March 2004

Anticompetitive practices

The Japan Fair Trade Commission renders its recommendations against participants in bidding for install sewer pumps (Tokyo Metropolitan Government)
Japan Fair Trade Commission (Tokyo)
JFTC issues Recommendation to Companies Bidding for the Sewer Pump Installation Work Ordered by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government* The Fair Trade Commission investigated into companies that bid for the sewer pump installation work requested by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government based on the (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority holds undertakings guilty of bid rigging in construction sector (Strabag - Egut - Ring)
Université Catholique de Louvain
The factual backdrop to the present finding of a violation of the Hungarian Competition law entails an enquiry by the Hungarian Competition Authority into anti-competitive conduct, in the form of bid rigging, subsequent to a public procurement tender published by the Direction Metro Project of (...)

Le Conseil de la concurrence hongrois sanctionne une entente à l’occasion d’un appel d’offres public à hauteur de 600 000 € (Baucont/Kész et Középületépít)
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
Université Catholique de Louvain
Dans sa décision du 18 mars 2004, le Conseil de la concurrence sanctionne - sévèrement ? - une entente entre entreprises du bâtiment à l’occasion d’un marché public pour l’Université de Kaposvár. En 2001, l’Etat hongrois avait lancé un appel d’offres dans le cadre d’un marché public pour la construction (...)

The Hungarian Competition Office fines road constructors for concerted practices during road construction projects in Budapest (Alterra Kft.)
Lakatos, Köves & Partners (Budapest)
Lakatos, Köves & Partners (Budapest)
In 2002, the Hungarian Competition Office (HCO) launched proceedings against eight road construction companies including Strabag Rt. (Strabag), EGÚT Egri Útépítő Kft. (EGUT), Hídépítő Rt. (Hídépítő) and Ring Kkt. (Ring), a JV of Strabag and Hídépítő, on the grounds that they were suspected of having (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority closes proceedings following commitment to cease RPM (Bobájka)
Oppenheim (Budapest)
Oppenheim (Budapest)
Description of the impugned case The lease agreements of Bobájka (a producer of bakery products) contained straightforward RPM clauses and also exclusivity clauses (the tenants/retailers were obliged to sell exclusively the products of Bobájka within the territory of the leased property and only (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Eleventh Circuit rules out prevailing of copyright and bases its analysis exclusively on competition law (Morris Communications vs. PGA Tour)
Infinitum Legal Services
Infinitum Legal Services (Istanbul)
Over the last years, the relationship between sports and media has evolved in an unprecedented manner. Broadcasting packages now consist of many different rights such as highlights packages, mobile phone rights and Internet packages. Due to this significant enlargement in commercial sports (...)

The Japan Fair Trade Commission issues its recommendations against a large retailer who could have abusing of its superior bargaining position against suppliers (Sanyo Marunaka)
Japan Fair Trade Commission (Tokyo)
JFTC renders a Recommendation to a department store, Sanyo -Marunaka K.K. against unfair trade practice* The Fair Trade Commission, following an investigation, today rendered a recommendation to Sanyo-Marunaka K.K. as they are in violation of Section 19 of the Antimonopoly Act (Paragraphs 1, 2 (...)

The European Commission condemns leading US software company for abuse of a dominant position in the market for client PC operating systems, ordering to grant compulsory license to competitor (Microsoft, Sun Microsystems)
White & Case (Brussels)
This article analyses the three major recent cases dealing with the boundary between EC competition law and intellectual property rights: the Commission’s interim measures decision in the IMS case, the European Court of Justice’s later judgment in IMS and, finally, the Commission’s decision in the (...)

The European Commission adopts a decision in a case concerning the abuse of a dominant position by a leading US provider in the PC operating systems (Microsoft)
DG COMP (Brussels)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Ocean Breeze GmbH & Co (Bremen)
"Commission adopts Decision in the Microsoft case"* 1. Introduction On March 24 2004, the Commission concluded its Microsoft investigation by way of a formal Decision. This brought to an end proceedings which had lasted just over five years. The Commission found that Microsoft had abused its (...)

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal finds a pharmaceutical company guilty of margin squeeze but rejects the OFT’s evidence on bundling (Genzyme)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Genzyme Limited ("Genzyme") is a pharmaceutical company which produces Cerezyme - the main drug for the treatment of Gaucher disease. The drug is taken by approximately 190 patients in the United Kingdom and is usually administered at home with the assistance of trained medical staff. Between (...)


The Bulgarian Commission for the Protection of Competition cleared an acquisition of a major cement plant while imposing divestiture commitments to prevent further market oligopolization (Rhea Cement/Zlatna Panega Cement/Granitoid)
Boyanov & Co. (Sofia)
The operation Notified transaction relates to the acquisition of a controlling stake by Rhea Cement Limited in the capital of two cement plants in Bulgaria - Zlatna Panega Cement AD and Granitoid AD. While Granitoid AD, at the time of the acquisition has stopped its activity for several years, (...)

The UK Office of Fair Trading clears a merger in the software/IT sector subject to the divestment of a stand-alone business operating in the healthcare sector (iSOFT/Torex)
Added Value Capital Partners (AVCP) (Royston)
The operation iSOFT provides software and systems to healthcare provider organisations including the NHS. Torex provides healthcare technology software and systems for healthcare providers to GPs, laboratories, hospitals and community care. Torex also provides the hardware, installation and (...)

The Lithuanian Competition Council clears a merger in the distribution and transmission of natural gas sector with commitment not to limit purchasing by other gas supply companies and eligible customers (Gazprom / Lietuvos dujos)
Vodafone (Istanbul)
The operation By a decision dated 18 March 2004, the Lithuanian Competition Council authorized in phase II the acquisition by OAO Gazprom (« Gazprom ») of 34 % shares of AB Lietuvos dujos (« Lietuvos dujos »). The concentration created joint control of Lietuvos dujos by Gazprom, VÁ Valstybës turto (...)

The European Commission conditionally clears a merger in the industrial gases industry (Air Liquide / Messer)
DG COMP (Brussels)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Capgemini (Washington)
"Air Liquide / Messer: addressing the changes brought about by the concentration in the industrial gases industry"* On 15 March 2004, the European Commission approved, subject to conditions, the acquisition by L’Air Liquide SA (‘Air Liquide’) of Messer Griesheim KGaA’s (‘Messer Group’) activities (...)

The Latvian Competition Authority conditionally clears a merger in the sector of postal services (Suomen Posti)
Cobalt Legal (Riga)
Cobalt Legal (Riga)
The operation On 23 December 2003 the Competition Council received a merger notification (hereinafter - the Notification) from SUOMEN POSTI OYJ on a merger between Latvijas Elektroniskais pasts SIA (hereinafter - the LEP) and Nacionalais maksajumu centrs AS (hereinafter - the NMC). According (...)

State Aid

The EU conditionally approves a State aid scheme concerning the reduction of the greenhouse gases emissions and allows for the first time more than 40% of aid intensity for investments in solar photovoltaic energy
Italian representation to the EU (Brussels)
"More than 40% of aid intensity for investments in solar photovoltaic energy"* Introduction On March 19, 2004 (OJ L 81, p. 72) the Commission’s conditional positive decision closing the formal investigation procedure on case C 60/2002 was published. It concerned an aid scheme that Tuscany (...)

The Council of the EU adopts the Commission’s proposal to extend by one year the temporary defensive mechanism to shipbuilding
DG COMP (Brussels)
"Temporary defensive mechanism to shipbuilding extended by one year"* The temporary defensive mechanism (‘TDM’) introduced by Council Regulation (CE) No 1177/2002 of 27 June 2002 has already been described in the spring issue of the Competition Policy Newsletter. Since then, the TDM, due to (...)


The French Competition Council refers a hard-core cartel case to the public prosecutor (Bakery sector in the Marne department)
Innovate Finance (London)
French Competition Council (Conseil de la concurrence), 11 March 2004, Decision n° 04-D-07, relating to practices implemented in the bakery sector in the Marne department (relative à des pratiques relevées dans le secteur de la boulangerie dans le département de la Marne”) Court of Appeal of Paris (...)

Public sector

The Hungarian Competition Authority fined construction companies for bid rigging in Budapest public construction tenders (Alterra)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 18 March 2004, the Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH) issued a decision in a cartel investigation, fining the construction companies Strabag Rt. (Strabag); Egut Rt. (Egut) ; and Ring Kkt. (Ring) a total of HUF 245m (approximately € 1m). The investigation also concerned the construction (...)

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