European Court of Justice (Luxembourg) University Paris Nanterre

Ludovic Bernardeau

European Court of Justice (Luxembourg), University Paris Nanterre
Legal Secretary / Professor

Ludovic Bernardeau studied European and comparative law in France (Poitiers), Canada (Montréal), Belgium (KU Louvain), England (KCL) and Italy (Roma 1). He has been involved in commercial diplomacy (WTO, Geneva) and in research in Italy (Unidroit, Rome) and in Germany (Academy of European law, Trier), before joining the European Court of Justice in 2001, where he has been law clerk, at the General Court, of Judge Vesterdorf (2003-2005) and, at the Court, of Judge K. Lenaerts (2006-2010). He is since 2012 law clerk at the General Court where he mainly deals with competition cases. He is also senior lecturer at the University of Paris-Nanterre where he teaches competition law. He is a recognized expert in EU competition law as well as in EU tax law. In 2013, he published, with Jean-Philippe Christienne, a leading treaty on fines for breach of EU competition law (Larcier, 2013, 1184 p.) and, in 2017, a comprehensive essay on recidivism in competition laws (Bruylant, 2017, 251 p.).

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18549 Review

Ludovic Bernardeau Interbank settlement : The The French Supreme Court rejects the appeal lodged by the French Competition Authority and puts an end to the saga of interbank fees for the exchange of cheque images (BNP Paribas ; Crédit mutuel ; Crédit agricole...)


Nowadays, very few people write or accept cheques. What’s more, they have to be endorsed in order to be negotiated. In France, unlike banknotes and bills of exchange, cheques are not negotiable: endorsement is a precondition for collection from the beneficiary’s bank. And his bank must debit (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau Passive sales : The French Competition Authority fines several entities belonging to a group that produces and sells bakery equipment for agreeing on prices and prohibiting passive sales as part of a settlement procedure (L’ACB)


Nowadays, Pagnol’s succulent film would seem to be a dinosaur in the so-called "bakery industry". In this case, the traditional baguette industry. It can’t be invented. The proof is in the decision reported here, in which the French Competition Authority [hereinafter "the Authority"] (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau, Etienne Bodéré Exclusive right to import: The French Competition Authority sanctions several companies of a champagne producing group for granting exclusive import rights, and two importing wholesalers - located in Guyana and Guadeloupe - for having benefited from these exclusive import rights (Arvitis / Sodis Chrismay / Sodipa)


Champagne, as we know, is drunk at exactly the right temperature and cannot be cut with anything - even more so, with no exclusive import rights, as the French Competition the Competition Authority in its decision n° 23-D-02 of March 8, 2023. By the decision under review, the Authority (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau Collective agreements: The European Commission publishes guidelines on the application of competition law to collective agreements concerning the working conditions of self-employed workers


After the famous judgments of the Court of Justice in the Albany (ECJ, Sept. 21, 1999, C-67/96, EU:C:1999:430) and Kunsten (CJEU, Dec. 4, 2014, C-413/13, EU:C:2014:2411) cases, in particular, did the Commission have to clarify, by self-limiting, its delimitation of the scope of application of (...)

Etienne Bodéré, Ludovic Bernardeau Cartel: The General Court of the European Union partially annuls the decision of the European Commission by accepting different pleas from certain air carriers and essentially confirms – by thirteen judgments – the decision of the European Commission sanctioning them in the air cargo cartel case (Air Cargo Carter)


On March 30, 2022, the Union Court issued thirteen new judgments in the air cargo cartel case. As a reminder, Following the submission of leniency applications by Lufthansa and two of its subsidiaries on December 7, 2005 - which were granted immunity from fines - the European Commission (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau Sanctions : The French Competition Authority sanctions two groups of judicial officers in Paris and Seine-Saint-Denis, as well as some of their members, for non objective, non transparent and discriminatory membership conditions


There are exploits of bailiffs which would gain from not being quoted. Certainly, for some of this body, certainly not the executores of Antiquity, nor those of the community of the sergeants with rod and horse of the Châtelet, the competition law was not a subject required for the access to (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau Fine: The European Commission fines an Italian company and its French subsidiary €20 million for their participation in a cartel for canned vegetables (Conserve Italia)


In September 2019, the Commission had adopted a "settlement" decision against Bonduelle, Coroos and Groupe CECAB for their participation in a cartel in the largely understood pea market, dividing up markets and fixing prices for certain canned vegetables across Europe. Conserve Italia had (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau Partial immunity: The Court of Justice of the European Union dismisses the appeal against the judgment of the General Court of the European Union in the car battery recycling case, interpreting the conditions for partial immunity under the 2006 Cooperation Communication in the light of its case law on the 2002 Communication (Recyclex)


In the judgment reported here, the Court of Justice dismisses the appeal against a judgment of the Court of First Instance dismissing the case concerning the recycling of car batteries, in which an undertaking consisting of three companies, Recylex, challenged the 30% reduction in the fine (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau Fines: The Court of Justice of the European Union dismisses the appeal against the judgment of the General Court of the European Union in the food retail packaging case, confirming its case law on the presumption of ownership and clarifying the value of sales and the impact of a crisis situation in the sector concerned (Italmobiliare)


In the judgment reported here, the Court of Justice dismisses the appeal against a judgment of the Court of First Instance dismissing the case of food packaging for retail sale, in which an undertaking, the Linpac group, had been granted immunity from fines for reporting the infringing (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau Public distancing: The French Supreme Court rejects a new claim of a “package flour” cartel participant and recalls that an undertaking may not be held liable of an infringement of competition law solely on its absence of public distancing (Goodmills)


This is not a textbook assumption. A company can participate passively in collusive meetings. To avoid liability, it must immediately distance itself publicly. However, the company must demonstrate that it informed its competitors that it was participating in these meetings from a different (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau Vertical agreements: The European Commission publishes, within the context of the revision of the vertical block exemption regulation (VBER), one working paper dealing with distributors that also act as agents for certain products for the same supplier


The European Commission is pursuing its reflection on the revision of the Block Exemption Regulation applicable to vertical agreements by publishing a working paper on the activity of distributors acting also as agents for the sale of other products of the same supplier (see, on the (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau Pay-for-delay: The European Commission fines two pharmaceutical companies €60.5 million for delaying the entry of a generic drug on the market (Teva et Cephalon)


On 26 November 2020 and following other similar cases (the cardiovascular drug perindopril, the antidepressant citalopram and the pain reliever fentanyl), the Commission, in the context of a national (United Kingdom) patent dispute, decided to refer the case to the European Court of Justice, (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau Horizontal agreement: The French Competition Authority sanctions three professional bodies for anti-competitive practices in the Alsace wine sector (Vins d’Alsace)


After the Côtes du Rhône (V. Aut. conc., 23 May 2018, Marketing of Côtes du Rhône AOC bulk wines, 18-D-06), the Alsace! In this period, everyone knows that, unlike books and museums, but just like tobacco products, wines are essential products. In this case, it was as a result of documents (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau Algorithms: The International Competition Network adopts a framework document on mega data and agreement analysing the impact of digitalisation in the fight against cartels


TheInternational Competition Network ( ICN, which has more than 140 members) has decided, through itsCartel Working Group, to study in more detail the implications of mega-data and algorithms in the fight against cartels. The scoping paper examines the subject from two different angles: as a (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau COVID-19: The French Competition Authority clarifies the options of a professional association for dealing with its members’ commercial rent during the COVID-19 pandemic (ROF)


In a press release issued in connection with the current health crisis, the Authority stated that it had been approached by a professional association representing opticians (in this case the Rassemblement des Opticiens de France), which wanted to support its members - opticians who had ceased (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau Vertical agreement: The French Competition Authority fines companies for practices implemented in the sector of home removals for military personnel in La Réunion


Movers are known to be the most "accommodating" movers, as soon as the market is the most "arranged" for them. In the past, even members of the Commission have suffered from this (see European Commission, Decision of 11 March 2008 relating to a proceeding under Article 81 [EC] and Article 53 (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau EIG: The Paris Court of Appeal dismisses the action of a radio-taxi economic interest grouping in Antibes Juan Les Pins against the decision of the French Competition Authority having fined the grouping for a local dimension practice having consisted in non-objectives, non-transparent and discriminatory accessing conditions to the economic interest grouping (GIE Radio Taxi Antibes - Juan Les Pins)


We know that most taxis dare to do anything and that is what they are known for. Even in the courtroom. The latest proof of this is the decision of the Paris Court of Appeal of 20 February 2020 in the very local case, but so much elsewhere verifiable, of the GIE de radio-taxi in (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau Resale price maintenance: The Paris Court of Appeal dismisses the action of a producer of liquid fertilizers against the decision of the French Competition Authority having fined the producer company and his mother company for having agreed with resellers on resale prices (Canna France)


One of the interests of competition law remains unparalleled the discovery, for the most part, of markets that were unknown until then: the distribution of liquid fertilisers for above-ground production dedicated to domestic cultivation illustrates this as far as is necessary. As the Paris (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau Economic activity: The Paris Court of Appeal confirms the decision of the French Competition Authority in the Limoges bar case (AGN Avocats / Ordre des avocats au barreau de Limoges)


The practice of the legal profession is renewed at will. Thus, AGN Avocats, which is registered with the Paris Bar, has adopted a development model based on franchising and its network comprises eighteen "agencies", located at the foot of the building in premises open to the outside world (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau Fine: The French Competition Authority fines several suppliers of perfume and cosmetic products and their wholesale-importers for having set up exclusive import agreements (Procter & Gamble / Coty / Chanel)


The Act of 20 November 2012 on overseas economic regulation, known as the "Lurel" Act, was designed to address the specific problems of the overseas territories (insularity, remoteness, small markets, existence of barriers to entry, etc.) by prohibiting, as of 22 March 2013, exclusive import (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau Market sharing: The French Competition Authority fines a cooperative for having organized, on the whole French territory, a geographical market distribution between its members (Back Europ)


We knew France was the land of good bread. But we still have to separate the wheat from the chaff; this is what the Authority seems to have wanted to focus on in its decision of 8 July 2019, in which, after the French and German millers, it sanctioned, to the tune of 1.7 million euros, a (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau Fine: The Paris Court of Appeal dramatically reduces the amounts of some fines to take into account the inability to pay of certain companies in the context of an ongoing judicial saga (Goodmills)


With this ruling of 4 July 2019, the length of which - nearly 120 pages with references to the contested decision - could make the Union Court jealous, the Paris Court of Appeal is giving birth to a new episode in the judicial saga of the Franco-German milling industry. A saga that is not yet (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau Admissibility: The French Competition Authority rejects a complaint by a French audiovisual group against the free-to-air historical channels for practices relating to the priority and pre-emption rights of original French-language films (Canal Plus, C8, CStar)


The case originated in a complaint by the Canal Plus Group alleging a blocking of access to original French-language (EOF) catalogue films, i.e. films after an initial cycle of exploitation on pay and free television, approximately four years after their theatrical release. There was (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau Private enforcement: The Court of Justice of the European Union specifies the time at which Directive 2014/104/EU should takes effect and on the conformity to European Union law of national law provisions relating to the limitation period of actions for damages brought prior to the transposition of the directive (Cogeco / Sport TV Portugal)


Damages actions for losses suffered as a result of a company’s participation in an offence are increasing at national level and with them the number of questions for preliminary rulings. Although the case reported here will have enabled the Court to provide useful clarifications on the (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau Exclusive import agreements: The French Competition Authority fines a wholesaler-importer and its parent company operating in Wallis-et-Futuna for continuing to implement exclusive import agreements, after the Lurel Act came into force (Exclusive distribution of consumer goods)


It is now - more or less - well known that the law of 20 November 2012, relating to overseas economic regulation, known as the "Lurel" law, prohibited, as of 22 March 2013, exclusive imports that are not justified in the overseas collectivities (V. C. com. art. L. 420-2-1). Such agreements are (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau Fine: The Court of Justice of the European Union dismisses the appeal in its entirety and therefore upholds the decision of the European Commission and the fine that it imposed in the smart card chip market (Koninklijke Philips, Philips France)


In the card chip cartel case, the Commission considered that the cartel was based on a series of bilateral contacts, with the participants in the infringement coordinating their pricing policy for card chips through price-fixing contacts, including specific prices offered to major customers, (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau Mono-product: The General Court of the European Union rules in the North Sea shrimps cartel that the European Commission must state in its decision the criteria for setting the different reduction rates applied when it decides to reduce the fines imposed to several undertakings due to the ‘mono-product’ nature of their activities (Stührk Delikatessen Import)


In the North Sea shrimp cartel case, the Commission found that several companies had infringed Article 101 TFEU on the Belgian, German, French and Dutch markets for northern shrimps through practices of price-fixing and exchange of sensitive commercial information in a single and continuous (...)

Etienne Thomas, Ludovic Bernardeau Fines: The Paris Court of Appeal dismisses the appeal brought against the decision n° 16-D-09 of the French Competition Authority, but considers that the increase of the fine for several companies belonging to the same undertaking, having regard to the size and the economic strength of their group, was disproportionate by comparison with the size and the economic strength of another one, and reduces the amount of the fine accordingly (Sermétal)


Second stage of the action brought against the decision of the Competition Authority in the case of welded wire mesh on the island of Réunion, which concerned a number of cartel practices between players in the sector in connection with the major construction projects on the island of Réunion, (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau Commitments: The French Competition Authority approves commitments taken by the inter-professional association for the meat sector in Martinique to guarantee breeders non-discriminatory access to the association, and subsequently their access to European aids


In that case, a cooperative and a producers’ association had lodged a complaint with the Authority against the criteria and procedure for membership of the Association martiniquaise interprofessionnelle de la viande, du bétail et du lait (AMIV), requesting interim measures. In the case in (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau Fines: The Paris Court of Appeal confirms the French Competition Authority’s decision on unjustified interbank fees charged during the transition towards a new digital system for processing checks but reduces the amount of certain fines (LCL - Crédit Lyonnais)


In September 2010, the French Competition Authority had heavily sanctioned the Banque de France, BPCE, Banque Postale, BNP-Paribas, Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel and Crédit Agricole for a total of nearly €385 million, Crédit du Nord, Crédit Industriel et Commercial (CIC), LCL, HSBC (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau Sector inquiry: The French Competition Authority launches a sector inquiry into competition in medicine and biology markets (Sector inquiry into competition in medicine and biology markets)


In the exercise of its advisory competence, the Competition Authority decided, on the basis of Article L. 462-4 C. com., to launch a broad sector inquiry into competition in the pharmaceutical and medical biology sector. The Authority has announced that it will focus in particular on the (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau Calculation of the amount of the fine: The General Court of the EU partially, but substantially, annuls the Commission decision as to the infringements and totally the fines for breach of the duty to state reasons for the broker ICAP which had been fined as facilitator in the Yen interest rate derivatives cartel (Icap)


Some will think that a fly has stung the Second Chamber (Extended Composition) of the Court of First Instance and others that it is perhaps rather a detailed irritation to be criticised too often by the Court of Justice for not sufficiently assessing the facts which has led the Court of First (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau Liability of a mother company for the infringement of its daughter company: The French commercial Supreme Court confirms the Paris Court of appeal appraisal of the lack of autonomy of a daughter company and approves a higher fine for the mother company than the fine of the daughter company which did not contest the objections (Mobilitas)


It will be recalled that, in a decision in the military removals sector in Martinique, the Competition Authority found that various companies, including AGS Martinique, had participated in an infringement, and imposed a fine of EUR 142 600 on AGS Martinique and a fine of EUR 158 450 on its (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau Continuation of investigation: The French Competition Authority decides to carry on an investigation on electronic meal vouchers’ case (Edenred / Le Chèque Déjeuner / Natixis / Sodexo)


The restaurant voucher sector soon to be starred, excuse me, pinned by the Competition Authority? The question is clearly raised following the decision of 16 October 2016 in this sector denounced, in hollow, more than thirty years ago now by Claude Zidi and his inextricable dilemma. Another (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau Voluntary ground: The French Competition Authority rejects a complaint of a professional union in the sector of installation and maintenance of portable extinguishers due to lack of evidence (CNPP, FFSA, GEMA)


No smoke without fire. So no fire without smoke? This could be a provocative summary of the Authority’s decision in the fire extinguisher case and the bitterness of the plaintiff in the same case. In short, in January 2015, the Authority had received a complaint from the Association des (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau “Pay for delay”: The General Court of the European Union confirms the fines of almost €150 million imposed on several companies in the context of an agreement intended to delay the marketing of generic versions of an antidepressant (Lundbeck)


Does an originator pharmaceutical company (for non-specialists, non-generic medicines), which is very largely patented, infringe competition law by concluding an agreement with generic drug companies, which are poorly paid as such, in order to delay the marketing of their generics? That is, in (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau Market sharing: The French Competition Authority fines several companies operating in the Reunion Island for having taken part in three different anticompetitive agreements leading to price fixing and market sharing (Treillis soudés)


Following the sanctioning by the European Commission in 1989 of a cartel in the welded wire mesh sector on the French, German and Benelux markets, involving companies well known to all competition law practitioners, it is now the turn of the Competition Authority to take an interest in this (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau Infringement of a subsidiary: The General Court of the European Union considers that in a situation where the liability of a parent company is purely derivative of that of its subsidiary and in which no other factor individually distinguishes the conduct for which the parent company is held liable, the liability of that parent company cannot exceed that of its subsidiary (UTi Worldwide)


By Decision C (2012) 1959 final of 28 March 2012 relating to a proceeding under Article 101 TFEU (Case COMP/39462 - Transit) (’the contested decision’), the European Commission found that companies active in the international air transit services sector, including the applicants, UTi (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau Delivery service: The French Competition Authority heavily fines twenty “undertakings", for a cartel on the classic and express package delivery markets from 2004 to 2010, but takes into account financial difficulties of some of them (Traditional and express delivery service)


It was after Deutsche Bahn and its subsidiaries were denounced (for the purpose of "leniency") in 2008 in the traditional mail sector and in 2010 in the express mail sector, and after "non-contestation of objections" procedures with seven other "undertakings" that the Competition Authority (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau Delivery services: The French Competition Authority fines a professional trade union which, instead of playing its role of vigilance in terms of compliance with competition rules, actively participated in organising unlawful discussions whilst also protecting their confidentiality in the cartel on package delivery services (Traditional and express delivery services)


In the agreements on courier services, it should be pointed out that not only companies active on these markets were sanctioned, but also a professional union, namely the Fédération des Entreprises de Transport et Logistique de France (TLF), as a "facilitator", is not a first under French and (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau Imputability of the infringement : The Court of Justice of the European Union rules that provided that certain procedural conditions are met, the reduction of the amount of the fine of the subsidiary shall, in principle, also be granted to its mother company, as far as its liability is entirely derived from that of its subsidiary (Total)


"This dark light that falls from the stars at last with the flow makes us see thirty sails". In EU competition law, would mother-subsidiary relations be like those vessels of Don Rodrigue? Admittedly, it is now settled case-law that a parent company may be held jointly and severally liable (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau Fine reduction : The General Court of the European Union reduces the amount of the fines, in respect of seriousness and duration of the infringement, for both the direct offender and its mother company during the period of control, as well as due to the 10 % ceiling, but only for the subsidiary (SLM, Ori Martin)


By the third judgment reported in those columns and relating to the European prestressing steel cartel, the Court of First Instance partially annulled the Commission’s decision of 2010 imposing fines on a subsidiary, SLM, the direct perpetrator of the infringement in question, and its parent (...)

Ludovic Bernardeau Notion of undertaking : The Advocate General Nils Wahl excludes that a “facilitator” could qualify as an “undertaking” in the meaning of article 101 TFEU and be fined in this respect (AC Treuhand)


"The rules applicable to undertakings under Articles 101 TFEU and 102 TFEU are designed to prohibit restrictions on free competition. The identification of a restriction of competition presupposes that it is established, at the end of the economic analysis, that the undertaking concerned has, (...)



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