Bulletin

Anticompetitive practices

The EU Commission fines several truck manufacturers for cartel (Scania)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission fines Scania €880 million for participating in trucks cartel* The European Commission has found that Scania broke EU antitrust rules. It colluded for 14 years with five other truck manufacturers on truck pricing and on passing on the costs of new technologies to meet (...)

The UK CMA annonces the launch of a market investigation into investment consultancy services and fiduciary management services
Morgan Lewis (London)
On 14 September 2017, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced that, following a reference from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), it was launching a market investigation into investment consultancy services and fiduciary management services to and by institutional investors (...)

The French Supreme Court refers a case on online platform sales ban back to the Paris Court of Appeal without waiting for an upcoming ruling of the EU Court of Justice on a similar case (Caudalie / eNova)
Van Bael & Bellis
On 13 September 2017, the French Supreme Court ordered the Paris Court of Appeal to rehear a case for failing to sufficiently substantiate its finding that an obligation in Caudalie’s selective distribution system constituted a probable restriction of competition by object. In the selective (...)

The EU General Court reduces the fine after re-hearing the bathroom fixtures and fittings cartel case (Laufen Austria)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 12 September 2017, the General Court (“GC”) handed down its judgment on an appeal lodged by Laufen Austria, a bathroom equipment manufacturer, against a Commission decision in connection with the bathroom fixtures and fittings cartel case, which was referred back to it for determination by the (...)

The Turkish Competition Board concludes its ready-mixed concrete investigation with no fines (Çimbeton)
ELIG, Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
The Competition Board launched a fully-fledged investigation into 10 ready-mixed concrete companies active in the city of Izmir, which had been accused of undertaking a concerted practice for three months and thus violating Article 4 of Law 4054. Following a 16-month investigation, on August 22 (...)

The U.S. DOJ announces that an e-commerce company and its president have agreed to plead guilty to participating in a price-fixing conspiracy (Zaappaaz)
Jones Day (San Francisco)
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Jones Day (San Francisco)
Background Texas-based e-commerce company Zaappaaz, Inc.—doing business as WB Promotions, Inc., Wrist-Band.com, and Customlanyard.net—and its president both agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to fix prices for customized promotional products sold online in the United States, including (...)

The Hellenic Competition Authority fines undertakings active in the construction sector (AKTOR)
Hellenic Competition Authority (Athens)
Settlement Procedure - Infringement decision with fines addressed to undertakings active in the construction sector regarding infringements of Article 1 of the Greek Competition Act and Article 101 TFEU* The Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC), by unanimous decision, found that fifteen (15) (...)

The Chinese Competition Authority fines several industry associations for price-fixing (Paper manufacturers and Power compagnies)
Jones Day (Beijing)
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Jones Day (Beijing)
Historically, most industry associations in China were quasi-governmental and served as forums through which member companies coordinated their activities, in some cases including price-setting. For this reason, anticompetitive behavior through industry associations is even more of a salient (...)

The French Competition Authority fines several companies which have implemented exclusive import agreement (Materne)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Exclusive distribution of dessert products in La Réunion and Mayotte* The Autorité de la concurrence fines Materne and its wholesaler-importer for continuing to implement an exclusive import agreement after the “Lurel Act” came into force. The “Lurel Act” bans any exclusive import agreement The (...)

The German FCO publishes a sector inquiry in cement and ready-mix concrete
Heinz & Zagrosek (Köln)
German Federal Cartel Office publishes sector inquiry in cement and ready-mix concrete* The German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) has published its sector inquiry report in cement and ready-mix concrete. While the report targets the cement and ready-mix concrete sector and its particularities (...)

The German Competition Authority issues its report on its inquiry into the cement and ready-mix concrete sector
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt publishes report on its inquiry into the cement and ready-mix concrete sector* Today the Bundeskartellamt has published the final report on its inquiry into the cement and ready-mix concrete sector. Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartellamt: "The cement and ready-mix (...)

The EU Commission sends a statement of objection to a pharmaceutical company regarding possible pay-for-delay agreement (Teva / Cephalon)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission sends Statement of Objections to Teva on ’pay for delay’ pharma agreement* The European Commission has informed pharmaceutical company Teva of its preliminary view that an agreement concluded with Cephalon was in breach of EU antitrust rules. Under the agreement, Teva (...)

Unilateral Practices

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

The Cyprus Competition Authority sends a statement of objections to a chemical and consumer goods company suspected to have abused of its dominance (Henkel)
Commission for the Protection of Competition of the Republic of Cyprus
The Commission for the Protection of Competition announces that it has notified Statements of Objections to Henkel AG & Co KGaA and its subsidiary GPM Henkel Ltd jointly and severally regarding a prima facie infringement of Section 6(1)(b) of the Protection of Competition Laws of 2008 and (...)

The EU Court of Justice accepts an alternative to the United Brands test to establish excessive pricing (AKKA / LAA)
Desogus Law Office (Cagliari)
On replying to the preliminary questions referred by the Supreme Court of Latvia (SCL), in AKKA v LAA the CJEU has accepted a methodology other than the two-limb United Brands test to establish an excessive pricing practice. The CJEU also clarifies the criteria to set the amount of the fine (...)

Advocate General Mengozzi takes a new look at exhaustion of trademark rights and seems prepared to accept erosion of such rights (Schweppes)
Van Bael & Bellis
On 12 September 2017, Advocate General Mengozzi (“AG”) delivered an opinion in the Schweppes case in the context of a request for a preliminary ruling to the Court of Justice of the European Union (“ECJ”) from a Spanish Court. In particular, the AG proposed to develop the case-law on the exhaustion (...)

The EU Court of Justice quashes the 2014 judgment of the General Court that upheld a fine of €1.06 billion for an abuse of dominant position by implementing loyalty rebates based on exclusivity agreements (Intel)
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 6, 2017 ,the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) quashed the 2014 judgment of the General Court (GC) that upheld a fine of €1.06 billion ($1.5 billion) on Intel Corporation Inc. (Intel) for abusing a dominant market position by implementing loyalty rebates based on (...)

The EU Court of Justice refers a case back to the General Court for re-examination (Intel)
Norton Rose Fulbright (Brussels)
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Norton Rose Fulbright (London)
Major victory for Intel as CJEU sends case back to General Court for re-examination* On 6 September, the EU’s highest court, the Court of Justice (CJEU), released its long-awaited decision in the Intel case, in which the Commission imposed a fine of €1.06 billion – at the time, the largest fine (...)

The EU Court of justice revisits forty years of case law on when a dominant company’s rebate scheme may be abusive (Intel)
Baker McKenzie (Brussels)
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Baker McKenzie (London)
In its ruling on the European Commission’s 500 page Intel decision, in a crisp 150 paragraphs, the EU Court of Justice (the Court) revisited forty years of jurisprudence on when a dominant company’s rebate scheme may be abusive. Though no final decision for Intel, the case marks a potentially (...)

The EU Court of Justice annuls a General Court ruling that upheld the fine imposed by the Commission for an abuse of dominance (Intel)
Jones Day (Brussels)
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Jones Day (Brussels)
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Morgan Lewis (Frankfurt)
What happened? The European Court of Justice ("ECJ") set aside a General Court ruling that had upheld a €1.06 billion fine imposed by the European Commission on Intel for abusing its dominant position in the market for x86 central processing units ("CPUs"). Background In its 2009 decision, (...)

The EU Court of Justice endorses an effects-based assessment of rebates (Intel)
White & Case (Brussels)
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White & Case (Brussels)
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White & Case (Brussels)
On 6 September 2017, the Court of Justice of the European Union ("CJEU" or "Court") essentially held in Intel that the European Commission ("Commission") cannot consider rebates, and in particular loyalty rebates, as per se illegal. Rather, the Commission needs to show that a specific rebates (...)

The EU Court of Justice issues landmark judgment on legal treatment of fidelity rebates granted by dominant companies (Intel)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 6 September 2017, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“ECJ”) issued its long-awaited judgment in the Intel case (Case C-413/14 P), setting aside the General Court’s (“GC”) judgment. The GC must now re-assess the legality of the Commission’s decision in light of the ECJ’s ruling. Intel was (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority, after its market study into online video platforms, finds no dominant market power among online video streaming platforms (Youtube)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
No dominant market power among online video streaming platforms* The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has conducted a market study into online video platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Netflix, and Dumpert. ACM did not find any indications for anticompetitive risks on the (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority decides that a worldwide manufacturer of luxury sunglasses abused its dominant position by granting rebates and resorting to other exclusionary practices (Luxottica)
University of Sussex
This case note analyses the decision of the Turkish Competition Authority (TCA) in which it has decided that the worldwide manufacturer of luxury sunglasses, Luxottica, abused its dominant position it held in the market for the wholesale of branded sunglasses by its rebate schemes which include (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a funeral company for abuse of dominance (Comtet)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Funeral services in the Ain département* The Autorité de la concurrence funeral company Comtet that, at the time of the alleged events, was running the crematorium in the town of Viriat in the département of the Ain under a public service franchise agreement with the municipal council, for two (...)

The French Competition Authority acceptes remedies proposed by a sugar producer suspected to have abused of its dominant position (Tereos)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Sugar production / Picardie* Tereos takes commitments under the French competition authority that it will open up its procurement contracts. Sugar beet growers will benefit from greater freedom to choose the sugar groups that they want to supply. The complaint by Saint-Louis Sucre France’s (...)

Mergers

The EU Commission clears a merger, subject to remedies, in the vending services market (Pelican Rouge / Selecta)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Pelican Rouge by Selecta, subject to conditions* The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of vending services provider Pelican Rouge of the Netherlands by Selecta of Switzerland. The clearance is (...)

The Polish Competition Authority imposes a fine of more than EUR 78,000 on a consumer eggs producer for gun-jumping (Fermy Drobiu Woźniak)
WKB Wierciński Kwieciński Baehr (Warsaw)
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WKB Wierciński Kwieciński Baehr (Warsaw)
In its decision of 19 September 2017, the Polish Competition Authority (Prezes Urzędu Ochrony Konkurencji i Konsumentów, hereinafter referred to as the “PCA”) fined Fermy Drobiu “Woźniak” sp. z o.o. (hereinafter referred to as the “FDW”) the amount of PLN 339,000.00 (approx. EUR 78,000.00) for failure (...)

The EU Commission proposes a new regulation that would allow the Commission and Member States to adopt rules for screening foreign direct investment
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 14 September 2017, the European Commission proposed a new regulation to allow the Commission and the Member States to adopt rules for screening foreign direct investment (“FDI”) in the EU that raises concerns on grounds of security or public order (the “Proposal”). The Proposal aims to (...)

The French Competition Authority opens an in-depth investigation concerning a merger in the online property advertising (Logic-Immo.com / SeLoger.com)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence has begun an in-depth examination as part of the review of the take-over of Concept Multimédia (Logic-Immo.com) by the Axel Springer group (SeLoger.com)* The Axel Springer group, which is active mainly on the online property adverting market via SeLoger.com, (...)

The EU Court of Justice renders a judgement regarding the rules governing the notification of mergers resulting in the creation of joint ventures (Austria Asphalt)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Cologne)
On 7 September 2017, the European Court of Justice issued its preliminary ruling in Case C-248/16 Austria Asphalt. The judgment clarifies that a change from sole to joint control over an existing undertaking is a notifiable concentration under the Merger Regulation only if the resulting joint (...)

The EU Court of Justice clarifies the application of the EU merger control rules to joint ventures (Austria Asphalt)
McDermott Will & Emery (Düsseldorf)
European Court of Justice clarifies application of European Union merger control rules to joint ventures* On 7 September 2017, the European Court of Justice issued a decision (Decision) on the interpretation of the European Union Merger Regulation (EUMR). The Decision clarifies the conditions (...)

The EU Court of Justice decides EU merger control rules can only apply to joint control transactions if the resulting entity is a ‘full-function’ joint venture (Austria Asphalt)
Shearman & Sterling (London)
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Shearman & Sterling (London)
On September 7, 2017, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) decided that, where joint control is acquired over a new or existing undertaking (or parts of an undertaking), that transaction can only fall within the scope of the EU Merger Regulation (EUMR) where the resulting entity will be (...)

The EU Commission refers back to the French Competition Authority a merger in the waste management sector (La Poste / Suez groups)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The European Commission has referred the review of the creation of a joint venture between the La Poste and Suez groups, in the waste management sector* The European Commission referred the review of the creation of a joint venture between the La Poste and Suez groups. The two companies (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation in the agrochemicals market (Monsanto / Bayer)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of Monsanto by Bayer* The Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of Monsanto by Bayer under the EU Merger Regulation. The Commission has concerns that the merger may reduce (...)

The Italian administration changes merger notification thresholds
Shearman & Sterling (Rome)
After 894 days of discussion, the Italian Parliament has approved, on 2 August 2017, what should be the “annual” competition act — a series of measures that should be adopted on a yearly basis to promote competition. Among the disparate set of measures contained in the new law, concerning a range (...)

The EU Commission clears, subject to remedies, on the chemicals market (FMC/Dupont)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission conditionally clears both FMC’s acquisition of parts of DuPont’s crop protection business and DuPont’s acquisition of FMC’s Health and Nutrition business* The European Commission has conditionally approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, FMC’s proposed acquisition of parts of (...)

State Aid

The EU Commission confirms that Ireland granted State Aid to a company (Apple)
Simmons & Simmons (Luxembourg)
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Simmons & Simmons (Luxembourg)
On 30 August 2016, the EU commission confirmed that in their view, Ireland granted illegal State Aid to Apple. Such State Aid is allegedly granted in the form of a selective tax treatment. The decision is the latest in the EU Commission’s moves to use State Aid principles in a direct tax (...)

Procedures

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

The US Democrats publish "A Better Deal" policy statement with proposals to change antitrust/competition enforcement
Weil, Gotshal & Manges (Washington)
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Weil, Gotshal & Manges (Washington)
Democrats’ "Better Deal" policy statement proposes significant changes for antitrust/competition enforcement* On July 24, 2017, Democratic Party leaders unveiled “A Better Deal,” their plan to improve economic conditions for the American working class. A key element of the Better Deal plan to (...)

Regulatory

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

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