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Platforms

Anticompetitive practices

The Frankfurt Court of Appeals submits preliminary reference on how to treat bans on sales via third-party internet platforms in selective distribution systems (Coty)
Heinz & Zagrosek (Köln)
Ban on sales via third-party internet platforms in Germany and Pierre Fabre – recent referral to the Court of Justice* The question of how to treat bans on sales via third-party internet platforms in selective distribution systems and the impact of the Court of Justice’s Pierre Fabre ruling (see (...)

The Hellenic Competition Authority decides to not launch investigation in hotel market (Booking.com / Expedia)
Hellenic Competition Authority (Athens)
HCC decides not to proceed with a formal investigation into BOOKING & EXPEDIA’s cooperation agreements with hotel businesses in Greece * The Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) reviewed the revised parity terms in the agreements between online travel agencies (OTAs) BOOKING.COM and (...)

The UK Competition Authority closes its hotel online booking investigation (Booking.com)
UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) (London)
CMA closes hotel online booking investigation* The CMA today announced that it has closed an investigation into suspected breaches of competition law in the hotel online booking sector. The investigation was launched by the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) predecessor, the Office of (...)

ECJ Advocate General Szpunar issues opinion on circumstances where the use of an online booking system by travel agents may amount to a concerted practice (Eturas)
Stanford University - Stanford Law School
EU Court of Justice’s Advocate General issues opinion on circumstances where the use of an online booking system by travel agents may amount to a concerted practice* On 16 July 2015 Advocate General Szupnar handed down his opinion following a request for a preliminary ruling by the Court of (...)

European Competition Authorities adopt decisions on Most Favoured Nation clauses and rebate schemes that are relevant and applicable in the context of ASEAN competition law (Booking.com / Post Danmark)
Rajah & Tann (Singapore)
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Rajah & Tann (Singapore)
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McCarter & English (Washington, DC)
Introduction As we move into the second half of the year, we examine two recent competition enforcement cases in Europe, and consider their relevance and applicability in the context of ASEAN competition law. Specifically, we discuss the position taken in Europe with regards to Most Favoured (...)

The Italian Competition Authority issues a commitment decision and closes an investigation regarding contracts concluded between online booking websites and their partner hotels (Online Hotel Reservation)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
By a commitment decision made on 21 April 2015 in the Mercato dei Servizi Turistici-Prenotazione Alberghiere Online case (thereinfter Online Hotel Reservation) the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) has closed an Article 101 TFEU investigation against Booking. The ICA has launched the (...)

The Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court upholds the decision of the Bundeskartellamt prohibiting the application of the «best price clause » in the online hotel booking sector (HRS / Expedia / Booking.com)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
HRS’s ‘best price’ clauses violate German and European competition law - Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court confirms Bundeskartellamt’s prohibition decision* Today the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court rejected HRS’s appeal against the Bundeskartellamt’s decision of 20 December 2013. In its decision the (...)

A US District Court dismisses with prejudice a class action insofar as the class action’s plaintiffs have not overcome the pleading deficiencies following the first judicial review of their pleadings (OTC Hotel Booking)
Stanford University - Stanford Law School
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas dismissed Second Consolidated Amended Complaint against hotel chains and online travel agencies* On 28 October 2014 the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Texas dismissed with prejudice a class action against hotel chains and (...)

The Italian Competition Authority launches an investigation for alleged vertical agreements entered into with their partner hotels in violation of Article 101(1) TFEU (Booking.com / Expedia)
NCTM - Studio Legale Associato (Milan)
On 7 May 2014, the Italian Competition Authority (Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato, the “Authority”) launched an investigation against Booking.com BV (hereinafter, “Booking”), Booking.com (Italia) S.r.l., Expedia Inc. (hereinafter, “Expedia”), and Expedia Italy S.r.l. for alleged (...)

The US District Court of Dallas dismisses a class action lawsuit filed by an online travel discount company against 12 dominant hotel chains and 9 online travel agencies alledging unfair exclusion from the market (OTC / Hotel Booking)
Stanford University - Stanford Law School
U.S. District Judge in Texas dismisses class action lawsuit against conspiracy by online travel agencies and hotels to fix the price of hotel rooms* On 18 February 2014, U.S. District Judge Jane Boyle of the Northern District of Texas Dallas Division dismissed a class action lawsuit that (...)

The US District Court of Dallas dismisses antitrust claims because plaintiffs did not plausibly state an agreement on the market for direct online sale of hotel room reservations leaving the question of potential anticompetitive effect of the most favored nation (MFN) clause without an answer (OTC / Hotel Booking)
University of Michigan
OTA Case Turns Out to Be Less about MFNs and More about Agreement* Back in September 2012, the potential anticompetitive aspects of most favored nation (MFN) clauses was the hot antitrust topic. While antitrust counselors (and courts) had found the clauses to be innocuous almost all the time, (...)

The UK OFT accepts commitments from online travel agents enabling them and the hotels to offer discounts on rates for hotel rooms (Booking.com)
Stanford University - Stanford Law School
UK Office of Fair Trading closes investigation into hotel online booking practices On 31 January 2014, the UK Office of Fair Trading (“OFT”) accepted the commitments from online travel agents, Booking.com B.V. (“Booking.com”, and its ultimate parent company priceline.com Incorporated) and Expedia (...)

The German Federal Cartel Office issues a press release concerning its decision to prohibit the hotel booking portal from continuing to apply its “best price” clause (Booking.com / Expedia / HRS)
Stanford University - Stanford Law School
German Federal Cartel Office bans use of MFN clauses by HRS and opens new proceedings against Booking.com and Expedia* On 20 December 2013, Germany’s Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) issued a press release concerning its decision to prohibit the hotel booking portal HRS from continuing to apply its (...)

The UK OFT opens consultation on the revised commitments proposed by online travel agencies (Booking.com / Expedia)
Stanford University - Stanford Law School
UK OFT weighs revised commitments in the online hotel accommodation bookings* On 20 December 2013, the United Kingdom’s Office of Fair Trading (“OFT”) opened a consultation on the revised commitments proposed by Booking.com B.V. (“Booking.com”), Expedia Inc (“Expedia”) and InterContinental Hotels (...)

The German Competition Authority forbids the application of most favoured nation clause and orders its removal from the contracts between hotels and booking portals (HRS portal)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Online hotel portal HRS’s ’best price’ clause violates competition law – Proceedings also initiated against other hotel portals* Bonn, 20 December 2013: Today the Bundeskartellamt prohibited HRS from continuing to apply its ’best price’ clause (most favoured nation clause) and ordered the company to (...)

The UK OFT issues draft commitments in an investigation into the sector for hotel online booking (IHG / Expedia / Booking.com)
Accenture (Dublin)
Hotel Online Booking: The OFT announces its intention to accept binding commitments* On 9 August 2013, the OFT issued draft commitments in the Hotel Online Booking investigation. The OFT has investigated the relevant markets for over 2 years and has provisionally found that certain hotels (...)

The German Competition Authority continues to view the best price clause used by a hotel booking portal in a critical manner (HRS)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt continues to view HRS’s best price clause critically* The Bundeskartellamt has confirmed its competition concerns about the best price clause used by the hotel booking portal HRS. After examining the statements of HRS and all other relevant market participants, the (...)

The UK OFT issues statement of objections against two online travel agents and one hotels group for alleged restrictive practices (Booking.com / Expedia / Intercontinental Hotels)
European Commission (Brussels)
United Kingdom: The Office of Fair Trading issues Statement of Objections against Booking.com, Expedia and Intercontinental Hotels Group* On 31 July 2012, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) issued a Statement of Objections alleging that Booking. com B.V. (Booking.com), Expedia Inc (Expedia) and (...)

Dominance

The French Competition starts, in collaboration with 9 National Competition Authorities and the EU Commission, a survey among hoteliers to assess the remedies implemented in the hotel booking sector (Booking.com)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Hotel booking platforms* The Autorité de la concurrence launches, in collaboration with 9 national competition authorities and the European Commission, a survey among hoteliers in order to assess the effects of the remedies implemented in Europe in the hotel booking platforms sector. (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority pursues the monitoring of the online booking market after closing its sector inquiry
Hungarian Competition Authority (Budapest)
The GVH continues to monitor the hotel booking market after closing its sectoral inquiry* The Hungarian Competition Authority (Gazdasági Versenyhivatal, GVH) prepared its report on its sectoral inquiry on the online accommodation booking market. Due to the positive changes that took place on (...)

The German Federal Cartel Office terminates proceedings regarding possible abuse of dominance in the market for the distribution of passenger train tickets and accepts several commitments by the incumbent train company (Deutsche Bahn)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
By a decision of 24 May 2016, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) announced that it had terminated proceedings against Deutsche Bahn AG after having accepted several commitments. In 2014, the FCO initiated an investigation against Deutsche Bahn AG and reached the preliminary conclusion that (...)

The German Competition Authority informs that, following its investigations, a railway company has decided to make far-reaching changes to the sale of passenger tickets (Deutsche Bahn)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Deutsche Bahn AG to make changes to ticket sales* Following investigations by the Bundeskartellamt, Deutsche Bahn AG has undertaken to make far-reaching changes to the sale of passenger tickets. The measures will improve the ticket sales possibilities of its competitors. In early 2014 the (...)

The German Competition Authority prohibits the "best price" clauses implemented by a hotel online booking company (Booking.com)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Narrow ’best price’ clauses of Booking also anticompetitive* Today the Bundeskartellamt prohibited Booking (Booking.com Deutschland GmbH, Berlin, and Booking.com B.V., Amsterdam) from continuing to apply its ’best price’ clauses and ordered the hotel booking portal to completely delete the clauses (...)

The Croatian Competition Authority opens an ex officio investigation regarding an apps sales market (Google)
Croatian Competition Agency
CCA investigation in Android apps sales market* Following some press articles claiming that the Croatian software companies were forced to open branch offices or find partners abroad because Google did not allow them to register for direct sale of their apps via the Google Play store, the (...)

The French Competition Authority obtains extensive commitments from an online hotel booking company (Booking.com)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Online hotel booking sector* The Autorité de la concurrence, in coordination with the European Commission and the Italian and Swedish authorities, has obtained particularly extensive commitments from Booking.com aiming to boost competition between online booking platforms and give hotels more (...)

The Italian Competition Authority renders legally binding the commitments proposed by an online hotel booking company (Booking.com)
Italian Competition Authority (Roma)
Commitments offered by booking.com: closed the investigation in Italy, France AND Sweden* On 21 April 2015, the Italian Competition Authority has rendered legally binding the commitments offered by Priceline Group’s companies Booking.com BV and Booking.com (Italy) and closed, with respect to (...)

The German Competition Authority sends a statement of objections to an online hotel booking company suspected to abuse of dominance (Booking.com)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt issues statement of objections regarding Booking.com’s ’best price’ clauses* Today the Bundeskartellamt has informed Booking.com Deutschland GmbH, Berlin, of its competition concerns regarding the continued use of ’best price’ clauses in its contracts with hotels in Germany. This (...)

The French Competition Authority receives commitments from an online hotel booking company aiming at ending practices likely to constitute an abuse of dominance (Booking.com)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Online hotel booking sector* Booking.com has proposed to the Autorité de la concurrence to remove the so-called “pricing parity clause” obliging hotels to grant it pricing conditions that are at least as favorable as those granted to the other online platforms Hotels can now place booking.com in (...)

The Italian Competition Authority initiates antitrust proceedings concerning use of most favored nation clauses in the online hotel reservations space (Booking.com / Expedia)
Stanford University - Stanford Law School
Italian competition authority investigates online hotel bookings* On 7 May 2014, the Italian Competition Authority (“Agcm”) initiated proceedings (decision only available in Italian) against Booking.com and Expedia in the online hotel reservations space. This is yet another case in the wake of (...)

The German Competition Authority initiates proceedings on the suspicion of abuse of dominant position in the sale of rail passenger tickets (Deutsche Bahn)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Proceedings initiated against Deutsche Bahn AG Suspicion of restricting competition in ticket sales* The Bundeskartellamt has initiated proceedings against Deutsche Bahn AG on the suspicion that it has abused its dominant position in the sale of rail passenger tickets. Andreas Mundt, (...)

Mergers

The German Competition Authority publishes a discussion paper on internet platforms in merger control, contractual restrictions of competition and abuse of dominance scenarios
Heinz & Zagrosek (Köln)
The FCO publishes discussion paper on internet platform markets* On October 1, 2015, the FCO published a paper entitled “Digital economy – internet platforms between competition law, privacy and consumer protection” on the occasion of a conference of the working group competition law (consisting (...)

Regulations

The French Competition Authority publishes an opinion regarding the implementation of a new online taxi reservation platform (Le.taxi)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité has published the opinion issued to the Government on the implementation of the Le.taxi platform* Following publication of the texts launching the Le.taxi service, the Autorité de la concurrence has published the opinion it issued to the Government. Subject to compliance with a (...)

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