August 2006

Anticompetitive practices

The Czech Competition Authority annuls a decision having found 8 banks guilty of exchange of information (Stavebni sporitelny)
University Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne
By decision n° R 18-23/2005 the President of the Office (hereinafter “the President”) annulled (for the second time) the Office’s first instance decision, which condemned six banking establishments for an infringement of competition by exchanging statistics about their operations in the area of (...)

A US Court of Appeals holds that the reverse payment settlement between branded and generic pharma companies did not violate the antitrust laws because the exclusionary effect of the agreement did not exceed the scope of the patent (Tamoxifen Citrate)
Axinn Veltrop & Harkrider (Hartford)
Over the past decade, practitioners, policy makers and commentators have increasingly debated the issues involved when the antitrust laws intersect with patent rights. Both the antitrust and patent laws are designed to promote competition and, as a result, societal wellbeing. However, the (...)

The Cyprus Competition Authority fines the telecommunications incumbent and a subscriber channel for a restrictive cooperation agreement on the DSL market (CYTA/LTV)
University of Tilburg - Center for Law and Economics (TILEC)
Commission for the Protection of Competition (Epitropi Prostasias Antagonismou), 4 August 2006, Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (CYTA) and Lumiere TV Ltd (LTV) In its unanimous decision of 4 August 2006 the Cyprus Commission for the Protection of Competition (C.P.C.) imposed a fine of £CY (...)

The Cyprus Competition Authority fines the telecommunications incumbent and a subscriber channel for a restrictive cooperation agreement on the DSL market (CYTA/LTV)
University of Tilburg - Center for Law and Economics (TILEC)
In its unanimous decision of 4 August 2006 the Cyprus Commission for the Protection of Competition (C.P.C.) imposed a fine of £CY 80.000 on Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (CYTA) and of £CY 65.000 on subscriber channel LTV for a cooperation deal which had never actually been implemented, (...)

Unilateral Practices

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal dismisses an appeal against an OFCOM decision which found that a telecom operator had not infringed Art. 82 EC nor Chapt. II prohibition of the UK Competition Act by disconnecting access to SIM cards (Vodafone / Floe Telecom)
Hogan Lovells (London)
Background On 31 August 2006, the Competition Appeal Tribunal (the “Tribunal”) dismissed an appeal by Floe Telecom Limited (in administration) (“Floe”) against a decision of the Office of Communications (“OFCOM”) dated 28 June 2005 that Vodafone Limited (“Vodafone”) had not infringed section 18 (the (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority accepts commitments and closes proceedings for breach of Art. 82 EC on electronic payment services and debit card terminals markets (Banksys)
Autorité de contrôle prudentiel (Paris)
Background Following an investigation initiated by the Belgian Ministry of Economy in 2000 and two complaints lodged by small businesses associations in 2002, an enquiry was launched on 29 June 2004 by the Belgian Competition Council (Conseil de la concurrence) about alleged anticompetitive (...)

The Estonian Competition Board ends proceedings against the Port of Tallinn without finding discriminatory abuse (TRTA / Narva Elektrijaamad)
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
1. Background information T.R. Tamme Auto OÜ (TRTA) is an Estonian company with a variety of commercial activities. Kiviõli Keemiatööstuse OÜ (KK) is a fully owned subsidiary of TRTA. One of the businesses of KK is mining oil shale and producing oil shale oil. AS Narva Elektrijaamad (NEJ) is the (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit validates cigarettes manufacturer’s discount program and holds that it does not constitute a violation of the Robinson-Patman Act (R.J.R. Tobacco / Cigarettes Cheaper)
Jones Day (Cleveland)
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Jones Day (Cleveland)
The Robinson-Patman Act has given rise to some truly awful court decisions that have created a seller-buyer environment of sometimes unforgiving price rigidity, as well as complex and difficult-to-comply-with principles about when and to whom sellers must offer price discounts and nonprice (...)

The Czech Office for the Protection of Competition imposes a record fine on the dominant wholesale gas distributor for alleged violations of Art. 82 EC (RWE Transgas)
Czech Ministry of Justice (Prague)
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Czech Ministry of Justice (Prague)
By a first-instance decision rendered on 10 August, 2006, the Office for the Protection of Competition (the “Office”) imposed a fine of CZK 370 million (EUR 13 million approx.) on RWE Transgas, the dominant supplier of natural gas to the retail distributors, for alleged abuses of its dominant (...)

The UK telecommunications regulator concludes that British Telecom has not infringed Art. 82 EC and its national equivalent in relation to the pricing of its digital cordless fixed-line telephones (BT Cordless)
Autorité de contrôle prudentiel (Paris)
Background On 29 March 2005, the UK telecommunications regulator, OFCOM, received a complaint from two competitors of BT Group plc (“BT”) on the market for the wholesale supply of consumer fixed-line telephone equipment in the UK. The complaint alleged that BT was dominant in the supply of (...)

Mergers

The French Minister of Economics clears the merger between the two pay-TV operators with 59 commitments after consultation of both the audiovisual regulator and the French Competition Council (TPS / Canal Sat)
Conseil départemental du Calvados
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Fréget (Paris)
On 30th August 2006, the French Minister for the Economy, Finance and Industry (the Minister) authorised the merger between TPS and Canal Sat, the two satellite broadcasting and television service providers in France, after the parties entered into 59 commitments limiting the operation’s effect (...)

The Danish Competition Council approves the creation of a joint venture for the distribution of unaddressed mail, including newspapers, subject to nine behavioural commitments, including distribution obligation (Post Danmark / 365 Media Scandinavia)
Kromann Reumert (Copenhagen)
The operation The joint venture was between the Danish national postal service provider Post Danmark and 365 Media Scandinavia, an Icelandic newspaper company. Post Danmark, as the national postal service provider in Denmark, was 75 percent owned by the Danish state. Post Danmark was active (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority clears a merger in the sector of TV broadcasting subject to non-discrimination obligations (Chellomedia/Sport1 Zrt)
Lakatos, Köves & Partners (Budapest)
The operation Chellomedia is the member of the Liberty group, which is owned by the Liberty Global Inc. and provides media services worldwide. Sport1 Zrt. was established by undertakings belonging to the Liberty group, however, the 75 per cent of the shares were sold. Thus, Chellomedia became (...)

The Hungarian NCA clears a merger in the TV markets subject to non-discriminative broadcasting conditions (Sport1 - Chellomedia Programing)
Lakatos, Köves & Partners (Budapest)
The operation Chellomedia is the member of the Liberty group, which is owned by the Liberty Global Inc. and provides media services worldwide. Sport1 Zrt. was established by undertakings belonging to the Liberty group, however, the 75 per cent of the shares were sold. Thus, Chellomedia became (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority cleared a merger on the packaged water market subject to limitation of the duration and scope of the non-compete obligation (Nestlé-Erikli)
Esin (Istanbul)
The operation Nestlé Waters is established in Paris, France in 1872. Nestlé Waters is the world’s leading bottled water with 75 different brands in 130 countries. Nestle Waters is the bottled water group of Nestlé Group centered in Vevey, Switzerland which is established by Henri Nestlé. Nestlé (...)

The French Minister of Economics clears a merger in the telecommunications sector with remedies, including granting of access to infrastructure (Neuf Telecom/Cegetel)
University Paris II Panthéon‑Assas
The operation By a letter dated 12 August 2005, the French Minister of Economy, Finance, and Employment gave conditional clearance to the horizontal merger between the electronic communication groups, Neuf Telecom and Cegetel. Neuf Telecom and Cegetel both developed an important (...)

The EU Commission approves a merger in the ethylene oxide and ethylene glycol business (Ineos / Dormagen)
J G Associates (Brussels)
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DG COMP (Brussels)
"Mergers — Main developments between 1 May and 31 August 2006"* The Commission cleared the proposed acquisition by the UK-based company, Ineos, of BP‘s Ethylene Oxide/Ethylene Glycol business in Dormagen, Germany. Ineos is a UK company active worldwide in the production, distribution, sales and (...)

The French Minister of the Economy clarifies his position on the risk of coordination by parent companies while clearing his first transaction in the banking sector (NatIxis)
DGCCRF (Paris)
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French Competition Authority (Paris)
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ARCEP (Paris)
Summary The NatIxis case was the first decision by the French Minister of the Economy on an important merger in the banking sector, which was recently included in his area of responsibility. Examination of the proposed merger provided the occasion to apply a national approach to the banking (...)

The European Commission approves a merger in the manufacture of ethylene oxide and ethylene glycols illustrating the forward-looking nature of merger control analysis (Ineos / Dormagen)
European Commission
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DG COMP (Brussels)
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DG COMP (Brussels)
"Ineos/BP Dormagen: Illustrating the forward-looking nature of merger control analysis"* On 10 August 2006, the European Commission approved, after an in-depth investigation, the acquisition of BP’s ethylene oxide and ethylene glycol business, situated in Dormagen, Germany (“BP Dormagen”) by (...)

State Aid

The Cyprus Commissioner for State aid control authorises an individual aid measure for the subsidisation of a cattle breeding association finding that it falls within EC Reg. N° 1/2004 (Holstein-Friesian)
University of Tilburg - Center for Law and Economics (TILEC)
Factual Background On 21 August 2006 the Department of Agriculture of the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment, notified to the Commissioner for State Aid Control a draft individual aid measure, entitled “aid scheme for the Holstein-Friesian cattle breeder Association”. (...)

Procedures

The Spanish Government lays a new competition bill before the Parliament (2006 Proyecto de ley de defensa de la competencia)
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
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Garrigues (Brussels)
On 25 August 2006, the Spanish Government finally laid the long-awaited Bill for a new Spanish Competition Act (the “Bill” ) before the Lower House of Parliament for approval. The Bill is the cornerstone for the modernisation of the Spanish antitrust system. It is expected to enter into force by (...)

Italian Leniency Programme: First Steps (Law 248/2006)
ECR Legal (Roma)
Four years after the coming into force of the Commission Notice on immunity from fines and reduction of fines in cartel cases, of 19 February 2002, (2002/C 45/03) (OJEC C 45, 19 February 2002, pp. 3-5), and similar rules set at national level by various Member States, Italy has introduced a (...)

The Italian Government issues a law decree aiming at the complete liberalisation of markets and a system of effective competition (Bersani’s Decree Law)
Gattai, Minoli, Agostinelli, Partners (Roma)
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ECR Legal (Roma)
The Italian Government issued Law Decree 4 July 2006, known as Bersani’s Decree from the name of its promoter, inspired by the EC rules which favour fair and transparent access to markets, the removal of the regulatory barriers and the granting of power to the Commission to enforce competition (...)

The Czech Office for the Protection of Competition released a controversial draft dealing with the access to documents containing business secrets
Czech Ministry of Justice (Prague)
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Czech Ministry of Justice (Prague)
In August 2006, the Czech Office for the Protection of Competition presented to the interested public a draft amendment to the Czech Act on the Protection of Competition. Apart from other less important issues, the draft provides specific rules on the treatment of documents obtained by the (...)

Regulatory

The French Governement adopts a new decree relating to the dispute settlement procedure before the audiovisual regulator (Decree N° 2006-1084)
Fréget (Paris)
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French Competition Authority (Paris)
On the 29th of August 2006, two years after Law n° 2004-669 of 9 July 2004 regarding electronic communication and audiovisual communication services came into force, the French government adopted an anticipated decree in pursuit of article 35 of the aforementioned law, relating to the dispute (...)

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