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Prospects for an early post-Brexit trade deal between Britain and the US are remote, despite what British ministers may hope for and recent comments from the man being inaugurated as US president today. On this side of the Atlantic, Theresa May set out her vision of Brexit and the UK’s negotiating position in in her Brexit speech earlier this week. For the first time since the referendum last June, we now know what “Brexit means Brexit” actually means. Brexit means –Read More–

On 17 January 2017, the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, gave a historic speech regarding Brexit and the UK’s negotiating position. For the first time since the Brexit vote in June 2016, the UK Government has officially announced that the UK will not be seeking access to the Single Market or seeking to replicate any existing trade arrangement as those enjoyed by countries such as Norway, Switzerland or Turkey. Whilst the speech will be the subject of considerable media comment, –Read More–

On 12th December 2016 the Financial Conduct Authority (the “FCA”) launched a market study into the residential mortgage market to ascertain whether competition in that market is working as well as it could and to identify possible measures to improve competition to the the benefit of consumers. The market study is being conducted pursuant to the FCA’s regulatory powers under the Financial Services & Markets Act 2000 (“FSMA”). The launch of the market study follows the FCA’s Call for Inputs –Read More–

Compare and contrast the current excessive pricing debates occurring in the US with those in the UK. In both markets, pharmaceutical firms are being berated for double, triple and even quadruple digit rises in the prices of drugs, often after government price controls come to an end. In the US there is the news that a pinworm treatment has risen to the equivalent of 200 times the current UK price, after a cheap generic product was taken off the market –Read More–

On 12 December the European Commission imposed a total fine of 166 million euros against 3 rechargeable battery producers for infringing competition law in the distribution of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, the most common type of batteries used in mobile phones, tablets and laptops. The anti-competitive price-fixing agreement dates back to February 2004. For almost 4 years, the 3 Japanese companies agreed on temporary price increase between 2004 and 2007 over cobalt, a material used in the production of lithium-ion batteries, –Read More–

On 22 November 2016, the Competition Market Authority (CMA) announced the opening of an initial investigation into suspected breaches of competition law in relation to the supply of auction services in the UK. The CMA announced that this investigation will focus on both suspected anti-competitive agreements and the suspected abuse of dominance, specifically, suspected exclusionary and restrictive pricing practices including most favoured nations provisions in respect to online sales. Although the CMA did not name the companies under investigation, it –Read More–

Businesses that breach competition law can face serious financial and reputational consequences. Certain serious breaches of competition law may also put individuals at risk of criminal prosecution. In addition, the CMA may apply to Court for a director disqualification order against directors of a companies engaged in anti-competitive behaviour. For the first time, the CMA sought to use its power under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986. On 1st December 2016, Daniel Aston, managing director of the online poster supplier –Read More–

Should Parliament have a say over whether Britain could remain in the European Economic Area? Introduction The UK Government faces yet another challenge over its determination to take the UK out of the EU and the EEA Single Market without Parliamentary approval which could further complicate Brexit. The British people on 23rd June 2016 confirmed through the EU referendum result they wanted to leave the European Union. However the big question the EU referendum result did not address was what –Read More–

The UK Supreme Court on 18th November 2016 gave permission to the Lord Advocate of Scotland, on behalf of the Scottish Government , to intervene in the UK Government’s forthcoming appeal against the English High Court’s decision that the UK Government can only trigger Article 50 with the consent of the UK Parliament . The Welsh Government was also given permission to intervene as well. However the Scottish intervention is potentially significant to the Brexit process given its unique legislative –Read More–

On 19 October 2016, the Scottish Court of Session in the Renfrewshire Council case [ 2016 ] CSOH 150 CA 78/16 (Dem-Master Demolition Ltd V Renfrewshire Council as lead authority for Scotland Excel) confirmed that a contracting authority has no duty to allow a tendering party to correct errors after a tender deadline. The Court considered that equal treatment should take priority when handling tender errors, in accordance with obligations set out in the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2012 (2012/88). –Read More–

On 28 September 2016, the German government proposed legislation to amend the Act Against Restraints of Competition (GWB) for the ninth time. Presuming that it will pass the further steps required, the proposed amendment is going to expand the merger control for mergers and acquisitions of start-ups, particularly of internet companies. In the future, the turnover of the merged or acquired companies is no longer the only relevant aspect. As well as turnover, the size of the transaction is to –Read More–

On the 7th November 2016, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched a campaign to remind online sellers that agreeing and discussing price level with competitors is illegal and can result in serious penalties. In the context of Black Friday, Christmas and the January sales promotions, this was a salutary lesson. The CMA has warned online sellers against price fixing after finding evidence of collusion by sellers using internet marketplaces. On 12th August 2016, the CMA held that two –Read More–

A resounding judicial victory was scored in Italy this fall by Bryan Cave’s affiliated office (“SILS”) on behalf of the Volkswagen Group. The Supreme Court of Italy (“Corte di Cassazione”) rejected all claims brought against VW by a local car dealer (B Automobili) in a long-running, complex case involving an alleged “abuse of a dominant position” by VW. The plaintiff alleged the violation of Italian antitrust rules (specifically Section 3 of Law No. 287 of 1990) on the basis of –Read More–

On 19 October 2016, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued an important judgment concerning the German law on fixing prices of retail prescription drugs. In the case before the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf, the German Parkinson’s Disease Association teamed up with the Dutch mail-order pharmacy DocMorris to obtain better terms for German patients. In Germany there is a uniform retail price on medicinal products sold to patients in Germany, irrespective whether they are sold online –Read More–

The European Commission’s state aid decision against Apple and Ireland could have consequences for other multinational companies In a highly politically charged decision, the European Commission has decided that Ireland granted Apple illegal state aid amounting to €13 billion as a result of selective tax treatment. It is believed that the Commission is currently reviewing more than a thousand similar types of tax rulings, involving other EU member states and companies, as part of its ongoing investigation into their granting –Read More–

After what seemed like an eternity, but in reality has only been a few months, the Prime Minister announced on 2 October 2016 that Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union would be triggered in March 2017, starting a two year countdown to the UK leaving the EU. Alongside what has become the world’s most famous procedural announcement, the Prime Minister laid out her Government’s first stab at legislative direction, but stating that there would be a ‘Great –Read More–

On 9 August 2016, following their retail banking market investigation, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) concluded that large banks well established in the personal and small business retail market do not have to compete hard enough for customers with smaller and newer banks. To tackle this issue, and to enable customers to make more informed choices when deciding which bank to open an account with, the CMA has adopted several new requirements to which retail banks in the UK –Read More–

The recent Communication from the European Commission on cross-border e-commerce is likely to have a significant impact on online trading within the European market. The proposals are designed to break down artificial barriers created by online suppliers that restrict the freedom of choice for online buyers located in different EU member states. The final version of the proposals is expected next year with legislation coming into force in mid-2017. It is therefore advisable that online suppliers closely follow the debate –Read More–

On 1 July 2016, the UK High Court held in the case of The Software Incubator Limited -and- Computer Associates UK Limited that intangible software may qualify as “goods” for the purposes of the application of the Commercial Agency Regulations 1993 (“the Regulations”) (implementing Council Directive 86/653/EEC on the co-ordination of the laws of EU Member States relating to self-employed commercial agents). This decision marks a significant movement in the law. Previous case law had explicitly excluded software which was –Read More–

On 18 July 2016, Germany moved another step closer to enshrining a right for distributors in selective distribution systems to sell over online marketplaces. This is not sudden move by the German courts, in fact we have reported similar stories in May 2014 and September 2014. The current matter is a request from a German Court for a preliminary ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The court asked several questions relating to the interpretation of Article 101 of the –Read More–

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