Parallel imports

Anticompetitive practices

The EU Commission opens investigation into possible trade restrictions by one of the largest producers of chocolate, biscuits, and coffee in the European Union (Mondelēz)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission opens formal investigation into possible trade restrictions by Mondelēz* The European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation to assess whether Mondelēz has restricted competition in a range of national markets for chocolate, biscuits and coffee by hindering (...)

The Hellenic Competition Authority finds two companies guilty of an anti-competitive vertical agreement for prohibiting parallel imports in the market for artificial kidney machines (Gambro Lundia / Medical Products)
Hellenic Competition Authority (Athens)
Decision regarding the complaints of the company SERKO LTD* Subject: Decision of the Hellenic Competition Commission regarding the complaints of the company "SERKO LTD SCIENTIFIC - ELECTRONIC MACHINERY (Imports - Representations - Service)" concerning alleged infringements of articles 1 and 2 (...)

The Israel Competition Tribunal upholds the Competition Authority’s instruction prohibiting an importer from reporting to multinational consumer products company on parallel imports of the company’s toothpaste (Schestowitz / Colgate-Palmolive)
Israel Competition Authority (Jerusalem)
The Competition Tribunal has confirmed an instruction of the Director-General, which prohibits Schestowitz from reporting to Colgate-Palmolive on parallel imports of Colgate toothpaste* The Competition Tribunal granted the force of a judgment to a new instruction of the Director-General to (...)

The Guangzhou Intellectual Property Court rules its first trademark infringement and unfair competition case regarding parallel import, in which it finds such acts should constitute neither trademark infringement nor unfair competition (Opel Electric / Guangdong Shifu Electric)
King & Wood Mallesons (Beijing)
First Trademark Infringement and Unfair Competition Case regarding Parallel Import Concluded by Guangzhou IP Court* Recently, Guangzhou IP Court ruled on its first trademark infringement and unfair competition case regarding parallel import, in which it found such acts should neither (...)

The Barcelona Court of Appeal applies a narrow reading of the exhaustion principle to trade marks with common origin (Schweppes)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 22 July 2019, the Barcelona Court of Appeal (“Audiencia Provincial de Barcelona”) delivered a judgment on an appeal by Schweppes SA (“Schweppes”) against a judgment of the Commercial Court of Barcelona in which it held that the evidence provided by Red Paralela, a parallel importer, was (...)

The Ankara 7th Administrative Court annuls the Turkish Competition Authority’s dismissal decision regarding the restriction of parallel imports allegations faced by a company in the market of energy systems (Mastervolt / Eltesan)
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
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ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
The Ankara 7th Administrative Court (“Court”) annulled the dismissal decision of the Turkish Competition Board (“Board”) concerning the allegations that Mastervolt International Holding B.V. (“Mastervolt”) and its exclusive distributor in Turkey, Artı Marin Elektrik Dış Tic. Ltd. Şti. (“Artı Marin”), (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority publishes a decision on export bans in the pharmaceutical sector (Roche)
ACTECON (Istanbul)
Introduction On 27 September 2018, Turkish Competition Authority (“TCA”) published its decision concerning the allegations that Roche Müstahzarları A.Ş. (“Roche”) had violated articles 4 and 6 of the Law on the Protection of Competition (“Competition Act”). Within this scope, the TCA re-evaluated (...)

The EU Court of Justice clarifies exhaustion of trademark principles and broadens the interpretation of economic links between trademark owners (Schweppes / Red Paralela)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 20 December 2017, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“ECJ”) handed down its judgment in Case C-291/16 Schweppes v Red Paralela and Others. The ECJ held that the owner of a trademark may not oppose the parallel importation of goods bearing an identical trademark but originating in (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority clears a dual pricing system (Pfizer / Cofares)
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
On 19 January 2017 the Spanish Competition Authority (SCA) issued a decision clearing PFIZER of antitrust charges and blessing PFIZER’s dual pricing system (SCA Decision). In 2009, the SCA decided (First Decision) to close the antitrust investigation against COMPAÑÍA FARMACÉUTICA ESPAÑOLA, S.A. (...)

The Slovak Competition Authority publishes a working draft of its standpoint on vertical restraints outlining its views on vertical competition issues
Diwok Hermann Petsche (Baker McKenzie Vienna)
Introduction The Competition Authority of Slovakia ("SCA") published on 4 February 2015 a working draft of the Standpoint on Vertical Agreements ("Standpoint") and invited the relevant public to discuss the main ideas outlined in the Standpoint. The Standpoint has been published in the (...)

The EU Court of Justice answers a request for a preliminary ruling about use of trademarks to prevent the importation of spare parts (Honda)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 17 July 2014, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“ECJ”) answered a request for a preliminary ruling from a Greek Court (Monomeles Protodikeio Athinon) inquiring as to whether the use by Honda Giken Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha (“Honda”) of its trademarks to prevent the importation of Honda (...)

The Danish Public Prosecutor settles charges on a violation of cartel law by imposing of resale price maintenance, prevention of parallel imports and passive sales (Witt Hvidevarer)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Press Release published on the official website of the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority. Denmark: ”Distributor of white goods pays fine in settlement for resale price maintenance and prevention of parallel imports and passive sales”* On 10 July, 2014, the company Witt Hvidevarer (a (...)

The Athens Administrative Court of Appeals totally annuls a fine imposed by the Hellenic Competition Commission based on mitigating factors (Unilever Hellas)
Prentoulis Gerakini Law Partnership (Athens)
On June 2014, the Athens Administrative Court of Appeals issued decision number 3807/2014 annulling a fine imposed by the Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) on Unilever Hellas for engaging in conduct to restrict parallel imports. Brief History In short, the HCC, in the context of an ex (...)

The EU Commission issues a statement on opening of investigation into pay-TV services (Sky / Canal+)
Blackstone Chambers (London)
Murphy and pay-TV: an update* Back in November I wrote about a Financial Times report that the European Commission was about to commence an antitrust investigation into pay-TV services. That investigation was formally announced last Monday, in a statement by Joaquín Almunia, Commission VP for (...)

The EU Commission initiates a formal investigation into potentially anti-competitive restrictions in pay-TV licensing arrangements
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 (...)

The Swiss Federal Administrative Court upholds fines imposed by the Competition Authority to a toothpaste manufacturer and licensor and its distributor and licensee for prohibiting parallel imports from Austria to Switzerland (Gaba International)
Bourgeois Avocats (Lausanne)
Background and Court decision Back in 2009, the Swiss Competition Commission (COMCO) hit Gaba International AG – an undertaking part of the Colgate-Palmolive Group and manufacturer of the toothpaste brands Elmex and Meridol – with a CHF 4.8 mio (about EUR 3.9 mio) fine for restricting passive (...)

The Lithuanian Competition Council closes an investigation and accepts remedies on vertical restraints implemented by several pharmaceutical undertakings and gives a recommendation to the Ministry of Health on ways to promote parallel imports of pharmaceuticals
Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition (Munich)
On 21 July 2011 the Competition Council terminated the investigation on compliance of actions of several pharmaceutical undertakings with Article 5 of the Law on Competition and Article 101 TFEU by accepting commitments (Article 30(2) point 2 [now Article 28(3) point 2] of the Law on (...)

The Danish Competition Appeals Tribunal confirms decision concerning refusal of supply and restrictions to parallel trade within the railway engine spare part sector (Deutz)
DLA Piper (Copenhagen)
On 9 December 2013, Danish Competition Appeals Tribunal (“DCAT”) confirmed the decision of the Danish Competition Council (“DCC”) of 12 June 2013, in which the German manufacture of industrial engines Deutz AG (“Deutz”) and their exclusive dealer in Scandinavia, Diesel Motor Nordic A/S (“Diesel Motor (...)

Dominance

The Danish Maritime and Commercial High Court confirms the Competition Authority’s decision stating that a Swedish engine manufacturer abused its dominant position (Deutz / Diesel Motor Nordic)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Danish Maritime and Commercial High Court: Deutz and Diesel Motor Nordic infringed competition legislation by preventing the supply of spare parts for the IC3-trains* On 11 January 2021, the Maritime and Commercial High Court has confirmed that Deutz abused its dominant position by refusing to (...)

The Danish Maritime and Commercial High Court confirms a decision of the Competition Authority finding that a German internal combustion engine manufacturer had both abused its dominant position and entered into an anti-competitive agreement with its Danish dealer (Deutz / Diesel Motor Nordic)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 11 January 2021, the Danish Maritime and Commercial High Court (“MCC”) confirmed a decision of the Danish Competition Council (“DCC”) finding that the German internal combustion engine manufacturer Deutz had both abused its dominant position and entered into an anti-competitive agreement with (...)

The Danish Maritime and Commercial High Court upholds the Competition Authority’s decision finding an abuse of dominance and an anti-competitive agreement between a German internal combustion engine manufacturer and its national distributor in the railway sector (Deutz / Diesel Motor Nordic)
Bird & Bird (Copenhagen)
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Bird & Bird (Copenhagen)
The case centred around a consortium that was handling the renovation of the engines of the IC3 trains of the Danish State Railways. A member of the consortium, Fleco ApS (Fleco), was in several ways restricted from buying spare parts to be used in the renovation of the train engines. The (...)

The Cypriot Competition Authority fines detergent seller €3.3M for abuse of dominance and obstruction of parallel imports of its products by competitors (Κ.A.C. Constantinides Trading / GPM-Henkel)
Commission for the Protection of Competition of the Republic of Cyprus (Nicosia)
The Commission for the Protection of Competition has imposed on Henkel AG & Co. KGaA, jointly and severally with GPM-Henkel Ltd, a total administrative fine amounting to €3.302.000 (three million, three hundred and two thousand euro) for infringement of Section 6(1)(b) of the Law and the (...)

The Danish Maritime and Commercial Court finds a medicine distributor guilty of abusing its dominant position (CD Pharma)
Bird & Bird (Copenhagen)
On 3 March 2020, the Danish Maritime and Commercial Court found a medicine distributor, CD Pharma AB, guilty of having abused its dominant position back in 2014. Due to its dominant position, the undertaking in question had a special responsibility not to harm competition – a responsibility that (...)

The Czech Republic Supreme Court confirms that invoking trademark rights to prevent parallel imports can be an abuse of dominant position (Fiskars / Mountfield)
Skils (Prague)
On 29 May 2019, the Supreme Court (SC) partially granted an extraordinary appealed lodged by Mountfield against the previous judgment of the High Court in Prague of 23 May 2017 (Ref.No. 3 Cmo 132/2016) in a dispute with Fiskars concerning an alleged violation of Firskars’ rights to trademarks (...)

The Hellenic Competition Authority fines a pharmaceutical company for abuse of dominance in the market of migraine medicines (GlaxoSmithKline)
Hellenic Competition Authority (Athens)
Decision concerning GLAXOSMITHKLINE SA and GLAXOSMITHKLINE plc’s supply policy of medicinal products LAMICTAL, IMIGRAN and SEREVENT in the Greek market, following the partial referral of the case back to the Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) by the Athens Administrative Court of Appeals and (...)

The Hellenic Competition Authority fines a pharmaceutical company for reducing supplies of medicines to wholesalers (GlaxoSmithKline)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 11 July 2018, the Hellenic Competition Commission (“HCC”) adopted a decision (the “Decision”) fining Glaxosmithkline (“GSK”) a total of €4.1 million for abusing its dominant position in relation to two pharmaceutical products: Imigran (an anti-migraine product) and Lamictal (an anticonvulsant). (...)

The Cypriot Competition Authority sends a statement of objections to a chemical and consumer goods company suspected to have abused of its dominance (Henkel)
Commission for the Protection of Competition of the Republic of Cyprus (Nicosia)
The Commission for the Protection of Competition announces that it has notified Statements of Objections to Henkel AG & Co KGaA and its subsidiary GPM Henkel Ltd jointly and severally regarding a prima facie infringement of Section 6(1)(b) of the Protection of Competition Laws of 2008 and (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority closes proceedings through a commitments decision against a tonic water company in a case related to restrictions of parallel trade (Schweppes)
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
The NMCC has closed with commitments an investigation against Schweppes, S.A. related to restrictions of parallel trade. The Coca-Cola group and Orangina Schweppes Holding B.V. (OSHBV) share the ownership of the Schweppes trademark in the EU. Coca-Cola owns the Schweppes trademark in the UK (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a supplier of rolled zinc for abuse of dominance (Umicore)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence fines UMICORE, one of the global leaders in zinc, €69 million for abuse of dominant position towards its competitors by practicing during 9 years a trade policy aiming at constraining its distributors to supply themselves exclusively from the company.* In brief (...)

The Bulgarian Competition Authority rules on parallel trade of pharmaceutical products and their limitations (Sopharma)
Tsvetkova Bebov Komarevski (Sofia)
Restrictions of Parallel Trade in Pharmaceuticals – Carte Blanche from the Bulgarian Competition Authority?* The Bulgarian Competition Protection Commission (“CPC” or “Commission”) has recently issued an important decision regarding the parallel trade of pharmaceuticals and the possibilities for (...)

The Danish Competition and Consumer Authority reports a German engine manufacturer and its local distributor for preventing the supply of spare parts for IC3-trains (Deutz)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
The Danish Competition and Consumer Authority reports the German engine manufacturer Deutz AG and the company’s distributor in Denmark to the police* Following a ruling from the Danish Competition Appeals Tribunal, The Danish Competition and Consumer Authority reports the German engine (...)

Regulatory

The French Competition Authority issues an opinion following its sector inquiry on the distribution of medicinal products
French Competition Authority (Paris)
After gathering market players’ insight, and having carried out an in-depth analysis of how the sector operates, the Autorité de la concurrence publishes its opinion.* It calls for the stimulation of competition throughout the distribution chain, and in particular supports the supervised (...)

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