Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)

Jean-François Bellis

Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
Founding Partner

Jean-François Bellis is a founding partner of Van Bael & Bellis and is based in its Brussels office. Jean-François Bellis started to practice law in Brussels in 1975 specialising in competition and trade law. In 1979 - 1980, he served as Legal Secretary to Lord Mackenzie Stuart at the Court of Justice of the European Communities in Luxembourg. In 1986, together with Ivo Van Bael, he founded Van Bael & Bellis, of which he is managing partner. In the field of competition law, Jean-François Bellis has advised international clients in numerous cases at EC and national level involving a broad range of antitrust issues, including price-fixing, abuses of a dominant position, mergers, distribution and licensing. In the field of trade law, he has advised international clients in countless EC anti-dumping cases as well as in many of the less frequently used EC countervailing, safeguard and "trade barriers" proceedings. He has been appointed by the WTO Director-General as a member of a WTO panel. Jean-François Bellis has extensive litigation experience in EC competition and trade cases. He has been involved in a large number of the major competition and trade cases in front of the Court of First Instance and the Court of Justice of the European Communities. Jean-François Bellis has written numerous books and articles in the field of competition and trade law and has spoken on these two subjects at many international conferences and seminars.


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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)


Jean-François Bellis
Jean-François Bellis 31 May 2017 Brussels
Jean-François Bellis - New frontiers of antitrust 2015
Jean-François Bellis 15 June 2015 Paris


2003 Bulletin

Jean-François Bellis, Kris Van Hove, Tim Kasten The EU General Court annuls the Commission’s decision finding that rebates granted by a large semiconductor chip manufacturer resulted in an abuse of dominance (Intel)


In a judgment issued today, the General Court of the European Union has annulled the part of the EU Commission’s decision of 13 May 2009 finding that rebates granted to Intel’s major OEM customers infringed Article 102 TFEU. The Court also annulled the fine of € 1.06 billion imposed on Intel. (...)

Jean-François Bellis Legal privilege: An overview of EU and national case law


Since 1982, the year in which the Court of Justice recognized the existence of a legal professional privilege in EU law in its AM & S judgment, this issue has been a source of debate as well as frustration within legal and business circles in the EU in view of the limitations to the scope (...)

18656 Review

Jean-François Bellis, Valérie Lefever Commitments : The General Court of the European Union finds that a letter and e-mails from the European Commission interpreting commitments previously made binding do not constitute measures against which an action for annulment may be brought under Article 263 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (1&1 Telecom ; Multiconnect ; Mass Response Service)


On 9 October 2018, the Court of First Instance of the European Union (the "CFI") declared inadmissible the actions brought by three companies against four e-mails and one letter from the Commission concerning the commitments made binding in the context of the decision of 2 July 2014 (...)

Jean-François Bellis, Valérie Lefever Exclusive control: The European Commission authorises a multi-national conglomerate operating in the telecommunications sector to takeover the exclusive control of a joint venture it previously had joint control on, subject to assume full responsibility for complying with the commitments submitted when the European Commission authorised the creation of the joint venture (Hutchison / Wind Tre)


On 31 August 2018, the European Commission authorised Hutchison to acquire sole control of Wind Tre, previously jointly controlled by Hutchison and VEON, on condition that Hutchison would resume compliance with the commitments that were a condition for the authorisation of the joint venture in (...)

Jean-François Bellis, Valérie Lefever Telecommunications: The European Commission authorizes a mobile service telecommunications provider to take over a fix telecommunications service provider in Austria, considering that there activities differ both and as a result are not closely competing (T-Mobile Austria / UPC Austria)


On 9 July 2018, following a preliminary examination ("Phase I"), the European Commission approved the acquisition of UPC Austria by T-Mobile Austria. Both companies provide telecommunications services in Austria. UPC offers mainly fixed services (with, however, limited activities as a mobile (...)

Jean-François Bellis, Valérie Lefever Standstill obligation: The Court of Justice of the European Union recalls that a merger is only subject to notification when there is a change of control of the targeted undertaking, with the result that a cooperation agreement may be denounced before the notification of the operation and before it’s clearance by competition authorities (EY / KPMG)


On 31 May 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union (the "Court") had the opportunity to clarify the scope of the standstill obligation included in Article 7(1) of Regulation 139/2004 of 20 January 2004 on the control of concentrations between undertakings, i.e. the prohibition to (...)

Jean-François Bellis, Valérie Lefever Gun jumping: The European Commission imposes a fine of EUR 125,5 million to a multinational cable and telecommunications company based in the Netherlands for implementing its acquisition of the Portuguese telecommunications operator before notification or approval by the European Commission (Altice / PT Portugal)


On April 24, 2018, the European Commission announced that it had imposed a fine of €124.5 million on the Dutch group Altice for having acquired the Portuguese telecommunications and multimedia operator PT Portugal prior to the notification of this concentration and its clearance by the (...)

Jean-François Bellis, Valérie Lefever Duty to state reasons: The General Court of the European Union annuls a Commission decision clearing the acquisition of a Dutch cable operator by an international group of telecommunications for failure to state adequate reasons (KPN)


On October 26, 2017, the Court of First Instance of the European Union annulled a 2014 decision by which the European Commission authorized Liberty Global to acquire the Dutch cable operator Ziggo, subject to compliance with commitments. Liberty Global is an international group of cable (...)

Jean-François Bellis, Valérie Lefever Gun jumping: The General Court of the European Union upholds a Commission decision imposing a EUR 20 million fine on a Norwegian company for implementing a concentration without prior notification or authorisation (Marine Harvest)


In a judgment of October 26, 2017, the European Court of First Instance confirmed the European Commission’s decision of July 23, 2014 to impose a fine of €20 million on the Norwegian fish farming company Marine Harvest for having acquired the Norwegian salmon producer Morpol in December 2012 (...)

Jean-François Bellis Misleading information: The European Commission fines an undertaking operating a social network due to incorrect or misleading information provided during the examination of its acquisition of a consumer communications services company (Facebook)


The European Commission has sanctioned Facebook, owner of the social network of the same name, for providing "inaccurate or misleading" information during the Commission’s review of Facebook’s plans to acquire the consumer messaging application WhatsApp. This is the first time that the (...)

Jean-François Bellis Full-function joint venture: The Advocate General Kokott considers that an operation seeking to transform an undertaking, which was under control of one group, under common control of two groups does constitute a merger under regulation EC n° 139/2004 only if the joint venture can qualify as a full-function joint venture (Austria Asphalt)


Advocate General Juliane Kokott has delivered her Opinion in the first preliminary ruling in the merger control proceedings. This concerns the material scope of application of the EC Merger Regulation 139/2004 ("the EC Merger Regulation") and more particularly the concept of full-function (...)

Jean-François Bellis, Valérie Lefever Commitments: The European Commission, following an in-depth review, clears a merger between two American groups active in crop protection and seeds, subject to structural commitments aiming at maintaining price competition and innovation for pesticides (Dow / DuPont)


On 27 March 2017, following an in-depth Phase II review, the European Commission cleared the merger between the US groups Dow and DuPont, subject to compliance with commitments made by the parties. Dow is the parent company of the eponymous American group. It is active in the plastics, (...)

Jean-François Bellis, Valérie Lefever Commitments : The European Commission authorises takeover of a social network operator by a manufacturer of management software solutions, subject to conditions aiming at preserving competition between professional social networks (Microsoft / LinkedIn)


The European Commission has conditionally approved Microsoft’s acquisition of the LinkedIn professional social network. The conditions attached to this clearance were linked to the Commission’s concerns that the transaction would allow Microsoft to use the strong position of its Windows (...)

Jean-François Bellis, Valérie Lefever Shipping consortium: The European Commission approves container liner shipping merger, providing that the target company withdraws its participation from a consortium on the trade routes between Northern Europe and North America (Hapag-Lloyd / UASC)


The European Commission has authorised the container liner shipping company Hapag-Lloyd to acquire one of its competitors, United Arab Shipping Company (UASC), on condition that UASC withdraws from the NEU1 consortium. Consortia, or alliances, are co-operative agreements between maritime (...)

Jean-François Bellis, Valérie Lefever Joint Venture : The European Commission clears a merger between mobile network operators in Italy providing that they allow a fourth operator to join the market (Hutchison 3G Italy / WIND / JV)


After an in-depth investigation, the European Commission has conditionally authorised the telecommunications companies Hutchison and VimpelCom to merge their Italian subsidiaries H3G and WIND into a single joint venture. Both Hutchison and VimpelCom are active in the retail market for mobile (...)

Jean-François Bellis Sale of assets to preserve innovation: The European Commission clears the acquisition of energy business by a multinational conglomerate company subject to divestment of innovative assets (General Electric / Alstom)


Following an in-depth (Phase II) investigation, the European Commission has conditionally approved the purchase by the US conglomerate General Electric of the power generation activities of the French multinational Alstom, subject to conditions. The businesses divested by Alstom relate to (...)

Bruno Lasserre, Jean-François Bellis, Jed Saul Rakoff, Wouter Wils Commitment decisions: Tool of choice or poison for antitrust enforcement? (New Frontiers of Antitrust, 15 June 2015, Paris)


This first roundtable of the “New frontiers of Antitrust” conference, Paris, 15 June 2015, was dedicated to the commitment decisions as « tool of choice or poison » for antitrust enforcement. After an introduction of Bruno Lasserre, President of the French Competition Authority describing the (...)

Jean-François Bellis The last word is always to the defendant


The European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Union have clarified in two decisions the relationship between administrative competition proceedings and fundamental rights. The Strasbourg Court holds that an administrative authority, which is not an independent and (...)



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