Archives: Competition Law in Europe

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Concurrences Article – Leniency and Competition Law: An Overview of EU and National Case Law

More than 20 years after the adoption of the first European Commission Leniency Notice, the detection and sanctioning of cartels remains a key feature of the enforcement agenda of the European Commission and – the currently still 28 – European Union national competition authorities. Leniency programmes are a crucial tool in uncovering cartels, with a large … Continue Reading

Germany’s first veto against a foreign investment under new FDI rules

[Updated] On 1 August 2018, the German government was set to block a foreign investment in a German company under the new foreign direct investment (FDI) screening rules for the first time. However, the veto was not required as, on the same day, the Chinese investor withdrew from the deal. Companies involved in M&A activities … Continue Reading

Parental liability in EU cartel enforcement: has the presumption of decisive control become irrebuttable?

Does the General Court’s recent ruling in Goldman Sachs/European Commission provide new guidance on the parent liability of financial investors in cartel cases? Yes and no. Yes, because it shows what will not suffice to avoid parental liability. No, because it is silent as to whether in fact and if so how a financial investor … Continue Reading

The European Parliament publishes a study on financial technology and competition law

On 9 July 2018, the Economic Affairs Committee of the European Parliament (the “EP”) published a study identifying potential competition law concerns in the financial technology (“FinTech”) sector (the “Study”).… Continue Reading

European Commission – Annual Activity Report – DG Competition 2017

Introduction On 11 June 2018, the European Commission (“Commission”) published DG Competition’s 2017 Annual Activity Report (“Report”) to provide an overview of its pursuit of its competition policy objectives and enforcement of EU competition rules in 2017.  In its Report, the Commission indicates that it has continued to prioritise competition on the merits and that … Continue Reading

Is the heat on in the syndicated loans market? Spanish Competition Authority fines banks for price fixing on interest rate derivatives

On 13 February 2018, the Spanish Markets and Competition Commission (“CNMC”) fined four major Spanish banks €91 million for colluding to fix the price of interest-rate derivatives (“IRDs”) attached to syndicated loans above market price.  The decision is an additional indication that syndicated loans are increasingly coming under the scrutiny of competition authorities, after the … Continue Reading

Jumping the gun: the CMA’s approach to breaches of the standstill obligation

Introduction Gun-jumping has been in the spotlight this year both at the European level and in the UK. At the EU level, first there was DG Competition’s record fining of Altice of € 124.5m (here) and then the Court of Justice of the EU (“CJEU”) ruled on the scope of the EU law standstill obligation … Continue Reading

Jumping the gun: some clarification from the Court of Justice

Introduction In a recent blog post where we reflected on DG Competition fining Altice a record € 124.5m for gun-jumping, we already anticipated the Ernst & Young P/S v Konkurrenceradet judgment where, for the first time, the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) provides guidance on the scope of the standstill obligation under the … Continue Reading

Advanced Competition Law Conference – Joint Presentation on Cartel Enforcement with Covington’s Johan Ysewyn and DG Competition’s Maria Jaspers

On 15 May 2018, Johan Ysewyn and Maria Jaspers (DG COMP) presented on recent major developments in the area of EU cartel enforcement at the Advanced Competition Law Conference in London. Their annual dual-presentation covered the traditional three pillars of enforcement, policy and court review. The topics covered in this latest instalment included: A review … Continue Reading

Higher Fines for Gun Jumping in Mergers – The European Commission’s Continued Emphasis on Procedural Merger Compliance

Last month’s Commission decision to impose a fine of €124.5 million on Altice for gun jumping is a stark reminder of the need to establish processes to ensure against conduct that can be characterized by the merger control authorities as violating the “hold-separate” obligation of the EU Merger Regulation (“EUMR”). That obligation prohibits parties to … Continue Reading

Covington Artificial Intelligence Update: European Commission Publishes Communication on Artificial Intelligence for Europe

On April 25, 2018, the European Commission (EC) published its “Artificial Intelligence for Europe” communication (the Communication), in which it sets out a roadmap for its AI initiatives. Having acknowledged the crucial need for a boost of AI in the EU, the EC commits to supporting investment, (re)considering legislation and soft law initiatives, and coordinating … Continue Reading

The UK Government Seeks Views on the Regulation of Digital Markets for a Post-Brexit Great Britain

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

German Bundeskartellamt’s Decision against Online Sales Restrictions by ASICS Ultimately Confirmed

In its decision of 12 December 2017, the German Federal Supreme Court (Bundesgerichtshof – BGH) dismissed ASICS’ application to appeal the 2017 judgment of the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court (OLG) on alleged online sales restrictions.  The BGH confirmed that prohibiting the use of price comparison websites by retailers constitutes a hardcore restriction under EU competition … Continue Reading

The EU Commission Communication on SEPs: a workable resolution to patent wars in the EU, or more competition litigation battles ahead?

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

The UK’s CMA Consults on its Proposed Annual Plan 2018/19

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (the “CMA”) published its proposed “Annual Plan 2018 to 2019” for public consultation last month. Respondents have until January 14 2018, to respond as to whether they agree with the overall direction of the proposed Annual Plan, whether they believe there is anything more that the CMA should be … Continue Reading

Key Conclusions – Cartels: Lessons from Recent Investigations, Brussels Advanced Competition Law Conference

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

Covington’s Net Neutrality and Zero-Rating Webinar

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

Price comparison websites: The UK’s CMA weighs in on the competition law, data protection and consumer protection requirements

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

The European Commission Publishes its Final Report on the E-commerce Sector Inquiry

On 10 May 2017 the European Commission published its Final Report on the E-commerce Sector Inquiry (the “Report”).  The Commission’s E-commerce Sector Inquiry, launched on 6 May 6 2015 as part of the Digital Single Market Strategy, gathered evidence from nearly 1,900 companies connected with the online sale of consumer goods and digital content.  The … Continue Reading

ASICS’ ONLINE SALES RESTRICTIONS CONFIRMED AS ILLEGAL BY DUESSELDORF HIGHER REGIONAL COURT

On 5 April 2017, the Duesseldorf Higher Regional Court confirmed the August 2015 decision of the Federal Cartel Office finding that it is anti-competitive and therefore illegal to impose on distributors a general prohibition on the use of online price comparison portals. The Cartel Office had faulted Asics over imposing the following restrictions on its distributors: (1) a complete … Continue Reading

German Court sends online sales bans to ECJ

On 25 April, the German Higher Regional Court in Frankfurt filed a request for a preliminary ruling with the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) in a case that turns on the ability of branded goods manufacturers to protect the reputation of their brands by controlling online trade.… Continue Reading

German Monopolies Commission Publishes its Report on Digital Markets

Digital markets are currently the focus of much attention in the European Union (“EU”).  The European Commission recently unveiled its Digital Single Market Strategy, which incorporates DG COMP’s e-commerce sector inquiry. The issue of the regulation of digital markets, potentially beyond the application of competition law, is also being discussed at national level.  On 1 June 2015, … Continue Reading
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