Algorithms & Antitrust

General antitrust

The Higher Regional Court of Dusseldorf stays the proceedings against a social media company and announces referral to the EU Court of Justice on questions of data protection law (Facebook)
Spieker & Jaeger (Dortmund)
Of Pricing Guns, Social Networks and GDPR: The Düsseldorf Higher Regional Courts submits Facebook Case to the CJEU* On 24 March 2021 the Higher Regional Court (‘Oberlandesgericht’) of Düsseldorf put yet another twist to the ‘Facebook Saga’. Although the formal written submission is not yet (...)

The Japanese FTC extends the period for public comment on the proposed list of issues to be discussed by its study group on competition policy for the data market
White & Case (Tokyo)
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White & Case (Tokyo)
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White & Case (Tokyo)
The Competition Policy Research Center ("CPRC") of the Japan Fair Trade Commission ("JFTC") is seeking comments from the public on a list of proposed issues to be discussed at the Study Group on Competition Policy for Data Market ("Study Group"). The due date was originally set on January 15, (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority sets out its key policy priorities for 2021
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
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Bird & Bird (Brussels)
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Bird & Bird (Brussels)
On 10 March 2021, the Belgian Competition Authority (“BCA”) published its Priority Policy Note for the year ahead (available in French and Dutch). Impact of COVID-19 The BCA acknowledges that 2021 will be a year of recovery following the negative impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the Belgian (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes an updated version of its Digital Markets Strategy
Ashurst (London)
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Ashurst (London)
On 9 February 2021, the UK Competition and Markets Authority ("CMA") published a ’refresh’ of its Digital Markets Strategy, which was first published in July 2019. The updated strategy takes into account recent policy developments, including the forthcoming launch of the Digital Markets Unit (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes new research on algorithms showing how they can reduce competition in digital markets
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
CMA lifts the lid on impact of algorithms* The CMA has published new research on algorithms, showing how they can reduce competition in digital markets and harm consumers if they are misused. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is now seeking evidence from academics and industry (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes a paper on the impact of algorithms on competition in digital markets and consumer welfare
Morgan Lewis (London)
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Morgan Lewis (London)
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Morgan Lewis (London)
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published a paper on 19 January on the impact of algorithms on competition in digital markets and consumer welfare. The CMA followed up its paper with a call for evidence from market participants, academics, and industry experts, and with a (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority launches a study into the functioning of algorithms in practice
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
ACM launches a study into the functioning of algorithms in practice* Today, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) launched a trial in which it seeks to find out how it can monitor in practice the functioning of algorithms that businesses use. ACM wants to use this knowledge (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority publishes a study on big data
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 3 December 2020, the Romanian Competition Council (“RCC”) published a study on the effects of Big Data on competition (the “Study”). The Study explains that the use of algorithmic models helps companies adjust their prices in real time, depending on changes in market demand. However, these (...)

The Singapore Competition Authority publishes a market study on e-commerce platforms
Bird & Bird (Singapore)
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Bird & Bird (Singapore)
Digital platforms have experienced significant growth and popularity in Singapore in recent years and COVID-19 has accelerated its proliferation. The rapid pace of innovation and broad adoption of these platforms have raised significant competition concerns both local and abroad. In September (...)

The Singapore Competition Authority publishes its findings and recommendations from its market study on e-commerce platforms
Ashurst (Sydney)
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Ashurst (Singapore)
On 10 September 2020, the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore ("CCCS") published its findings and recommendations from its market study on e-commerce platforms. While the market study did not identify any significant competition concerns in the sector, the CCCS has concurrently (...)

Algorithms & Competition Law: Interview of Michal Gal by Thibault Schrepel
Stanford University
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University of Haifa
Algorithmic antitrust is almost everywhere! It’s in the doctrine; to start with, Google Scholar features more than 16,000 related articles. It’s also in competition agencies and international institutions which have published numerous reports on the subject. Where it is not, however, is in the (...)

The Hellenic Competition Authority requests a consultation from a Finnish firm on the competitiveness of the Greek mobile data connectivity market
Kyriakides Georgopoulos (Athens)
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Kyriakides Georgopoulos (Athens)
In May 2020, the summary of a study of a Finnish research and consulting firm commissioned by the HCC was published on the competitiveness of the Greek mobile data connectivity market. In particular, the Hellenic Competition Commission (“HCC”) has requested from an independent Finnish consulting (...)

The EU Commission publishes its final report on the e-commerce sector inquiry confirming its detailed preliminary findings
Kyriakides Georgopoulos (Athens)
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Kyriakides Georgopoulos (Athens)
On 10 May 2017, the DG Competition of the European Commission, issued its “Final report on the E-commerce Sector Inquiry”, largely confirming its detailed preliminary findings, published in September 2016. Several competition concerns are reiterated in the Report in relation to recommending (...)

Anticompetitive practices

The Indian Commission Authority rejects allegations that several domestic airlines had colluded to raise prices (Shikha Roy / Jet Airways)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) rejected allegations that a number of domestic airlines had colluded to raise prices during the period of Jat agitation in February 2016. Following the conclusions of the investigating Director General (DG), the CCI found there was no evidence of a (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority steps up its use of algorithms and big data to identify cartels and anticompetitive behavior
Spanish Competition Authority (Madrid)
The CNMC steps up its use of algorithms and big data to identify cartels and anti-competitive behaviour* It has implemented a new system for completely anonymous and confidential informants that works similarly to an encrypted chat. The Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) will process the messages (...)

The Finnish Competition Authority releases two reports on the positive and negative effects of algorithms on competition
Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (Helsinki)
Continuous development of algorithms requires ensuring the functioning of competition and the interests of consumers* Algorithms may have both positive and negative effects on competition and consumers. Two reports by the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) show that the current (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority concludes after its investigation that sponsored rankings entail risks for both competitors and consumers
Loyens & Loeff (Amsterdam)
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Loyens & Loeff (Amsterdam)
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Loyens & Loeff (Amsterdam)
Dutch Authority for Consumers & Markets investigates sponsored rankings* On 2 February 2021, the Netherlands Authority for Competition & Markets (the ‘ACM’) published a study on sponsored internet ranking and its effects on competition and consumer welfare. Sponsored ranking means that (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes report into algorithms and their harm on consumers and competition law
Bird & Bird (London)
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Bird & Bird (London)
The impact algorithms continue to have on market dynamics has been under scrutiny by competition authorities around the world in recent years. On 19 January 2021, the CMA published a report, following its investigation into algorithms and their potential harms on competition law. The paper (...)

The Italian Competition Authority opens investigation into insurance association’s "fraud detection project" in non-life and life insurance for possible competitive concerns (ANIA)
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
ICA: Investigation launched against ANIA regarding the ’fraud detection project’ in non-life and life insurance* The Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato initiated an investigation against the Associazione Nazionale fra le Imprese Assicuratrici (ANIA), which originates from a (...)

The German Competition Authority assists a national hospital institute in ensuring a competitive procurement process for licensing a new algorithm for invoicing hospital services (Institut für das Entgeltsystem im Krankenhaus - InEK)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt safeguards innovation with regard to software for the classification and invoicing of hospital services* The Bundeskartellamt successfully assisted the Institute for the Hospital Remuneration System (Institut für das Entgeltsystem im Krankenhaus, InEK) in ensuring that its (...)

The Danish Competition Authority finds that a digital platform for professional service providers infringed competition law by object when its algorithm suggested minimum quotes that accountants and bookkeepers should charge clients on the platform (Ageras)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Danish Competition Council: Ageras has infringed competition law* This decision concerns the actions of the digital platform Ageras A/S (Ageras). Ageras offers a digital platform - www.ageras.dk – that allows users of professional services such as accounting, bookkeeping and legal services to (...)

The French Competition Authority publishes the International Competition Network’s paper on big data and cartels analyzing the impact of digitalization in cartel enforcement
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The International Competition Network presents a scoping paper on “Big Data and Cartels” analyzing the impact of digitalization in cartel enforcement* What does digitalization change in cartel enforcement? Over the past few years, there has been a wide debate about the new digital dimension of (...)

The Indian Company Law Appellate Tribunal clarifies the emerging jurisprudence on hub-and-spoke cartel and standing requirements in a case concerning two ride-hailing platforms in the automobile services market for fixing cab fares through their apps (Uber / Ola)
Khaitan (New Delhi)
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Khaitan (New Delhi)
In a relief to the multinational giant, Uber, and home-grown Ola (collectively, Ride-hailing Platforms), the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) – India’s appeal tribunal for competition matters – dismissed an appeal filed by Samir Agrawal (Informant). In doing so, the NCLAT has upheld (...)

The Hellenic Competition Authority publishes a decision regarding a sector inquiry into e-commerce
Kyriakides Georgopoulos (Athens)
On March 31st, 2020, the Hellenic Competition Commission (“HCC”) published its decision of 11.03.2020 to initiate a sector inquiry into e-commerce, exercising its competency under Article 40 of Law 3959/2011. The HCC was prompted both by the increasing importance of e-commerce for consumer habits (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority opens antitrust proceedings against seven firms for suspected price coordination in the real estate intermediation market (CDC Franquiciadora Inmobiliaria / Look & Find / Aplicaciones Inmovilla / Idealista / Witei Solutions...)
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
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Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
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Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
Following dawn raids in November 2019, the CNMC has opened proceedings against seven firms (CDC Franquiciadora Inmobiliaria, S.A.; Look & Find primera red inmobliaria, S.A.; Aplicaciones Inmovilla, S.L.; Idealista, S.A.; Witei Solutions, S.L.; Anaconda Services and Real Estate Technologies, (...)

The Canadian Competition Authority issues a call for information from the Country’s business community about conduct in the digital economy that may be harmful to competition
Canadian Competition Bureau (Gatineau)
Competition Bureau calls for businesses to report potentially anti-competitive conduct in the digital economy* The Competition Bureau has published a call-out for information from Canada’s business community about conduct in the digital economy that may be harmful to competition. The Bureau is (...)

The EU Commission opens a formal investigation to examine whether an online retail platform’s use of sensitive data from independent retailers infringes competition rules (Amazon)
Zepos & Yannopoulos (Athens)
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Zepos & Yannopoulos (Athens)
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Zepos & Yannopoulos (Athens)
On 17 July 2019, the European Commission opened a formal investigation to examine whether Amazon’s use of sensitive data from independent retailers selling on the platform infringes EU competition rules. Amazon’s dual role, i.e. as a retailer selling on the platform and as the provider of the (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority warns that firms are responsible for the algorithms they use to coordinate market prices
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
The AdC warns that using algorithms to coordinate market prices is incompatible with the Portuguese Competition Law* The Portuguese Competition Authority (Autoridade da Concorrência, AdC) warns that firms are responsible for the algorithms they use and that employing these tools with the aim of (...)

The Danish Competition Authority increases its focus on digital platforms and establishes a new center for this matter
Bird & Bird (Copenhagen)
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Bird & Bird (Copenhagen)
On 1 May 2019, the Danish Competition Authority ("DCA") increased its focus on digital platforms by establishing a new center for this matter. The DCA has found it necessary to establish this center as digital platforms play an increasing role in trade with goods and services. The purpose of (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses cartel allegations against taxi app drivers on the basis that they were following the algorithm pricing and not actively colluding to fix prices (Samir Agrawal / ANI Technologies / Uber India)
Vaish Associates Advocates (New Delhi)
CCI closes allegation of cartelization between taxi aggregators* By way of an order dated November 6, 2018, the CCI dismissed allegations of concerted action against Ola and Uber Group (OPs). Allegations were levelled against the pricing algorithm adopted by the OPs which allegedly manipulated (...)

The UK Competition Authority issues a study on pricing algorithms to identify whether they could be used to support illegal practices
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Algorithm research builds on work in digital markets* The CMA has published a study into pricing algorithms and whether they could be used to support illegal practices. The research increases the CMA’s expertise at a time of widespread scrutiny of pricing algorithms and how they interact with (...)

The EU Commission fines consumer electronics manufacturers for imposing fixed or minimum resale prices on their online retailers (Asus / Denon & Marantz / Philips / Pioneer)
Dechert (Brussels)
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Dechert (Washington)
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Dechert (Brussels)
Recent EU Fines for Resale Price Maintenance Are Symptoms of Broader Challenges Faced by Today’s Consumer-Goods Manufacturers The European Commission (the “Commission”) issued four separate decisions on 24 July 2018, fining consumer electronics manufacturers Asus, Denon & Marantz, Philips and (...)

The EU Commission fines manufacturers of electronic goods for resale price maintenance (Asus / Denon / Philips / Pioneer)
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Paris)
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Norton Rose Fulbright (Brussels)
Vertical restrictions, including resale price maintenance (RPM), have not generally been an EC enforcement priority over the last 10 years, but a series of rulings in July 2018 signalled a potential change in that trend. Although the EC considers RPM to be a “hardcore restriction” of (...)

The French and German Competition Authorities launch a joint project on algorithms and their implications on competition
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
The French Autorité de la concurrence and the German Bundeskartellamt launch a joint project on algorithms and their implications on competition* Coming along with digitalization, algorithms are becoming more and more important and at the same time progressively sophisticated. Prominent (...)

The Luxembourg Competition Authority allows a price-fixing agreement between competitors as it provides efficiency gains in the taxi market (Webtaxi)
Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick (Brussels)
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Arendt & Medernach (Luxembourg)
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General Court of the European Union (Luxembourg)
In June 2018, the Luxembourg Competition Council published a decision regarding a cooperation between competitors involving price fixing, one of the most manifest and serious restrictions of competition. In the decision “Webtaxi”, the Competition Council found that a taxi reservation centre (...)

The Luxembourg Competition Authority exempts an agreement between taxi companies who were using the reservation center for booking because it has created more advantages than disadvantages for consumers (Webtaxi)
Arendt & Medernach (Luxembourg)
On 7 June, the Luxembourg Competition Council exempted an agreement between Benelux Taxis, Inter-Taxis and other Taxi companies who jointly use the Webtaxi reservation centre for taking bookings from customers. It is the Competition Council’s first decision exempting an agreement or practice (...)

The EU Commission proposes legislation to increase fairness and transparency on online platforms
Court of First Instance of Namur (Namur)
On 26 April 2018, the European Commission proposed a new Regulation on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services (the “Proposed Regulation”). The Proposed Regulation aims to address business practices which are likely to be harmful to business users (...)

The Indian Competition Authority decides to examine the algorithm used in determining airline ticket prices to determine whether the airline companies have engaged in price-fixing practices (Jet Airways / InterGlobe Aviation)
Nishith Desai Associates (Mumbai)
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National University of Study and Research in Law (Ranchi)
The Competition Commission of India (“CCI”), anti-trust watchdog of India has lately sprung up in action by tightening the noose around the anti-competitive practices in the aviation sector. Recently in an incident concerning revising and fixing fuel surcharge (FSC) rates by a few airline (...)

The US DOJ announces that an e-commerce company and its president have agreed to plead guilty to participating in a price-fixing conspiracy (Zaappaaz)
Jones Day (San Francisco)
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Farmer Brownstein Jaeger (San Francisco)
Background Texas-based e-commerce company Zaappaaz, Inc.—doing business as WB Promotions, Inc., Wrist-Band.com, and Customlanyard.net—and its president both agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to fix prices for customized promotional products sold online in the United States, including (...)

The OECD holds a roundtable to address issues on algorithms and collusion
Norton Rose Fulbright (Brussels)
OECD workshop addresses algorithms and collusion issues* On June 21-23, the OECD held a roundtable on the theme of “Algorithms and Collusion,” as part of a wider work stream on competition in the digital economy. The OECD roundtable reflects a shift in the debate over the antitrust implications (...)

The Italian Competition Authority opens a market investigation on Big Data
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
Introduction The Italian Competition Authority, together with the national regulators for communications and data protection, opened a joint market investigation on Big Data. The investigation appears to be wide-ranging, covering not only competition issues, but data protection, consumer (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit considers potential discrimination between taxis and transportation network providers (Illinois Transport Association / City of Chicago)
Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (Warsaw)
Sharing and traditional economy: matter of substitutability ... between cats and dogs?* Sharing economy firms are disrupting traditional industries across the globe. As Tom Goodwin once put it: “Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Brazilian Competition Authority assesses a national fuel company’s IT system used to negotiate prices with its retailers (Ipiranga)
Brazilian Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) (Brasilia)
CADE assesses fuel company Ipiranga’s new pricing policy* The fuel distribution company has consulted with the authority about an IT system to negotiate prices with its retailers In a hearing held last Wednesday (30 June), the Tribunal of the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a Big Tech company €220 million for favoring its services in the online advertising sector in a first decision to look into complex algorithmic auctions processes (Google AdX / Google DoubleClick for Publishers)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence hands out a €220 millions fine to Google for favouring its own services in the online advertising sector* Google, did not dispute the facts, wished to settle with the Autorité, which granted its request. Google also proposed commitments, accepted by the Autorité, (...)

The Chinese SAMR fines an online market platform $2.8 billion for abusing its dominant position (Alibaba)
University of Macau - Faculty of Law (Macau)
China’s antitrust penalty for Alibaba: reading between the lines* On 10 April 2021, the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR), China’s competition authority responsible for the enforcement of the Anti-Monopoly Law (AML), announced the imposition of CNY 18 billion fine on Alibaba for (...)

The Chinese SAMR publishes anti-monopoly guidelines on platform economy
Queen Mary University (London)
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University of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
On 10 November 2020, the State Administration for Market Regulation (“SAMR”), China’s competition authority, released the Anti-Monopoly Guidelines on the Platform Economy (Draft for Public Opinions Solicitation) (the “Draft”). Around three months later, on 7 February 2021, the Anti-Monopoly (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority puts an end to the infringement proceedings brought against a Big Tech company for alleged dominance conduct related to a search engine and an online restaurant reservation system prohibited by national antitrust law (Google / El Tenedor)
Bird & Bird (Madrid)
The Spanish Competition authority (“CNMC”) has agreed to put an end to the infringement proceedings brought against Google and El Tenedor in November 2018 for an alleged conduct related to Google’s search engine and Google Maps’ online restaurant reservation system prohibited by Articles 1 and 2 of (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority fines an online marketplace for abusing its dominant position (Dante International)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 29 December 2020, the Romanian Competition Council (the “RCC”) imposed a fine of € 6.7 million on Dante International, which owns and administers a Romanian online marketplace, for abusing its dominant position. The RCC found that between 2013 and 2019 Dante International violated the (...)

The Indian Supreme Court upholds the Indian Company Law Appellate Tribunal’s decision regarding the no hub-and-spoke cartel involving two ride-hailing platforms in the automobile services market for fixing cab fares through their apps (Uber / Ola)
Vaish Associates Advocates (New Delhi)
Uber and Ola finally win antitrust case in India -Supreme Court upholds NCLAT decision -No Hub and Spoke cartel – (but importantly rejects NCLAT decision on lack of locus standi)* The Supreme Court of India vide its judgment dated 15.12. 2020 has upheld the concurrent findings on merits of (...)

The Paris Court of Appeal confirms the Competition Authority’s decision ordering a search engine to negotiate with news agencies and press publishers (Google)
Addleshaw Goddard (Paris)
On 8 October 2020, the Paris Court of Appeal rejected Google’s challenge to the French Competition Authority’s ("FCA") decision compelling Google to negotiate "neighbouring rights" with news agencies and press publishers. "Neighbouring rights" include the right to receive payment when a (...)

The French Competition Authority imposes interim measures against a search engine suspected of abusing its dominance by infringing the law relating to neighboring rights (Google)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Neighbouring rights: the Autorité has granted requests for urgent interim measures presented by press publishers and the news agency AFP (Agence France Presse)* It requires Google to negotiate with publishers and news agencies the remuneration due to them under the law relating to neighbouring (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority fines €13 million a Big Tech company for excluding its competitors in shopping comparison services (Google)
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
On May 27, 2020, the Turkish Competition Authority (“TCA”) published its Google Shopping Decision (13.02.2020, 20-10/119-69) whereby it imposed an administrative fine amounting to approx. EUR 13 million on Google for hindering the activities of its competitors in the “shopping comparison services (...)

The EU General Court hears an appeal following an abuse of dominance decision involving online comparison shopping services (Google Shopping)
Hausfeld (London)
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Hausfeld (London)
Introduction From 12-14 February 2020, the European Union’s General Court (the “General Court”) heard Google’s appeal of the European Commission’s 27 June 2017 abuse of dominance decision pursuant to Article 102 TFEU (the “Decision”) involving on-line comparison shopping services (“CSSs”). A central (...)

The EU General Court hears an appeal against an abuse of dominance decision in online comparison shopping services (Google Shopping)
Catholic University of Louvain
Background On 27 June 2017, the European Commission imposed a record fine of 2.42 billion euros to Google for abuse of dominant position under Article 102 TFEU consisting in self-favouring its own Comparison Shopping Service (“CSS”) by displaying it more prominently and under enriched features (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a company for abusing its dominant position in the online search advertising market (Google)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 20 December 2019, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) announced that it had imposed a € 150 million fine on Google for abusing its dominant position in the market for search advertising. This is the fourth antitrust fine imposed on Google by a competition authority of the EU in less than (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a research engine company for abuse of dominance in the search advertising market (Google)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence hands down a €150M fine for abuse of a dominant position* Google has abused its dominant position in the search advertising market by adopting operating rules of its Google Ads advertising platform which are opaque and difficult to understand and by applying them (...)

The Polish Competition Authority opens an investigation into an e-commerce platform’s possible abuse of its dominant position (Allegro)
Bird & Bird (Warsaw)
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Bird & Bird (Warsaw)
Following the inspection conducted by the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection ("UOKiK") in Allegro in July 2017, UOKiK has opened an antimonopoly investigation into Allegro’s practices that may violate both Polish and EU competition law. In its press release, UOKiK notes that Allegro (...)

The OECD holds a roundtable on personalized pricing in the digital era
OECD - Competition Division (Paris)
As data analytics and pricing algorithms become common business practice in the digital era, there are growing concerns about the possibility that companies use such tools to engage in personalised pricing, a form of price discrimination that involves charging different prices to consumers (...)

The German Competition Authority considers that an abuse of dominance investigation is not justified in a case where a dominant airline company significantly increased prices on certain routes where it had a monopoly (Lufthansa)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Lufthansa tickets 25-30 per cent more expensive after Air Berlin insolvency – "Price increase does not justify initiation of abuse proceeding"* After the insolvency of Air Berlin, Lufthansa held a monopoly position for a few months on some German domestic routes. After receiving numerous (...)

The EU Commission fines a Big Tech company €2.42 billion for abusing its dominant position as a search engine by giving an illegal advantage to its comparison shopping service (Google Shopping)
Oxera (London)
In 2017 the European Commission imposed a record €2.4bn fine on Google for abusing its dominant position in online search by giving preferential treatment to its own comparison shopping service. Such complex cases of leveraging of market power also arise in other digital markets and raise (...)

The EU Commission fines a search engine for market dominance by promoting its comparison shopping service (Google Shopping)
Hausfeld (Berlin)
On 27 June 2017, the European Commission (the “Commission”) penalized Google for having abused its market dominance as a search engine by promoting its comparison shopping service, Google Shopping, over rival services. The Commission explained that it: "does not object to the design of Google’s (...)

The EU Commission obtains a new proposal on commitments in the context of an ongoing antitrust investigation on online searches and advertising (Google Shopping)
Ashurst (Milan)
Improved Google commitments (closer to) getting the thumbs up from the European Commission* On 5 February 2014, the European Commission issued a press release and a memo concerning the improved commitments proposed by Google (the commitments were made public by Google itself). At a press (...)

The US FTC closes its investigation and approves the voluntary commitment of an internet search engine (Google)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Palo Alto)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
This article has been nominated for the 2014 Antitrust Writing Awards. Click here to learn more about the Antitrust Writing Awards. Thoughts On Google’s FTC Settlement On Jan. 3, 2013, the Federal Trade Commission ended its highly publicized and wide-ranging investigation into Google Inc.’s (...)

The US Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Antitrust conducts hearings in an abuse of dominance investigation on the web search industry (Google)
Rimm-Kaufman Group (Charlottesville, VA)
Google Antitrust Hearing: 5 Takeaways* While yesterday’s Senate antitrust hearing on Google practices may have been more about spectacle than action, it was an opportunity to gain insights into the mindset of Google and the government officials that may seek to intervene in their operations. (...)

The US FTC opens an in-depth investigation for alleged antitrust violations in the online search market (Google)
David A. Balto (Washington)
Internet Search Competition: Where’s the Beef?* On [24] June 2011, Google announced that the FTC had opened an investigation of its search practices. This is an issue I have given considerable thought to. In an article I just released—Internet Search Competition: Where’s the Beef?—I explain (...)

The French Competition Authority issues an opinion concerning the dominant position of a search engine company in the market for online advertising (Google)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence considers that Google holds a dominant position on the advertising market linked to search engines. It considers that competition law can apply limits to Google’s actions and provide a response to the competitive stakes brought to light by the actors, without the (...)

Mergers

The UK Competition Authority accepts commitment by a major photo-sharing platform to tackle hidden advertising by social media influencers (Instagram Social Media Endorsements)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority - CMA (London)
Instagram to tackle hidden advertising after CMA action* Following CMA action, Instagram will do more to prevent hidden advertising on its app and website, signalling an important behaviour shift by a major platform. Facebook Ireland Ltd, which operates Instagram in the UK, has committed to a (...)

The US District Court for the District of Columbia requires conduct remedies before allowing a vertical merger between a generic online search engine and a widely-used flight information service provider to go forward (Google / ITA)
Robins Kaplan (Minneapolis)
According to conventional wisdom, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission prefer structural merger remedies like divestiture over remedies that require ongoing monitoring of post-merger conduct. Structural remedies offer comparative ease of implementation and require (...)

Procedures

The UK High Court issues guidance on the balancing of conflicting interest in a case involving the protection of a Big Tech’s confidential and technical information on its search algorithms (Foundem / Google)
Hausfeld (London)
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Hausfeld (London)
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Hausfeld (London)
Introduction There is an emerging trend in competition damages cases in England for the majority of documents to be disclosed into so-called “confidentiality rings.” These restrictive confidentiality procedures can result, in certain instances, in the parties themselves being precluded from (...)

The German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs publishes a ministerial draft of the ninth amendment to the German Act against restraints of competition
Hausfeld (Berlin)
On July 1, 2016, the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs published the ministerial draft of the 9th amendment to the German Act against Restraints of Competition (the “Draft”). The Draft implements the European Union directive governing actions for damages for infringements of competition (...)

The UK High Court opts for targeted disclosure in a private stand-alone claim against a web search engine provider (Foundem / Google)
Manchester University (Manchester)
Background On 30 November 2010, the EU Commission (the “Commission”) announced that it had opened an investigation into allegations that Google has abused its dominant position, contrary to Article 102 TFEU, following multiple complaints. On 21 May 2012, the Commission published its preliminary (...)

The Romanian Supreme Court rejects an appeal on points of law that relied on claims of non-compliance with the right to inviolability of domicile brought against an order for unannounced inspections (BRD-Group Société Générale)
Mircea (Bucharest)
The irremediable impairment of the rights of defence may arise from the disregard of the right to the inviolability of domicile Introduction ...whilst it is true that the rights of the defence must be observed in administrative procedures which may lead to the imposition of penalties, it is (...)

Regulatory

The EU Commission publishes its set of rules to reform the online space called the Digital Services Act and the Digital Market Act in order to harmonize rules for regulating digital platforms
Arendt & Medernach (Luxembourg)
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Arendt & Medernach (Luxembourg)
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Arendt & Medernach (Luxembourg)
On 15 December 2020, the European Commission published a long-awaited set of rules intended to reform the online space, in two parts: (i) the proposal for a regulation on a Single Market for Digital Services and amending Directive 2000/31/EC, called the “Digital Services Act” or “DSA”, setting out (...)

The EU Commission publishes a package of initiatives on Europe’s digital future to create legislation on AI and big data
Norton Rose Fulbright (Brussels)
The New EU AI and Data Strategy and what it Means for EU Antitrust Reform* On February 19, the European Commission (EC) published a package of initiatives (the AI and Data Package) on Europe’s “digital future,” delivering on the promise in President von der Leyen’s political guidelines to put (...)

The German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy publishes the draft bill on the 10th amendment to the German Act against restraints of competition
Morgan Lewis (Frankfurt)
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Buntscheck (Munich)
The German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has published the draft bill on the 10th amendment to the German Act against Restraints of Competition, which includes a proposal for the revision of abuse control in Germany. Such revision would be of high relevance for undertakings in the (...)

The German Competition Authority issues a study on algorithms and competition
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt publication on “Algorithms and Competition“* Bonn, 16 January 2020: As a follow up to its joint study with the French Autorité de la concurrence on Algorithms and Competition the Bundeskartellamt has published a new paper on this theme. The paper appears in the Bundeskartellamt’s (...)

The French Competition Authority publishes alongside the German Competition Authority a report on algorithms and competition law
DG COMP (Brussels)
THE AUTORITÉ DE LA CONCURRENCE AND BUNDESKARTELLAMT REPORT ON “ALGORITHMS AND COMPETITION”* I. Introduction Algorithms may raise competition concerns especially when assessing collusive practices. Very often, the term “algorithm” is used improperly. When we imagine the cartels of the future, we (...)

The German and French Competition Authorities find a need for higher compliance standards in their joint study on the competition risks resulting from the use of algorithms
Hogan Lovells (Munich)
,
Hogan Lovells (Paris)
,
Hogan Lovells (Paris)
This article has been nominated for the 2020 Antitrust Writing Awards. Click here to learn more about the Antitrust Writing Awards. Digital ubiquity, and the resulting rules, do not only concern tech giants. To the contrary, digital regulation is relevant for companies in all market sectors (...)

The UK OFGEM fines two energy suppliers for agreeing not to target each other’s customer and another company for providing software to facilitate the collusion (Dyball)
Bird & Bird (London)
On 26 July 2019, the energy regulator published its decision , issued in May, fining two energy suppliers for agreeing not to target each other’s customers, and a third company for providing software to facilitate the collusion; the decision addresses a number of interesting substantive and (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes its digital markets strategy to ensure a level playing field where all businesses can compete on the merits of their offering
Bird & Bird (London)
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Bird & Bird (London)
In the context of increasing enforcement in the digital sector, the CMA published its Digital Markets Strategy ("DMS") in July 2019. It aims to ensure a level playing field where all businesses can compete on the merits of their offering. The DMS sets out strategic aims supported by the (...)

The OECD holds a roundtable on the digital disruption in financial markets
OECD - Competition Division (Paris)
The financial sector has been the object of many innovations in recent years, with significant impact on consumers and on regulation. Retail banking is no longer solely branch-based, but can be conducted in many ways, including using mobile telephones. Banks have had to adapt their business (...)

The EU Commission publishes a report on competition policy for the digital era
Crowell & Moring (London)
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Simmons & Simmons (London)
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Simmons & Simmons (London)
On 04 April 2019, the European Commission (EC) published a report commissioned by the EU’s Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager. The report looks at how competition policy should continue to evolve in the digital age and is written jointly by an economist, a lawyer and an engineer. The (...)

The EU Commission hosts a conference to address the challenges of digitization for competition policy
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
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Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
“Shaping Competition Policy in the era of digitization”: The European Commission hosts a conference with academic and business leaders to address the challenges of digitization for competition policy. On 17 January 2019, the European Commission hosted an experts conference to address the (...)

The French Competition Authority announces its priorities for 2019
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence announces its priorities for 2019* The Autorité has defined several priority actions for 2019. Further, it has committed to an extensive strategic review exercise of its legal framework and methods of operation. SECTORS AND LINES OF ACTION Digital sector The (...)

The OECD holds a roundtable on e-commerce
OECD - Competition Division (Paris)
1. Introduction 1. E-commerce – broadly, buying and selling online – is a global phenomenon and an important expanding distribution mechanism across the OECD. During the last decade, e-commerce activities have been growing both in the demand and supply side, as seen by the increasing number of (...)

The OECD holds a roundtable on taxi, ride-sourcing and ride-sharing services
OECD - Competition Division (Paris)
Introduction 1. Over the last 10 years, disruptive innovation in transportation radically changed the regulatory and competitive landscape, raising new questions for regulators and competition law enforcers. 2. Different services with different business models entered into the provision of (...)

The OECD holds a roundtable on algorithms and collusion
OECD - Competition Division (Paris)
The combination of data with technologically advanced tools such as pricing algorithms and machine learning is increasingly changing the competitive landscape in the digital markets. There is a growing number of firms using computer algorithms to improve their pricing models, customise services (...)

The OECD holds roundtable on dig data
OECD - Competition Division (Paris)
Executive summary, by the Secretariat * The 126th meeting of the Competition Committee held a Hearing on 29 November 2016 to discuss Big Data and the challenges of adapting competition policy to the digital economy. Considering the background note prepared by the OECD Secretariat with the (...)

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