parliment flags

On 1 July 2016, the German Ministry for Economic Affairs published a draft bill for the 9th amendment of the German Act against Restraints of Competition (Gesetz gegen Wettbewerbsbeschränkungen – GWB). The draft bill addresses numerous topics which have been subject to intensive discussions in German competition policy and will bring material changes to German antitrust law. 1. Expanded system of sanctions and fines One of the main pillars of the 9th amendment of the GWB is the introduction of –Read More–

The City of London Law Society Competition Committee has just published its response to the CMA Consultation on “Mergers: Exception to the duty to refer in markets of insufficient importance”. The Committee argue for the adoption of a single de minimis threshold, the level of which should be set at least £15 million, substantially above the current lower threshold of £3 million. Please follow this link to read the full response. Robert Bell is a Partner and Head of EU & Competition –Read More–

One of the advantages of Brexit is that the UK will be free to agree its own trade deals with the rest of the world for the first time in nearly 50 years. However, until the UK formally leaves the European Union the EU Commission in Brussels has exclusive competence to negotiate trade deals on behalf of the European Union. So whilst the UK can commence trade talks, it is not allowed under its international treaty obligations with the other –Read More–

On January 12, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ), collectively the “Agencies” issued an update to the 1995 Antitrust Guidelines for the Licensing of Intellectual Property (IP) (the 2017 Guidelines and the 1995 Guidelines, respectively). The 1995 Guidelines set forth the Agencies’ analytical framework on how it assessed the antitrust ramifications of IP-related actions. The 2017 Guidelines incorporate changes, from the past twenty years, in regulations, antitrust jurisprudence, the Agencies’ –Read More–

On 2 February 2017, the EU Commission simultaneously launched three investigations into the e-commerce sector. What is significant about this latest development is that it shows that e-commerce is a clear priority area in antitrust enforcement, and that the Commission is willing to attack perceived anti-competitive practices head-on. The investigations focus on (1) video games, (2) hotel price discrimination and (3) consumer electronics manufacturing. The video games inquiry is directed at the largest PC game distribution platform, Steam, and its –Read More–

Reverse cross border mergers could become a popular device for UK companies seeking to maintain and preserve “passporting” or other EU rights. The mechanism of a reverse cross-border merger (in this context whereby a UK parent company merges with their continental European subsidiary) has not historically been permitted under English law. However the provisions of an EU directive implemented in the UK in 2007 changed that position giving UK company groups that option. The reverse cross border merger mechanism was designed –Read More–

On January 13, 2017, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ,” collectively the “U.S. Agencies”) issued an update to the 1995 Antitrust Enforcement Guidelines for International Operations (the “2017 Guidelines and the “1995 Guidelines,” respectively). The 1995 Guidelines set out for international businesses the U.S. Agencies’ international antitrust/competition law enforcement policy, including but not limited to how it cooperates with other antitrust/competition law authorities and how it utilizes its investigative –Read More–

In 2016, Carwow a new car portal, which introduces customers to dealers for the purchase of cars, complained to the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) that BMW UK was prohibiting its dealers from listing their new BMW and MINI cars on the portal. It asked the CMA to launch an investigation into whether this restriction was anti-competitive and breached EU or UK competition law. Online comparison tools can help promote competition in many markets and assist consumers to make informed –Read More–

The UK Supreme Court (the “Court”) in its most important and far reaching judgment to date decided that the UK Government has to seek the approval of the UK Parliament before issuing an Article 50 notice to begin the process of leaving the European Union. In its eagerly awaited judgment in the Miller case – R (on the application of Miller and another) (Respondents) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (Appellant) – the Court ruled on 24th January –Read More–

A Portuguese Court has asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to provide guidance on when “discriminatory pricing applied to equivalent transactions” amounts to an abuse of a dominant positon under Article 102 (c) TFEU. Is it enough that discriminatory pricing is proved on the facts or does the Court need to consider whether the effects of the discriminatory behaviour in question place the aggrieved party at a competitive disadvantage to make out the offence? The court also asked that –Read More–

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–

CONTACT US
SUBSCRIBE