Latest News issue: December 2018

Anticompetitive practices

The EU Commission invites feedback from stakeholders on its evaluation of the Vertical Agreements Block Exemption Regulation that will expire in 2022
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
The Vertical Agreements Block Exemption Regulation (“VABER”) will expire on 31 May 2022. As a result, the European Commission has formally commenced its evaluation of the VABER in order to inform its decision on whether to allow it lapse, prolong its duration or revise it, in particular to take (...)

The Indian Competition Authority holds that information exchange is not a standalone violation of the Indian Competition Act (Flashlights cartel)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co (New Delhi)
On 6 November 2018, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) found that four manufacturers/traders of flashlights and their trade association (the Opposite Parties) were not involved in cartelisation as, despite an information exchange, there was not enough corroborating evidence to suggest a (...)

The French Competition Authority imposes fine of € 7 million on outdoor power tool manufacturer for de facto online sales restrictions (Stihl)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 24 October 2018, the French competition authority (the “FCA”) fined Stihl, a German manufacturer of outdoor power tools, € 7 million for, in effect, prohibiting online sales of chainsaws, brush cutters, pole saws and electric pruners. Stihl operated a selective distribution system, under which (...)

The UK Competition Authority launches a new campaign "Stop Cartels" to educate businesses about anticompetitive practices and encourage leniency
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (London)
COMPETITION & MARKETS AUTHORITY GETS TOUGH ON CARTELS* On 22 October 2018, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced that it had launched a new “Stop Cartels” campaign to educate businesses about anti-competitive practices and encourage people to come forward if they suspect (...)

The Czech Regional Court in Brno validates the legality of two dawn raids conducted by the Competition Authority that led to the discovery of cartels (AV MEDIA)
Weil, Gotshal & Manges (Prague)
Regional Court in Brno (RCB) dealt with two claims by AV MEDIA, a.s. challenging dawn raids conducted by the Czech Office for Protection of Competition (Office) at its premises in March and April 2018. The RCB found both dawn raids lawful and rejected both claims. Summary of Proceedings This (...)

The EU Commission addresses Statement of Objections to Slovak rail company for alleged obstruction of investigation (ZSSK)
Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
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Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
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Gomez Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
In June 2016, the Commission dawn raided the premises of ZSSK, the Slovak incumbent rail operator. The dawn raids followed concerns that ZSSK may have entered into anticompetitive agreements with the aim of foreclosing the market of rail passenger transport to its competitors, in breach of (...)

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal dismisses the appeal brought by a manufacturer of golf equipments on liability of anticompetitive practices but permits a small reduction of fine (Ping)
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (London)
UK LANDMARK COMPETITION CASE CONDEMNS ABSOLUTE INTERNET SALE BAN AS A SERIOUS BREACH OF COMPETITION LAW* Introduction The Competition Appeal Tribunal (“CAT”) handed down its judgment on 7 September 2018 in relation to an appeal by Ping Europe Limited (“Ping”) challenging the decision of the UK (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Italian Competition Authority fines the Italian Authors’ and Publishers’ Association for abuse of dominant position (SIAE)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 25 September 2018, the Italian Competition Authority (the “ICA”) imposed a symbolic fine of € 1,000 on the Italian Authors’ and Publishers’ Association (the “SIAE”) for abusing its dominant position. The SIAE is a collective management organisation under Directive 2014/26/EU on collective (...)

The EU Commission sends supplementary statement of objection to a manufacturer of LTE baseband chipsets for predatory pricing practices (Qualcomm)
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (London)
QUALCOMM RECEIVES SUPPLEMENTARY STATEMENT OF OBJECTIONS FROM THE EU COMMISSION IN PREDATORY PRICING INVESTIGATION* Hot on the heels of the announcement of a record antitrust fine imposed by the European antitrust regulator upon another US technology company , the European Commission announced (...)

The UK Competition Authority extends its timetable of investigations on anti-competitive practices in the pharmaceutical sector
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (London)
UK COMPETITION & MARKETS AUTHORITY PROVIDES UPDATES ON ITS PHARMACEUTICAL SECTOR INVESTIGATIONS* On 12th July 2018 Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced it was extending its timetable in relation to a number of its ongoing investigations involving anti-competitive practices in (...)

The UK Competition and Markets Authority takes enforcement action against several hotel booking sites over potential breaches of consumer protection law
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (London)
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Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (London)
UK COMPETITION REGULATOR TAKES ENFORCEMENT ACTION AGAINST HOTEL BOOKING WEBSITES* The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) announced on 28th June 2018 that it is taking enforcement action against several hotel booking sites over potential breaches of consumer protection law. The CMA has (...)

The Moldovan Competition Authority prosecutes the company managing a bus terminal for imposing unfair trading conditions on the passenger bus operators (Telautogar)
Faculty of Law - University of Macau
On 14 June 2018, the Competition Council of the Republic of Moldova (CC) prosecuted the bus terminal operator Telautogar SRL for the abuse of dominant position in the form of imposing unfair trading terms on passenger bus operators. Telautogar SRL was the company managing the bus terminal in (...)

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal finds an incorrect application of the legal test for dominant position and quashes the CMA’s record fines imposed to two pharmaceutical companies for charging excessive prices for anti-epilepsy drug (Pfizer / Flynn)
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (London)
EXCESSIVE PRICE? COMPARED TO WHAT?* On 7 June 2017, the Competition Appeal Tribunal (“CAT”) set aside parts of the Competition & Market Authority’s (“CMA”) decision in relation to the CMA’s finding that Pfizer and Flynn charged excessive and unfair prices for phenytoin sodium capsules and (...)

The Moldovan Competition Authority orders a municipal administration to annul its discriminatory regulations on the location of street vending units (Chisinau Municipal Council)
Faculty of Law - University of Macau
On 24 May 2018, the Competition Council of the Republic of Moldova (CC) found the Chisinau Municipal Council (CMC) in violation of Competition Act for imposing restrictions on the location of the street vending units . The CC’s investigation was prompted by the complaint of Alitela Prim SRL (...)

Mergers

The EU Commission conditionally clears the creation of six joint ventures for mobility services (Daimler / BMW)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 7 November 2018, the European Commission conditionally approved the creation of six mobility services joint ventures by Daimler and BMW. While the joint ventures will combine Daimler and BMW’s mobility services in ride hailing services, parking services, charging services and other on-demand (...)

The UK Government publishes a technical notice on merger control and competition enforcement if there is no Brexit deal
Ashurst (London)
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Ashurst (London)
Wondering what competition law in the UK might look like in a post-Brexit ’no deal’ scenario? On 13 September 2018, the UK government tried to shine some light on this area by publishing a technical notice on the provisions for merger control and competition enforcement if there is no Brexit (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger after an investigation into the potential anti-competitive effects resulting from a major data transfer in the digital music streaming sector (Apple / Shazam)
Liège University - IEJE
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Liège University - IEJE
The European Commission has unconditionally cleared Apple’s EUR 400 million purchase of Shazam. Following an in-depth phase II investigation into the possible anti-competitive effects resulting from Apple getting access to Shazam’s data set, the Commission concluded that the proposed merged (...)

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal announces an appeal against the first decision fining a party for gun jumping (Electro Rent)
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (London)
ELECTRO RENT APPEALS FIRST EVER CMA FINE FOR GUN JUMPING.* Introduction and Summary An appeal has been launched against the UK competition regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) first decision fining a party for gun jumping. On 20 July 2018, the Competition Appeal Tribunal (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes a Guidance on changes to the jurisdictional thresholds for UK mergers control and extends the control on mergers related to sensitive sectors
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (London)
GREATER NATIONAL SECURITY SCRUTINY AT THE HEART OF NEW UK MERGER CONTROL REFORMS* This week the UK Government enacted two new Orders which lower the UK merger control thresholds under the Enterprise Act 2002. The legislation extends the jurisdiction of the Competition and Markets Authority (...)

State Aid

The EU General Court confirms selectivity of Spanish tax scheme for the amortisation of financial goodwill (Deutsche Telekom / Banco Santander / Sigma Alimentos Exterior / Prosegur Compañia de Seguridad / Duty Free Group / Banco Santander / Santusa)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 15 November 2018, the General court (“GC”) issued several judgments in cases relating to a European Com-mission decision classifying a Spanish tax scheme for the amortisation of financial goodwill as incompatible state aid (Cases T-207/10, T-227/10, T-239/11, T-405/11, T-406/11, T-219/10 and (...)

The EU Commission and the UK propose a draft withdrawal agreement following the Brexit referendum : the State aid provisions
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on StateAidHub: http://stateaidhub.eu, republished in e-Competitions with the courtesy of the author. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Authors are welcome to write an alternative article on this case/text, provided they have no (...)

The EU Court of Justice assesses that an increase of 20% in a tax inseparably linked with a State aid measure have to be notified to the Commission (Carrefour Hypermarchés / Ministre des Finances et des Comptes Publics)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on StateAidHub: http://stateaidhub.eu, republished in e-Competitions with the courtesy of the author. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Authors are welcome to write an alternative article on this case/text, provided they have no (...)

The EU Court of Justice holds that public service obligations must be properly defined via an official act or an administrative decision (Castilla-la-Mancha State aid’s)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on StateAidHub: http://stateaidhub.eu, republished in e-Competitions with the courtesy of the author. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Authors are welcome to write an alternative article on this case/text, provided they have no (...)

The EU Court of justice holds that unlimited State guarantees create a presumption of the existence of an advantage (IFP Energies nouvelles)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on StateAidHub: http://stateaidhub.eu, republished in e-Competitions with the courtesy of the author. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Authors are welcome to write an alternative article on this case/text, provided they have no (...)

The EU General Court annuls an aid granted to an important project of common European interest (IPCEI) as unconditional and unlimited guarantees are incompatible with the internal market (Øresund road-rail fixed link)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on StateAidHub: http://stateaidhub.eu, republished in e-Competitions with the courtesy of the author. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Authors are welcome to write an alternative article on this case/text, provided they have no (...)

The EU General Court emphasizes the necessity of ex ante assessment on future profitability in a case of State aid to the Belgian steel sector (Duferco)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Article published on StateAidHub: http://stateaidhub.eu, republished in e-Competitions with the courtesy of the author. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Authors are welcome to write an alternative article on this case/text, provided they have no (...)

Procedures

The EU Commission and Council discuss enhancements of national security screening of foreign direct investment (FDI)
Dechert (London)
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Dechert (Washington)
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Dechert (Brussels)
The EU has agreed in principle on a strengthened framework to ensure that foreign investment does not threaten security and public order, while keeping the EU open to foreign investment. The draft FDI Regulation does not go as far as introducing an EU screening mechanism whose decisions are (...)

The Competition Bureau and the Public Prosecution Service of Canada launch revised immunity and leniency programs
Cassels Brock (Toronto)
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Cassels Brock (Toronto)
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Cassels Brock (Toronto)
It used to be the best deal in town: participants in criminal price-fixing conspiracies could approach the Competition Bureau and receive either complete immunity or leniency in exchange for ratting out their co-conspirators. The Bureau and the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC) still (...)

Regulatory

The EU Commission and the UK propose a draft withdrawal agreement following the Brexit referendum
Ashurst (London)
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Ashurst (London)
Are you wondering what competition law in the UK might look like post-Brexit? The answer differs depending on whether the wording of the draft withdrawal agreement agreed between the UK government and European Commission (’Commission’) on 14 November 2018 (’Withdrawal Agreement’) is ultimately (...)

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