Exclusive rights (Art. 106 TFEU)

Anticompetitive practices

The EFTA Surveillance Authority closes investigation into alleged abuse of dominant position by ferry operator and municipality (Color Line / Sandefjord Municipality)
European Commission (Brussels)
ESA closes Color Line and Sandefjord investigation* On 20 December 2016, the EFTA Surveillance Authority (“ESA”) closed an investigation of the ferry company Color Line and the municipality of Sandefjord in Norway. The parties have ended practices alleged to be in breach of the EEA competition (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority invites comments on commitments offered by Norwegian undertakings to address the authority’s competition concerns on the Sandefjord-Strömstad ferry route (Color Line / Sandefjord Municipality)
European Commission (Brussels)
EFTA Surveillance Authority invites comments on commitments offered on Sandefjord - Strömstad ferry route* Following the opening of antitrust proceedings by the EFTA Surveillance Authority in March 2015 against the ferry company Color Line AS and the Municipality of Sandefjord in Norway, the (...)

The US DOJ opens an investigation on a movie theater chain (Regal, AMC, Cinemark Holdings)
Porter Wright Morris & Arthur (Washington)
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Porter Wright Morris & Arthur (Columbus)
Antitrust Probe of Movie Theater Chains Enters Next Act* The U.S. Department of Justice has turned its spotlight on AMC Entertainment, Inc. in the government’s antitrust probe of the nation’s movie theater industry. In an 8-K filed Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, AMC (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit addresses pharmaceutical “product hopping” in decision barring a producer from pulling older version of drug from shelves (Actavis)
Winston & Strawn (Washington)
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Winston & Strawn (Washington)
Few courts have addressed antitrust challenges to pharmaceutical “product hopping,” i.e., the practice of shifting customers from a drug nearing the end of its patent protection to a modified version that is covered by newer patents and thus is protected from generic competition for a longer (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upholds the baseball industry’s historic antitrust exemption (City of San Jose)
Better.com (New York)
Baseball Antitrust Exemption Extends 93-Year Winning Streak In Federal Courts* Although federal courts may consider baseball’s antitrust exemption to make about as much sense as the infield fly rule, last week’s decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in City of San Jose v. (...)

The Danish Competition Authority accepts new commitments regarding football clubs’ joint sale of media rights for national league football (Superliga)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Danish Competition Council Accepts New Commitments regarding Danish Football Clubs’ Joint Sale of Media Rights* On 26 February 2014 the Danish Competition Council accepted new commitments offered by the Association of Danish League Clubs regarding the clubs’ joint sale of media rights to Danish (...)

The EU Commission is set to open an investigation that could outlaw exclusive territorial models of pay-TV licensing
Blackstone Chambers (London)
This article has been nominated for the 2014 Antitrust Writing Awards. Click here to learn more about the Antitrust Writing Awards. Murphy, round 2: does exclusive territorial licensing of pay-TV breach EU competition law?* According to a report in the Financial Times on 24 November 2013, the (...)

Dominance

The Luxembourg Competition Authority’s president rejects a request for interim measures in the context of the COVID-19 health crisis (Bionext / Laboratoire National de Santé) Free
Bonn & Schmitt (Luxembourg)
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Bonn & Schmitt (Luxembourg)
I. Introduction On 17 December 2020, the President of the Luxembourg Competition Council (hereinafter the “President”) rendered a decision on a request for interim measures requested by the laboratory Bionext S.A. (hereinafter “Bionext”) against the Laboratoire National de Santé (hereinafter (...)

The German Federal Court of Justice rules on SEP licensing negotiations on FRAND terms in the mobile telecommunications market (Sisvel / Haier)
McDermott Will & Emery (Dusseldorf)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Dusseldorf)
The German Federal Court of Justice (FCJ) has issued its decision in a landmark case regarding standard essential patents (SEPs) and fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory (FRAND) licensing of SEPs. The judgment, dated 5 May 2020, was handed down in litigation between the Sisvel patent pool and (...)

The German Federal Court of Justice clarifies obligations of parties in SEP licensing negotiations on FRAND terms (Sisvel / Haier)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In its judgment of 5 May 2020, the Federal Court of Justice (“FCJ”) overturned the appeal ruling of the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf (the “Düsseldorf Court”) and found that Haier’s mobile telephones and tablets infringed Sisvel’s standard-essential patent (“SEP”) and that Sisvel had not abused (...)

The German Federal Court of Justice issues a judgment in a case involving SEP licensing negotiations on FRAND terms between two companies active in the mobile telecommunication market (Sisvel / Haier)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 5 May 2020, the German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof - the “FCJ”) delivered a judgment in a case pitting Sisvel against Haier which deals with the licensing of Standard Essential Patents (“SEP”) on terms that are fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (“FRAND”). This is the first (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority fines a company for resale price maintenance after the Council of State annulled its first decision finding no infringement regarding prepaid card prices (Turkcell II)
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
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ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
The Turkish Competition Board published its reasoned decision on an additional investigation on whether Turkcell İletişim Hizmetleri A.Ş. has violated the Law No. 4054 on the Protection of Competition through resale price maintenance and exclusivity practices (19-03/23-10; 10.01.2019). The (...)

The Egyptian Economic Court fines the President and the Secretary General of a sports association for abuse of dominance regarding an exclusive licensing agreement (Confederation of African Football)
Egyptian Competition Authority (Cairo)
Economic Court has Fined Mr. Isaa Hayatou (President of CAF) and Mr. Hicham El Amrani (Secretary General of CAF) 500 Million EGP Each*
 Background of the case: 
January 3rd 2017, the Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) requested the Prosecutor’s Office to press criminal charges pursuant to (...)

The Indian Competition Authority opens an investigation into abuse of dominance by oil and natural gas company in the market for charter hire of offshore support vehicles (Indian National Shipowners’ Association / Oil and Natural Gas Corporation)
Vaish Associates Advocates (New Delhi)
CCI directs investigation against Oil and Natural Gas Limited (‘ONGC’) for abuse of dominant position* The CCI by way of an order dated June 12, 2018 has directed investigation under Section 26(1) of the Act against ONGC for abusing its dominant position in the relevant market for “charter hire (...)

The Egyptian Competition Authority orders interim measures against a football organization which granted exclusive rights in absence of fair, or transparent or non-discriminatory tendering procedures (FIFA)
Egyptian Competition Authority (Cairo)
The ECA orders interim measures against the FIFA to make available on free-to-air terrestrial channels the 2018 World Cup Russia* The ECA has ordered interim measures against FIFA based on prima facie finding of infringements to articles 7 and 8 of the Egyptian competition law as it was (...)

The Moldovan Competition Authority finds a state-initiated restraint of competition on the part of the state-owned enterprise entrusted with the management of the official publications (Moldpres)
University of Macau - Faculty of Law (Macau)
On 1 February 2018 the Competition Council of the Republic of Moldova (CC) found that the state-owned enterprise (SOE) entrusted with the management of the official publications has applied discriminatory tariffs for its publishing services in violation of competition law prohibiting (...)

The Moldovan Competition Authority fines a company for abuse of dominant position by imposing unjustified tariffs for used water reception service (Apă-Canal Chișinău)
University of Macau - Faculty of Law (Macau)
On 1 February 2018 the Competition Council of the Republic of Moldova (CC) found that the municipal undertaking Apă-Canal Chișinău SA has abused its dominant position on the local market for water and sewage services by imposing unjustified tariffs for used water reception service and by (...)

The Moldovan Competition Authority fines the state-owned utilities company for abuse of dominance on the water and sewage services market (Servicii Comunale Floreşti)
University of Macau - Faculty of Law (Macau)
On 29 June 2017 the Competition Council of the Republic of Moldova (CC) fined the state-owned public utilities company for the abuse of dominance in the form of restricting the supply of water and sewage services to the customer that did not agree to install the water meter of certain brand as (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority publishes a reasoned decision on the pharmaceutical industry (Pharmacists Association)
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
Introduction The Competition Board recently published a reasoned decision (December 6 2016; 16-42/699-313) following its investigation into whether the Pharmacists’ Association (TEB) and the Pharmacists’ Association Commercial Enterprise (TEBII) had violated Article 6 of Law 4054 on the (...)

The Indian Competition Authority opens investigation into abuse of dominance by syringe manufacturer and a group of hospitals (Vivek Sharma / Becton Dickinson India / Max Super Speciality Hospital)
Vaish Associates Advocates (New Delhi)
CCI initiates investigation against Max Super Specialty Hospitals for alleged abuse of dominance* The CCI in its order dated November 17, 2015, has directed the Director General (DG) to conduct an investigation against Max Super Specialty Hospital (“Max”) and M/s Becton Dickinson India (P) Ltd. (...)

The Düsseldorf Regional Court orders injunctive relief for infringement of standard-essential patents in the first German judgments after CJEU decision on FRAND (SISVEL / Haier)
Arnold Ruess (Düsseldorf)
On 3 November 2015, the Düsseldorf Regional Court has issued judgments against Haier Deutschland GmbH und die Haier Europe Trading SRL, entities of Chinese Qingdao Haier Group. The Court ordered them to cease and desist from and render account on past infringements as well as determined Haier’s (...)

The Danish Supreme Court rules on State action defense and refusal to supply under Danish competition law (Copenhagen Airport Terminal A)
University of Copenhagen - Faculty of Law
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Accura (Copenhagen)
Summary of the case After a lengthy process the Danish Supreme Court finally closed the curtain in September 2015 on a potential new, and competing, terminal in Copenhagen Airport, the main Danish airport hub. A group of investors had asked the airport to grant access (a lease) to a plot of (...)

The EU Court of Justice sets out specific requirements with which a SEP holder needs to comply to be able to seek an injunction without abusing its dominant position (Huawei / ZTE)
A patent is an exclusive right granted to an inventor for disclosing to the public an innovative technical solution. It does not necessarily oblige the patent owner to exploit that invention. Rather, it provides the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, offering for sale, or (...)

The Guangdong High People’s Court hears the appeal of one of China’s first administrative monopoly cases (Guangdong Education Department / Shenzhen Sware Technology)
University of Melbourne
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China Competition Bulletin (Beijing)
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Hogan Lovells (Beijing)
One of China’s first administrative monopoly court cases heard in Guangdong* On 28 May 2015, the Guangdong High People’s Court heard the appeal of the administrative monopoly case against the Guangdong Education Department filed by Shenzhen Sware Technology. The court is expected to announce its (...)

The Italian Competition Authority challenges anticompetitive measures in the Italian slots allocation tender process (Rotte Italia / Israele)
Macchi di Cellere Gangemi (Rome)
Following the Opinion S2138 of January, 30, 2015 (not yet published), the ICA is going to challenge in Court the Italian Civil Aviation Agency (ENAC) method of allocating air traffic rights from Italy to Israel due to hamper of competition and favor of the dominant player . The outcome may (...)

The US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania allows “product hopping” claims to proceed based on allegations of removal of prior formulation and disparagement of generic competition (Suboxone)
Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler (New York)
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Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler (New York)
Court Allows “Product Hopping” Claims to Proceed in Suboxone Litigation Based on Allegations of Removal of Prior Formulation and Disparagement of Generic Competition* We’ve previously discussed antitrust claims related to “product hopping”—allegations that pharmaceutical manufacturers have (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority closes its investigation into an electricity distribution and retail company for increasing the switching costs for eligible customers and impeding the opportunities of competitors (Ayedas)
University of Sussex (Brighton)
This case note analyses the decision of the Turkish Competition Authority (TCA) in which it has closed the investigation it launched into an electricity retail sale company, AYESAS, for unilaterally including most of the eligible customers into its own portfolio without signing an agreement (...)

The French Competition Authority orders interim measures against a TV company on the exclusive rights for the broadcasting of Top 14 matches market (Canal Plus / beIN Sports)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Broadcasting rights for the French Rugby 1st Division Championship* Following a referral by beIN Sports, the Autorité de la concurrence suspends the agreement concluded between the French Rugby national League and Group Canal Plus which awarded the latter exclusive rights for the broadcasting (...)

The EU Court of Justice clarifies the threshold of competitive distortion required in the application of Articles 102 and 106(1) TFEU to State measures concerned with public undertakings or undertakings with special or exclusive rights (Greek Lignite case)
University of Bristol - Law School
CJEU fuels joint application of Arts 102 & 106(1) TFEU to suppress unequal conditions of competition (C-553/12P)* In its Judgment in Commission v DEI, C-553/12 P, EU:C:2014:2083, the CJEU has (further) clarified the threshold of competitive distortion required in the application of Arts (...)

The EU Court of Justice holds that a member state may be found to have infringed art. 106(1) TFEU if its measures create a situation in which a public undertaking or an undertaking on which it has conferred special or exclusive rights is led to abuse its dominant position (Greek Lignite case)
DG COMP (Brussels)
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Gibson Dunn (Brussels)
This article has been nominated for the 2015 Antitrust Writing Awards. Click here to learn more about the Antitrust Writing Awards. ECJ held that the legal standard established by the General Court was incorrect, as the Commission was not required to identify or establish that an actual (...)

The EU Court of Justice revolves around the radius of Commission’s powers and discretion in establishing an infringement of article 106 TFEU read together with article 102 TFEU (Greek Lignite case)
Prentoulis Gerakini Law Partnership (Athens)
On 17 July 2014 the Court of Justice of the EU (‘CJEU’) rendered its decision in the Greek Lignite case, which revolves around the radius of Commission’s powers and discretion in establishing an infringement of article 106 TFEU read together with article 102 TFEU. Article 106 is the legal vehicle (...)

The EU Court of Justice attempts to clarify its case law on whether actual abuse by the public undertaking must be shown in Article 106 TFEU cases (Greek Lignite case)
University of Groningen
The Appeal in Greek Lignite: Clarification of the Law or Jumpstarting Article 106 TFEU?* Introduction In October 2012 I wrote an entry about the General Court judgment that annulled the Commission decision in the Greek Lignite-saga, concerning the Greek state-owned electricity company DEI (...)

The Moldovan Competition Authority finds that the national standardisation body has abused its exclusive right to provide training and certification services (National Institute for Standardization and Metrology)
University of Macau - Faculty of Law (Macau)
On 4 April 2014 the Moldovan competition authority (CC) found that a state-owned undertaking, the National Institute for Standardization and Metrology (INSM) , has abused its dominant position on the market for training and certification of metrology experts by obstructing market access and (...)

The UK High Court rules on the relevance of commercial gain for establishing an abuse of dominance on the market for airport to city centre bus route (Arriva The Shires / London Luton Airport Operations)
Blackstone Chambers (London)
Abuse of dominance: no commercial gain, no abuse?* Is it necessary for there to be some commercial benefit to be gained by a dominant undertaking from its conduct before that conduct can be condemned as abusive? No, says Mrs Justice Rose in Arriva the Shires Ltd v London Luton Airport (...)

Mergers

The French Competition Authority refuses to lift the ban on exclusive broadcasting of premium sports channels pronounced against a pay TV channel (Canal Plus)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence considers that the conditions are not currently satisfied to lift the ban on exclusive broadcasting of premium sports channels pronounced on Canal Plus. * The Autorité will engage, during the upcoming twelve months, in an in-depth work in dialogue with all the (...)

The US DoJ approves a merger under conditions to resolve a vertical antitrust concern in the vehicle air springs market (Continental / Veyance Technologies)
Doyle, Barlow & Mazard (Washington DC)
DOJ’s Approval of Continental AG’s Acquisition of Veyance Requires Remedy of a Vertical Concern* On December 11, 2014, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) approved Continental AG’s $1.8 billion acquisition of Veyance Technologies with conditions. The settlement agreements requires Continental to (...)

State Aids

The EU Court of Justice decides that an exclusive right that provides selective advantages through State resources and distorts competition and trade between Member States is a State aid (Poste Italiane)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Exclusive Rights and State Aid* Exclusive rights may constitute State aid if they mandate payments with resources over which the state can exercise control. Compensation for the cost of public service obligations may be granted only if the obligations are clear and define a service that is (...)

The EU Commission approves State compensation granted by Italy to national postal service for its universal service obligation (Poste Italiane)
DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves State compensation granted by Italy to Poste Italiane for its universal postal service obligation* The European Commission has found the compensation granted by Italy to Poste Italiane to fulfil its public service mission (so-called ‘universal service obligation’ (...)

The EU General Court allows a State scheme consisting on ’cross-overpayment’ of new and existing exclusive rights (Club Hotel Loutraki)
University of Bristol - Law School
Exclusive rights, State aid and lottery: a winning ticket worth an extended monopoly? (T-58/13)* In its Judgment in Club Hotel Loutraki and Others v Commission, T-58/13, EU:T:2015:1, the General Court (GC) has confirmed the previous Decision of the European Commission and considered that (...)

The EU General Court confirms the Commission decision holding that the Greek scheme of exclusive rights for lottery did not contain State Aid (Club Hotel Loutraki)
European University Institute (Florence)
In Brief: Case T-58/13, Club Hotel Loutraki AE and Others v Commission (judgment of 08.01.2015)* On Thursday the 8th January the GC dismissed all four pleas in the action for annulment of the Commission Decision finding that the exclusive rights granted to operate 35 000 Video Lottery (...)

The EU General Court explains that in the field of State aid it is not necessary to define precisely the relevant market in order to determine the existence of an advantage (Club Hotel Loutraki)
College of Europe (Bruges)
ii) Monopolies and the market economy investor principle* Several casinos in Greece appealed against Commission decision SA.33988 which found that an exclusive licence granted to OPAP, the Greek betting undertaking, to operate 35,000 video lottery terminals [exclusive rights 1] and the (...)

The European Commission holds that the granting of exclusive rights may confer an advantage but does not in itself result in transfer of state resources (Jadrolinija Imuna Pharm)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Exclusive Rights* The granting of exclusive rights may confer an advantage but does not in itself result in transfer of state resources. Private undertakings that hold exclusive rights are not utilising state resources by the mere fact that they operate under rights conferred by the state. (...)

The EU Commission reminds Member States of mistakes they can avoid when they compensate operators on whom they impose public service obligations (Dublin Bus / Irish Bus)
College of Europe (Bruges)
Public Service Obligations: A Few More Mistakes that Can Be Avoided* Even efficient companies will fail the 4th Altmark criterion if their costs are not proven to be comparable to those of a typical and well-equipped undertaking. Public funding of infrastructure is not State aid to users only (...)

The EU General Court refuses to find the Altmark criteria fulfilled and reminds that Member States have discretion to define what they consider as an SGEI but only after having identified market gaps (Zweckverband)
College of Europe (Bruges)
* Article published on Lexxion State Aid Blog (click here), republished in e-Competitions with the courtesy of the author. The original title of this article appears below the e-Competitions title. Authors are welcome to write an alternative article on this case/text, provided they have no (...)

Regulations

The OECD holds a roundtable on the licensing of IP rights and competition law
OECD - Competition Division (Paris)
IP rights, which create temporary exclusive rights that protect investments in research and some creative activities, have taken on an increasingly prominent and extensive role in economic activity – and in market competition as well. As the economy digitalises and the importance of intangible (...)

The OECD holds a roundtable on disruptive innovations in legal services
OECD - Competition Division (Paris)
Executive summary, by the Secretariat * 1. The Roundtable on Disruptive Innovations in Legal Services discussed the way that current legal professional regulations are being (i) challenged by new innovations and (ii) potentially standing in the way of further innovation. The Chairman, Alberto (...)

The French Competition Authority issues an opinion with regard to a draft decree on electricity consumption demand response
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. The Autorité de la concurrence, whose opinion was sought in relation to a draft decree, has found that subsidisation of demand response operators’ activity by electricity consumers must be strictly limited and (...)

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