Kevin Coates advises clients on critical antitrust matters drawing on his extensive public sector experience in the Directorate-General for Competition of the European Commission (“DG COMP”), most recently as Head of a Cartel Unit.
His practice has a particular focus on advising companies in the electronics, technology, software and e-commerce sectors.
Mr. Coates advises on all aspects of EU, UK and international competition law, including merger control, compliance, cartels and leniency, and abuse of dominance.
Mr. Coates served as Head of a Cartel Unit at the Directorate-General for Competition (“DG Comp”) at the European Commission between 2012 and 2016. Prior to this, he held several positions within DG Comp, over nearly 20 years in total, including advising the Director General of DG Comp on policy and communications issues, and overseeing competition cases in the telecoms and media sectors. While working for the Director General he was one of the team that produced the Guidance on Enforcement Priorities under Article 102.
He was also a visiting research fellow at NYU School of Law in 2009-2010.
Prior to joining DG Comp, he served as in-house Counsel at AOL Europe where he was responsible for antitrust and regulatory issues for AOL subsidiary companies in the UK, Germany, France and the Netherlands.
Mr. Coates is the author of “Competition Law and Regulation of Technology Markets” published by Oxford University Press in 2011.
Introduction In its preliminary ruling of 14 January 2021, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) clarified that the duration of an infringement in the case of bid rigging ends once the essential characteristics of the public tender are determined – which in practice likely means at the signing date of the contract … Continue Reading
On 16 July 2020, the European Commission (“Commission”) announced that it has launched an antitrust sector inquiry into “consumer-related products and services that are connected to a network and can be controlled at a distance, for example via a voice assistant or mobile device.” Commission Executive Vice President and Competition Commissioner Vestager said that “[t]he … Continue Reading
With the assistance of Covington, Unilever submitted the attached paper to the European Commission and a number of National Competition Authorities. It suggests a possible framework for the application of EU competition law to sustainability collaborations between competitors. The paper reflects insights from experts across Unilever and puts forward examples of existing or possible co-operations, … Continue Reading
After her confirmation hearing in front of the European Parliament on Tuesday 8 October, Magrethe Vestager looks certain to remain as Competition Commissioner for a second term and to combine that with a broader responsibility for digital policy development. Both the second term and the combination of the competition portfolio with a policy brief are … Continue Reading
On 10 September 2019, Margrethe Vestager was proposed as the European Commissioner for Competition, a post which she has held since November 2014. The appointment is still subject to the confirmation of the European Parliament. Vestager has also been given the role of Executive Vice President, with the mandate of making “Europe Fit for the … Continue Reading
On 21 January 2019, the UK government published its draft statutory instrument on State aid, outlining the changes to the UK State aid regime in the event of a no deal Brexit. Its publication comes at critical moment for the UK as it considers the potential options for leaving the European Union: (i) leave with a … Continue Reading
Potentially significant changes are just around the corner for the UK competition system, as the country prepares to take the final step of exiting the European Union. In this regard, the UK has three potential options: (i) leave with a deal; (ii) leave without a deal; or (iii) postpone the date of leaving. Should the … Continue Reading
In November 2018, following an in-depth Phase 2 investigation, the European Commission (“Commission”) unconditionally approved the acquisition of Tele2 NL by T-Mobile NL, respectively the fourth and third largest players in the Dutch retail mobile telecoms market. The merged entity remains the third largest player in this market after KPN and VodafoneZiggo. This transaction is the first “four-to-three” … Continue Reading
On 4 November 2018, the UK government and the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) issued a press release confirming that they will examine the practices of retailers that target online consumers and charge them different prices for the same product through personalised pricing. Their research will cover a range of products sold online “such as … Continue Reading
The UK Government published its highly-anticipated technical guidance on merger review and anti-competitive activity on 13 September 2018 which will apply in the case of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit (the ‘Guidance’). Although brief, it provides market players with some form of practical advice and insights on what to expect, how cases are likely to be divided … Continue Reading
The Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) has published its third Annual Competition Report which focusses on its proposals for promoting competition and innovation, particularly with respect to the impact of FinTech on UK financial services. It also addresses the FCA’s ongoing role in supporting the UK Government prepare for Brexit, and uphold an orderly transition as … Continue Reading
On 23 August 2018, the UK government published a notice, committing the UK to a continued application of state aid rules even in the event of no deal being agreed with the EU on the UK’s withdrawal. The notice explains how EU state aid rules would be transposed into UK domestic legislation. The Competition and … Continue Reading
Compliance, and in particular competition compliance, remains at the top of in-house counsel’s agenda. In particular, compliance is fundamental to reducing competition law infringements – “prevention is better than cure” – but in-house counsel often face difficulties in getting the appropriate level of support and budget for effective competition law compliance. We have recently published … Continue Reading
The UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has just released a 75-page Green Paper on Modernising Consumer Markets, setting out the Government’s main priorities for the digital economy in a post-Brexit Britain. The Green Paper reflects on the current state of consumer markets and regulation, and lays down the key challenges and … Continue Reading
The European Commission published its highly anticipated Communication Setting out the EU approach to Standard Essential Patents at the end of 2017, as part of a package to protect Europe’s know-how and innovation leadership (see Commission Press Release Intellectual property: Protecting Europe’s know-how and innovation leadership). The first section proposes concrete measures to improve the … Continue Reading
On 22 November, Johan Ysewyn and Maria Jaspers (DG COMP) presented the highlights of recent EU cartel enforcement in their annual dual-presentation at the Advanced EU Competition Law Conference in Brussels. They covered their traditional three pillars of enforcement, policy and court review.… Continue Reading
On 20 November, Covington hosted its webinar looking at developments in Net Neutrality and Zero-rating from both a US and a European perspective. Our presenters included ex-FCC Bureau Chief, Partner Matt DelNero from our DC office, and ex-DG Competition Head of Unit, Partner Kevin Coates and Senior Associate Siobhan Kahmann from our Brussels office. The … Continue Reading
The UK’s competition regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), has published a 349 page Final Report (combined with 5 Background Papers and a glossary) on its Market Study into what it refers to as Digital Comparison Tools (DCTs) – a term which includes price comparison websites, best buy tables, and other more automated services … Continue Reading
On 14 September, the Court of Justice of the European Union provided detailed guidance on the concept of excessive pricing under Article 102 TFEU, in response to questions posed by the Latvian Supreme Court. In Case C-177/16, the Latvian Supreme Court referred a number of questions to the Court of Justice of the European Union … Continue Reading
On 25 May 2016, the European Commission (“Commission”) unveiled a package of measures in the context of its Digital Single Market (“DSM”) Strategy for the European Union (“EU”) that included four legislative proposals designed to boost e-commerce in the EU by tackling unjustified geo-blocking, cross-border parcel delivery, consumer protection and EU audiovisual rules. The package … Continue Reading
In the context of its Digital Single Market (“DSM”) Strategy for the European Union (“EU”), the European Commission (“Commission”) published a Communication on Online Platforms and the Digital Single Market – Opportunities and Challenges for Europe (the “Communication”) on 25 May 2016. The Communication sets out the Commission’s conclusions and proposals based on the Commission’s Consultation on the regulatory … Continue Reading
In the context of its Digital Single Market (“DSM”) Strategy for the European Union (“EU”), the European Commission (“Commission”) published a proposal for an updated Audiovisual Media Services Directive (“AVMSD” or the “Directive”) on 25 May 2016 (the “Proposal”). In its Communication on the DSM Strategy, the Commission indicated it would review the AVMSD “with a focus on its … Continue Reading