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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–

The 13 July 2016 saw the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announce that it had sent a questionnaire to a large sample of hotels throughout the UK. As part of a joint monitoring project with the European Commission, this project has also been launched by several competition agencies in the EU. The purpose of the project is to study how changes to hotel room pricing policies and a variety of other investigations have affected the online hotel booking sector. In –Read More–

Car rental sales in the United Kingdom amount to an estimated £1.2 billion industry. However attempting to rent a car normally means surfing through various price comparison websites in search of a easily understandable and affordable deal with no hidden charges only to be surprised at the last minute by an unexpected but unavoidable charge. In a crackdown on price comparison websites who are often found to blur the real cost of renting a car, the UK’s Competition and Market –Read More–

On 20th June 2016, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) released an open-letter offering advice to public authorities to help spot anti-competitive activity during a tender process. This is known as bid-rigging. This open letter is primarily designed to help purchasers detect bid-rigging and to avoid becoming a victim of it. The most common types of bid-rigging are: bid rotation, where companies agree to take turns in having an attractive bid, ensuring they all have an agreed share of –Read More–

What you need to Know? Despite the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, companies doing business in the UK can still continue to trade with the European Union in exactly the same way as they have done in the past. The UK is still a member of the EU and until it negotiates an exit deal or the two year period for the re-negotiation for such a deal expires the UK remains a full member of the European Union –Read More–

On the 25th May 2016, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) issued a statement of objections to five of Britain’s most prestigious modelling agencies alleging an infringement of Chapter I of the Competition Act 1998 and/or Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (“TFEU”). The CMA’s investigation, which was launched back in March 2014, has revealed that the five prominent agencies may have exchanged sensitive and confidential competitive information and colluded to fix prices –Read More–

As cloud storage has widely spread, there have been growing concerns from the UK authorities about whether consumer rights are effectively protected. New guidelines for consumers and a new checklist for industry bring fresh obligations to providers, who should follow the new developments closely. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recently launched a review of compliance with consumer law in the cloud storage industry. In this context, it is critical for companies offering cloud storage services to keep abreast of –Read More–

Britons are due to go to the polls to vote in a referendum on 23rd June 2016 to decide whether the UK should remain a member of the EU, or exit (a so called “Brexit”). As many readers will be aware, there is no certain answer on what effect, whether positive or negative, Brexit would have on the UK economy or individual sectors of it. Below, we summarise a few key considerations when considering the effect of Brexit on the –Read More–

On 23 May 2016, the Chancery Division of the UK High Court of Justice handed down judgment in the case Iiyama Benelux BV and others v Schott AG and others [2016] (“the Iiyama case”) and held that claims for cartel damages arising from purchases of goods from outside the EU may not succeed where there is insufficient nexus to affect trade and competition within the EU. This decision marks the continuing, and indeed increasing, difficulty claimants face in bringing claims –Read More–

On 25 May 2016, and following an in-depth sector inquiry and consultation period, the European Commission (“EC”) published proposals for a set of new e-Commerce rules. The EC believes that this three-pronged strategy will benefit consumers and businesses alike by providing facilitated online buying and selling, increasing consumer protection through enforcement measures, and providing legal certainty for businesses. Additionally, the new rules are anticipated to enhance the functioning of Digital Single Market which, according to the EC, has the potential –Read More–

On 21 April 2016, the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) published an open letter to estate agents in the UK stressing the importance of making independent commercial decisions and warning them against unlawful collaboration in breach of competition law. It was brought to the CMA’s attention that various estate agents were entering into collective decisions to market properties solely on the OnTheMarket Portal and to remove themselves from all other competing portals, including Rightmove and Zoopla. The CMA raises concerns –Read More–

On 26 April 2016, the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) confirmed, following settlement, that it will issue a formal infringement decision to bathroom fittings manufacturer Ultra Finishing Limited (“Ultra”) following investigations opened back in August 2014 into suspected vertical price restraints in place between suppliers and resellers. In our previous update on this issue, we reported that the CMA had, on 28 January 2016, disclosed provisional findings of anti-competitive behaviour in a Statements of Objections. In response, Ultra stated that –Read More–

On 22 April 2016, the European Commission (“EC”) invited industry comment on the commitments proposed by Paramount Pictures International Limited (“Paramount”) in response to concerns raised by the EC. The EC’s concerns were that many of its contractual clauses in licensing agreements with Sky UK Limited (“Sky”) concerning cross-border access to pay-TV content may contravene Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (“TFEU”). The EC published a Statement of Objections on 27 July 2015 which highlights –Read More–

This case, being already the third since the new CAT Rules came into force on the 1 October 2015, is evidence that the new fast track procedure has been successful in encouraging claims against anti-competitive behaviour and providing smaller businesses with cheaper and quicker opportunities for access to justice. On 12 April 2016, the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal (“CAT”) listed a third case under its “fast-track” competition litigation procedure. As we previously reported, the procedure was designed to provide primarily small –Read More–

Since 15 February 2016, all EU retailers who sell online should have complied with the rules of the EU’s new online dispute resolution (“ODR”) platform. Compliance is mandatory for all retailers — from small independent shops with online stores to multinational retailers. What is the ODR platform? The ODR platform is a website, administered by the EU, to serve as a portal for handling complaints between consumers and retailers relating to provided goods or services. Once a consumer submits a –Read More–