Bulletin
Latest Special issue: Privacy and antitrust

Unilateral Practices

The Italian Competition Authority fines a social network 10 Million euros for unfair commercial practices using its subscribers data for commercial purposes (Facebook)
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
Facebook fined 10 million Euros by the ICA for unfair commercial practices for using its subscribers’ data for commercial purposes On 29 November 2018 the Italian Competition Authority (ICA), closed the investigation opened last April for alleged violations of the Consumer Code by Facebook (...)

The EU Commission looks into an online platform’s use of online sales data (Amazon)
International Center for Law & Economics (Portland)
The Amazon investigation and Europe’s "Big Tech" Crusade* The dust has barely settled on the European Commission’s record-breaking €4.3 Billion Google Android fine, but already the European Commission is gearing up for its next high-profile case. Last month, Margrethe Vestager dropped a (...)

The EU Commission announces antitrust probe into data use (Amazon)
Simmons & Simmons (London)
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Simmons & Simmons (London)
The European Commission (the EU’s antitrust regulator) has announced that it is investigating Amazon’s use of third-party data as part of a wider probe into its business practices. Many retailers use Amazon as a platform to sell their products and, in doing so, provide Amazon with sales data. At (...)

The Indian Competition Authority clears dominant mobile messaging service from abuse of dominance allegations (Fight for Transparency Society / WhatsApp)
Vaish Associates, Advocates (New Delhi)
CCI closes allegation of abuse of dominance against WhatsApp* CCI vide its recent order dated June 01, 2017 has closed an allegation of abuse of dominant position against popular message service WhatsApp. The complaint against WhatsApp was filed by an individual Vinod Kumar Gupta on behalf of (...)

The Italian Competition Authority launches an inquiry into big data
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 Italian Competition Authority launches an investigation into competition law breaches and personal data (WhatsApp)
White & Case (Milan)
Misleading Terms & Conditions and Unfair Contract Terms: The Italian Competition Authority Opens Two Investigations against WhatsApp Inc.* On 28 October 2016, the Italian Competition Authority (the “Authority”) opened two investigations against WhatsApp Inc. for alleged unfair commercial (...)

The German Competition Authority initiates proceedings against a social network company regarding potential abuse of dominance (Facebook)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
The German Federal Cartel Office (the FCO) has announced that it has initiated proceedings against Facebook for the company’s alleged abuse of its dominant position in a market for social networks. The FCO appears to be taking the position that, as a firm with a possibly dominant position, (...)

The Chinese Ministry of Information and Industry Technology promulgates the provisions on regulating the market order of internet information services
University of Melbourne
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China Competition Bulletin (Beijing)
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Institute of American Studies (Beijing)
MIIT published the Provisions on Regulating the Market Order of Internet Information Services (Internet Information Service Rules) on 31 December 2011, which will take effect on 15 March 2012. MIIT had invited comments on two earlier drafts of the Internet Information Service Rules in January (...)

A Chinese District Court rules for the plaintiff in unfair competition case relating the antivirus software industry (Tencent/Qihoo)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Hong Kong)
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Norton Rose Fulbright (Brussels)
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China Construction Bank Europe (Luxembourg)
This article is the winner of readers business awards of the 2012 Antitrust Writing Awards. Click here to learn more on the Antitrust Writing Awards. On April 26, 2011, Beijing Chaoyang District Court (the “Court”) ruled against Qihoo, the provider of 360 (a widely used antivirus software) and (...)

Mergers

The EU Commission fines a social network company for providing misleading information during the merger investigation (Facebook / WhatsApp)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission fines Facebook €110 million for providing misleading information about WhatsApp takeover* The European Commission has fined Facebook €110 million for providing incorrect or misleading information during the Commission’s 2014 investigation under the EU Merger Regulation of (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger, subject to remedies, on the professional social networks market (LinkedIn / Microsoft)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft, subject to conditions* The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft. The decision is conditional on compliance with a series of commitments aimed at (...)

The EU Commission clears the acquisition of a leading global professional social networking platform company by a leading global software company, subject to 5-year remedies that include monitoring and prevention of tying (Microsoft / LinkedIn)
European Commission - Legal Service (Brussels)
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DG COMP (Brussels)
Microsoft/LinkedIn: Big data and conglomerate effects in tech markets* In a nutshell: The Microsoft/LinkedIn case is an important development in the Commission’s assessment of mergers involving data-related issues in tech industries. It provides further guidance on the framework for the (...)

The EU Commission invites third party comments on proposed acquisition in information technology sector (Microsoft / Linkedin)
Fieldfisher (London)
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Fieldfisher (London)
Microsoft/LinkedIn: could Big Data be a Big Problem?*On 14 October 2016, Microsoft’s $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn was notified to the European Commission for merger clearance. The EU regulator’s initial deadline to decide whether to approve the deal or refer it for in-depth (...)

The EU Commission unconditionally clears an acquisition in the social media sector (Facebook / WhatsApp)
Clifford Chance (Madrid)
Background information On 3 October 2014 the European Commission ("Commission") unconditionally clears in first phase the €14 billion acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook (the “Transaction”). The Transaction was already conditionally authorized in April 2014 by the US Federal Trade Commission (...)

The EU Commission unconditionally approves in first phase an acquisition in the digital sector (Facebook / WhatsApp)
DG COMP (Brussels)
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DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - Legal Service (Brussels)
"What’s Up with Merger Control in the Digital Sector? Lessons from the Facebook/WhatsApp EU merger case"* The Facebook/WhatsApp decision provides an insight into how the Commission tackles novel issues in the application of merger control rules to the digital sector, in particular to free (...)

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Chinese MOFCOM sign a memorandum of understanding allowing the exchange of information between the agencies on mergers that affect both the Australian and Chinese markets
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Australia and China to increase cooperation on mergers regulation* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China (MOFCOM) have signed a memorandum of understanding. ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said the agreement paves the way for (...)

The EU Commission clears an acquisition in the online advertising market (Google / DoubleClick)
J G Associates (Brussels)
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DG COMP (Brussels)
"Mergers: main developments between 1 January and 30 April 2008"* On 11 March the Commission decided to clear the proposed acquisition of the online advertising technology company DoubleClick by Google, both based in the US. Google operates an internet search engine that offers search (...)

The EU Commission clears a merger in the online advertising market applying for the first time the non horizontal merger guidelines (Google / DoubleClick)
DG COMP (Brussels)
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DG COMP (Brussels)
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European Commission - DG CNECT (Brussels)
"Google/DoubleClick: The first test for the Commission’s nonhorizontal merger guidelines"* I. Introduction The Google/DoubleClickmerger generated considerable interest as it concerned the ubiquitous search engine that most Europeans use in their daily lives. From a competition policy (...)

Procedures

The EU General Court relies on secretly-recorded telephone conversations obtained in the context of unannounced inspections (North Sea Shrimps)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
Under Article 2 of Regulation 1/2003, the Commission has the burden of proving an infringement of Article 101 TFEU. In the present case, as evidence of the cartel infringement, the Commission relied on secretly-recorded telephone conversations, and the transcripts or notes made thereof, which (...)

The European Court of Human Rights rules that French dawn raids breached fundamental rights (Vinci / GTM)
JPTT & Partners (Paris)
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White & Case (Brussels)
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White & Case (Brussels)
The European Court of Human Rights (the “ECtHR”) has ruled in the Vinci case that the circumstances surrounding the electronic removal of documents and computer files during a dawn raid violated two companies’ privacy rights enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights (“ECHR”) . The case (...)

The European Court of Human Rights rules that dawn raids carried out at the premises of two companies by the French Department for Competition, Consumer Protection and Fraud violates both the rights of defense and the right to privacy (Vinci / GTM)
Jones Day (Brussels)
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Jones Day (Brussels)
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Jones Day (Paris)
The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) recently ruled that dawn raids carried out at the premises of two French construction companies by the DGCCRF (French Department for Competition, Consumer Protection and Fraud) violated both the rights of defense and the right to privacy, due to (...)

The US District Court of New Jersey rules that the Federal Trade Commission can pursue claims against a company for failure to have adequate data security (Wyndham Worldwide)
Gibson Dunn (Washington)
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O’Melveny & Myers (Washington DC)
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O’Melveny & Myers (Washington DC)
Issue In a decision that is likely to result in increased federal enforcement actions against companies that suffer data security breaches but are found not to have taken sufficient steps to protect the data, a federal court on April 7, 2014, upheld the authority of the Federal Trade (...)

Regulatory

The OECD holds a roundtable on e-commerce
OECD - Competition Division
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 German Competition Authority publishes a paper on ’Big Data and Competition’ as Big Data and digital markets remain in the focus of EU competition authorities
Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
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Hogan Lovells (Munich)
I. Introduction On 6 October, the German Federal Cartel Office (’FCO’) launched its new series of papers on ’Competition and Consumer Protection in the Digital Economy’. The first paper deals with ’Big Data and Competition’. The same day, a ’real-life example’ of competition enforcement in Big Data (...)

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy proposes establishing a Digital Agency for the regulation of digital markets
Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
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Hogan Lovells (Munich)
Germany suggests ramping up regulation of digital platforms by establishing Digital Agency with robust antitrust mandate* Will Germany establish a “Digital Agency” to monitor compliance with competition law rules in digital markets? Will a German “Digital Antitrust Enforcer” become a role model (...)

The German Competition Authority publishes a discussion paper on internet platforms in merger control, contractual restrictions of competition and abuse of dominance scenarios
Heinz & Zagrosek (Köln)
The FCO publishes discussion paper on internet platform markets* On October 1, 2015, the FCO published a paper entitled “Digital economy – internet platforms between competition law, privacy and consumer protection” on the occasion of a conference of the working group competition law (consisting (...)

The US FTC releases draft strategic plan for 2014-2018
Jones Day (Washington DC)
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Jones Day (Washington DC)
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Jones Day (Washington DC)
The Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") has released a draft Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2014-2018 (the "2014 Plan"). Despite the ambitious title, the 2014 Plan actually focuses on a small number of procedural issues. It provides no indication of the FTC’s likely substantive agenda or (...)

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