Algorithms

Anticompetitive practices

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) New Free
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 Canadian Competition Authority issues a call for information from Canada’s business community about conduct in the digital economy that may be harmful to competition Free
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 Portuguese Competition Authority warns that firms are responsible for the algorithms they use to coordinate market prices Free
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 centre for this matter Free
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) Free
Vaish (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 into pricing algorithms in order to identify whether they could be used to support illegal practices Free
British 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 electronic goods manufacturers for resale price maintenance (Asus / Denon & Marantz / Philips / Pioneer) Free
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Paris)
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McDermott Will & Emery (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 EU Commission fines consumer electronics manufacturers for imposing fixed or minimum resale prices on their online retailers (Asus / Denon / Marantz / Philips / Pioneer) Free
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 over €111 million for restricting the ability of online retailers to set their own retail prices for a variety of widely-used consumer electronics products (Asus / Denon & Marantz / Philips / Pioneer) Free
Bona Law (San Diego)
Antitrust News: The European Commission imposes fines for the first time in 15 years as a result of online retail price restrictions (RPM)* On July 24, 2018, the European Commission fined manufacturers Asus, Denon & Marantz, Philips and Pioneer for over €111 million for restricting the (...)

The EU Commission fines four leading consumer electronics manufacturers for fixing online resale prices (Asus / Denon & Marantz / Philips / Pioneer) Free
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (London)
EU COMMISSION FINES MAJOR CONSUMER ELECTRONICS MANUFACTURERS FOR FIXING ONLINE RESALE PRICES* On 24th July 2018 the EU Commission passed a decision to enforce the competition rules in yet another case involving the e-commerce sector. This time it fined a number of leading consumer electronics (...)

The EU Commission fines four consumer electronics groups for restricting their online retailers’ ability to set their own retail prices for widely-used electronics products (Asus / Denon & Marantz / Philips / Pioneer) Free
White & Case (London)
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White & Case (Brussels)
The Commission Decisions In February 2017, the Commission initiated proceedings against Asus, Denon & Marantz, Philips and Pioneer following information obtained during the e-commerce sector inquiry. The Commission’s report had identified resale price maintenance as an area of concern, and (...)

The EU Commission fines consumer electronics’ manufacturers a total of €111 million for resale price maintenance, granting substantial reductions in the fines through the cooperation procedure (Asus / Denon & Marantz / Philips / Pioneer) Free
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
According to a press release and statement issued on 24 July 2018, the European Commission has, in four separate decisions, fined consumer electronics manufacturers Asus, Denon & Marantz, Philips and Pioneer a total of €111 million for engaging in resale price maintenance during periods (...)

The EU Commission fines four electronics manufacturers for fixing minimum resale prices for online retailers (Asus / Denon & Marantz / Philips / Pioneer) Free
K&L Gates (Houston)
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K&L Gates (Sidney)
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K&L Gates (Boston)
This article has been nominated for the 2019 Antitrust Writing Awards. Click here to learn more about the Antitrust Writing Awards. On 24 July 2018, in four separate decisions, the European Commission (“Commission”) levied fines totalling EUR 111 million on four well-known manufacturers of (...)

The French and German Competition Authorities launch a joint project on algorithms and their implications on competition Free
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) Free
Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick (Brussels)
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Arendt & Medernach (Luxembourg)
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Arendt & Medernach (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 EU Commission proposes legislation to increase fairness and transparency on online platforms Free
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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 in order to determine whether the airline companies have engaged in price-fixing practices (Jet Airways / InterGlobe Aviation) Free
National University of Study and Research in Law (Ranchi)
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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) Free
Jones Day (San Francisco)
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Jones Day (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 Free
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 Free
Shearman & Sterling (Rome)
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) Free
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 (...)

The US DoJ files the first e-commerce case regarding price fixing (Topkins) Free
GeyerGorey (Washington)
Antitrust Division Files First E-Commerce Case* David Topkins, a former executive at the E-Commerce Merchants Trade Association, an e-commerce seller of posters, prints and framed art, has agreed to plead guilty for conspiring to fix the prices of posters sold online. The one-count felony (...)

Unilateral Practices

The French Competition Authority fines a company for abusing its dominant position in the online search advertising market (Google) Free
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) Free
Autorité de la concurrence (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) Free
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 personalised pricing in the digital era Free
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) Free
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 imposes a record fine on a big tech undertaking for abuse of dominance in the search engine market (Google Shopping) Free
Simmons & Simmons (London)
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Simmons & Simmons (London)
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Simmons & Simmons (London)
Introduction On 27 June 2017, the European Commission (the Commission) imposed a record €2.42bn fine on Google after finding it had abused its dominant position in the search engine market by giving favourable treatment to its comparison shopping service in its search results. Background (...)

The EU Commission fines a multinational technology company for abuse of dominance on the market of online comparison shopping service (Google Shopping) Free
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission fines Google €2.42 billion for abusing dominance as search engine by giving illegal advantage to own comparison shopping service* The European Commission has fined Google €2.42 billion for breaching EU antitrust rules. Google has abused its market dominance as a search (...)

The Italian Competition Authority launches an inquiry into the big data sector Free
Ashurst (Milan)
Big Data: Italian authorities launch inquiries on competition, consumer protection and data privacy issues* On 30 May 2017, the Italian Competition Authority, the Italian Data Protection Authority and the Communications Authority opened a joint inquiry on “Big Data”. Sector Inquiry The joint (...)

The EU Commission obtains new proposal on commitments in the context of an ongoing antitrust investigation as regards online search and search advertising (Google) Free
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) Free
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington DC)
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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) Free
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) Free
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) Free
Autorité de la concurrence (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 US DoJ imposes conduct remedies, including "FRAND" licensing, before approving a vertical merger with anticompetitive concerns in the comparative-flight-search industry (Google / ITA) Free
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 (...)

The US DoJ requires conduct remedies before allowing a vertical merger between a generic online search engine and a widely-used flight information services provider to go forward (Google / ITA) Free
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 opts for targeted disclosure in private stand-alone claim against web search engine provider (Foundem / Google) Free
Manchester University
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 which relied on claims of non-compliance with the right to inviolability of domicile brought against an order for unannounced inspections conducted (BRD-Group Société Générale) Free
Mircea & Partners (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 a package of initiatives on Europe’s digital future to create legislation on AI and big data Free
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 Free
Morgan Lewis (Frankfurt)
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Morgan Lewis (Frankfurt)
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 Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy issues an update on the reform of German competition law Free
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 24 January 2020, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy published an update of its draft 10th amendment to the Act against Restraints of Competition (the “ARC”), officially called the “ARC Digitization Act”. Compared to the initial draft (see VBB on Competition Law, Volume (...)

The German Competition Authority issues a study on algorithms and competition Free
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 and the German Competition Authority present their joint study on algorithms and competition law Free
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
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German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Algorithms are among the most important technological drivers of the ongoing digitalization process. They are becoming more and more important, enabling firms to be more innovative and efficient. However, debate has arisen on whether and to what extent algorithms might also have detrimental (...)

The French and German Competition Authorities publish a joint study on algorithms and competition law Free
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 6 November 2019, the French and German competition authorities presented their joint study on algorithms and competition at a conference in Paris. The study recognises algorithms as one of the “most important technological drivers of the ongoing digitalization process” but also identifies a (...)

The French Competition Authority publishes alongside the German Competition Authority a report on algorithms and competition law Free
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
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 UK OFGEM fines two energy suppliers for agreeing not to target each other’s customer and another company for providing software to facilitate collusion (Dyball) Free
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 Free
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 Free
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 Free
Simmons & Simmons (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 conference to address the challenges of digitization for competition policy Free
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 Free
Autorité de la concurrence (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 Free
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 Free
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 Free
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 Free
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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