans, particularly among competition lawyers. The recent decision of the Court of Appeal in Secretary of State for Health v Servier (...)

The UK Court of Appeal clarifies the rules regarding “on the merit” appeals and underlines in red the “insuperable task” that parties challenging competition authority decisions must overcome (Everything Everywhere)
The University of Manchester
Everything Everywhere v Competition Commission was an appeal brought by the UK’s mobile telephone operator, Everything Everywhere Ltd (the “Appellant”), following the Competition Appeal Tribunal’s (the “Tribunal”) ruling in May 2012. The Court of Appeal (the “Court”) dismissed the appeal in favour of (...)

The UK Government announces plans to introduce an opt-out class action regime in its consultation paper on options for reforming the private enforcement system (DBIS)
Blackstone Chambers
Collective Actions: loss in complex cases* The big news from last week’s UK announcement on reforming private competition enforcement is that the government plans to introduce opt-out class actions for competition claims. The proposals incorporate various “safeguards” designed to ensure that the (...)

The EU Court of Justice entirely rejects an appeal by German energy company for failing to substantiate the unduly reversed burden of proof and the allegedly incorrect assessment of the fines imposed for breaching a seal during a EU dawn raid (E.ON)
Mircea & Partners (Bucharest)
I. Introduction Breaching of a seal constitutes a serious violation of the Commission’s investigative powers in the competition field for which fines not exceeding 1 % of the undertaking’s turnover may be imposed. On 15 April 2008, E.ON Energie brought an action for annulment against a (...)

The US Second Circuit reversed grant of summary judgment on horizontal price-fixing claim (Publication Paper Antitrust Litigation)
Cohen Milstein (Washington)
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Cohen Milstein (New York)
In this case, the Second Circuit overruled a district court order granting summary judgment to a company accused of horizontal price-fixing. The plaintiffs presented direct evidence of conspiracy in the form of testimony from one of the conspirators who testified that he had reached an (...)

The UK Government publishes a consultation on private actions in competition law proposing a rebuttable presumption of 20% price rise for damages against proven cartels
University of East Anglia - CCP (Norwich)
Article published on Centre for Competition Policy blog. A Rebuttable Presumption of 20% Price Rise for Damages against Proven Cartels?* The UK Government yesterday published a consultation on private actions in competition law. It includes a suggestion that there should be a rebuttable (...)

The Tokyo District Court awards damages to the Japanese State in a bid-rigging case concerning the supply of jet fuel (Kosumo Sekiyu)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
I. Introduction In a judgment of 27 June 2011, the Tokyo District Court ordered nine oil companies to pay a total of 8.4 billion yen (104 million dollars at the time) to the Japanese State in restitution. The oil companies had violated the Japanese Antimonopoly Act by engaging in bid-rigging (...)

The US Supreme Court reverses class action certification raising hurdles for antitrust collective redress cases (Wal-Mart Stores/Dukes)
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)
This article has been selected for the business category, general antitrust section of the 2012 Antitrust Writing Awards. Click here to learn more about the Antitrust Writing Awards. On June 20, 2011, in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, the United States Supreme Court handed down its decision (...)

The French Criminal Supreme Court takes side in favour of the admissibility of the appeal by the Rapporteur général of the Competition Authority in a case concerning emails seizure (Orange)
Linklaters (Paris)
House searches carried out by the French competition authority (“Autorité de la concurrence”), a shared prerogative since 2009 with the Ministry of Finance & Economy (“DGCCRF”), are in principle governed by the Code of Criminal procedure. Furthermore, it has been held by the Supreme Court in (...)

A US Federal Court reinforces that the Twombly “facial plausibility” standard serves as strong basis for dismissal in a price-fixing class action (LaFlamme / Société Air France)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
On April 5, 2010, Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York issued a Memorandum and Order dismissing the plaintiffs’ putative antitrust class-action complaint against KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and others for failing to state a claim. The plaintiffs (...)

The US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania adopts "scope of patent" test for analyzing Hatch-Waxman patent settlements (Cephalon)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
,
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
On March 29, 2010, Judge Mitchell S. Goldberg upheld antitrust lawsuits filed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and private plaintiffs against drug maker Cephalon, Inc. (Cephalon), alleging that Cephalon conspired with four generic drug manufacturers to delay generic competition for the (...)

The European Commission publishes documents on Best Practices in competition law enforcement and on the role of the Hearing Officers
European Commission (Brussels)
European Commission: Best practices improve Transparency and Predictability of Proceedings In order to further enhance the transparency and the predictability of Commission antitrust proceedings, detailed explanations concerning how European Commission antitrust procedures work in practice (...)

The Spanish Supreme Court passes an important judgment concerning the violation of the right to rely on all relevant evidence in an antitrust case (SOS Cuetara)
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
,
Garrigues
Introduction On 10 December 2009, the Spanish Supreme Court (Tribunal Supremo) passed an important judgment concerning the limits of the notion of due process under Spanish law. In particular, the Supreme Court shed some light on the consequences of the violation of the right to rely on all (...)

The Russian Constitutional Court confirms the constitutionality of certain provision of the Competition Law regulating the powers of the national competition authority (Gazenergoset and Nizhnekamskneftkhim)
University of Technology (Tallinn)
In 2006 two companies, applicants in the present case, OAO “Gazenergoset” and OAO “Nizhnekamskneftkhim” have been found in violation of the competition law. Russian Competition Authority (Федеральная Антимонопольная Служба) (FAS) found that undertakings concerned participated in the concerted practices and (...)

The Paris Court of Appeal opposes to the Supreme Court on admissibility of evidence obtained without the knowledge of the companies under investigation (Avantage / Sony / Philips)
Université Catholique de Lille
,
Potamitisvekris
On 29 April 2009, the Paris Court of Appeal dismissed for the second time the appeal of Philips and Sony against a decision of the Competition Council in 2005 condemning an agreement between the two companies and their respective distributors. In so doing, the Court of Appeal expressed its (...)

The French Commercial Supreme Court rules that the NCA may not rely on unfairly obtained recordings as evidence (Sony France and Philips France)
Vogel & Vogel
A small consumer electronics discount retailer brought an action before the Competition Council against some of its suppliers for vertical agreements made with their respective distributors. In support of the action, the retailer produced tapes containing the recordings of phone conversations (...)

The Swedish Market Court rejects the NCA’s application for fining an association of undertakings providing car towing services for price setting due to standard of proof issue (MRF - Bärgarna / Assistancekåren)
Swedish Competition Authority (Stockholm)
,
Swedavia AB
In 2002, the Swedish Competition Authority (the ) received complaints regarding the Swedish association of companies which provide car towing services, MRF-Bärgarna, and its subsidiary Assistancekåren Sweden AB (“Assistancekåren”). The SCA launched an investigation and in January 2003 carried out (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit holds that parties to an arbitration agreement that prohibited joinder of jointly and severally liable defendants did not alter any substantive right under the Sherman or Clayton Acts (Cotton Yarn Antitrust Litigation)
White & Case (Washington)
In In re Cotton Yarn Antitrust Litigation, (505 F.3d 274 (4th Cir. 2007) the Fourth Circuit held inter alia that parties to an arbitration agreement that prohibited joinder of jointly and severally liable defendants did not alter any substantive right under the Sherman or Clayton Acts so as to (...)

Public sector

The EU General Court rules on the boundaries of the duty to state reasons in decisions addressed to tenderers whose offers are rejected in public procurement procedures (UAB Gaumina / EIGE)
European Procurement Law Group
Of lost emails, the duty to state reasons and a dimming light in the horizon of eProcurement (T-424/12)* In its Judgment of 28 November 2013 in case T-424/12 UAB Gaumina v Institut européen pour l’égalité entre les hommes et les femmes (EIGE), the General Court has ruled once more on the (...)

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