parliment flags

Introduction The Competition Appeal Tribunal (“CAT”) handed down its judgment on 7 September 2018 in relation to an appeal by Ping Europe Limited (“Ping”) challenging the decision of the UK Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) to fine it £1.45 million for breach of the Chapter I prohibition of the Competition Act 1998 and Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) for a blanket ban on internet sales. The CAT dismissed Ping’s appeal on liability –Read More–

On 24th July 2018 the EU Commission passed a decision to enforce the competition rules in yet another case involving the e-commerce sector. This time it fined a number of leading consumer electronics groups including Denon & Marantz and Pioneer, over 111 million euros for a range of resale pricing and other competition law infringements. The level of fines were substantially reduced due to the companies ‘ cooperation with the Commission . The Commission’s e-commerce sector inquiry, the results of –Read More–

On 12th July 2018 Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)  announced it was extending its timetable in relation to a number of its ongoing investigations involving anti-competitive practices in the pharmaceutical sector. The delay is likely to be due to the recent adverse ruling before the Competition Appeal Tribunal in the Pfizer/Flynn cases. The CAT ruled that the CMA had adopted the wrong legal test for ascertaining whether the abuse of excessive and/or unfair pricing under Article 102 TFEU or Chapter –Read More–

The European Commission has been closely following the developments in e-commerce. As more and more goods and services are sold online, the Commission finds itself inevitably drawn into regulating the competition rules in this increasing important sector. On 22 March 2018, the Director General of Competition, Mr Laitenberger, set out the Commission’s views on the key challenges it faces in dealing with ecommerce and how it proposes to deal with them in the future. Geo-blocking and price monitoring software The –Read More–

It is settled law that the fact that a subsidiary has separate legal personality is not sufficient to exclude the possibility of its anti-competitive conduct being imputed to the parent company. The European Court of Justice (“CJEU“) has created a rebuttable presumption to the effect that a parent company holding substantially all of its subsidiary’s shares is presumed to control the latter’s decisions (CJEU, Oct. 25, 1983, case 107/82, AEG; CJEU, Sept. 10, 2009, case 97/08, Akzo Nobel; CJEU, Sept. 10, 2011, –Read More–

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the principal UK competition regulator, maintains a register of competition law advisory and warning letters it sends to businesses it believes could be breaching competition law. On 12 February 2018, the CMA announced that it had updated its competition law advisory and warning letters register. The subject of these letters and the sectors upon which they focus provide an interesting insight into the type of practices and the industries the CMA has in its –Read More–

The French Competition Authority (“FCA”) ended the year with two punitive decisions: in both cases, the parties were severely sanctioned for obstructionist behavior. In the first decision dated 20 December 2017, the FCA imposed a 25 million euro fine on pharmaceutical company Janssen-Cilag and its parent company Johnson & Johnson, for having prevented and then restricted the development of generic versions of its Durogesic analgesic (a medicine aimed at alleviating the pain of individuals, in particular children, suffering from cancer). –Read More–

In what is being hailed as landmark case in distribution law, the Court of Justice of the European Union (the ‘CJEU’) on 6 December 2017 gave a judgment confirming that luxury goods suppliers can ban sales through online marketplaces. The case brings some clarity to the law and may be greeted with a sigh of relief by luxury goods manufacturers. However, in reality, does it really change market practice? The case concerned the German luxury cosmetics brand Coty, and a –Read More–

On 27 October 2017, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced that it had launched investigations into several hotel booking websites on the grounds that they were potentially misleading consumers. Specifically, the CMA had concerns regarding: the manipulation of search results once a consumer had entered their hotel search criteria, particularly hotels who paid more commission to the website being ranked higher; creating false impressions as to room availability to rush consumer decision making; advertising misleading discounts that may –Read More–

The CMA ,the UK’s main competition regulator, launched an investigation on 26th September 2017 into home insurance price comparison website, compare the market .com, over its use of most favoured nation clauses (“MFN”) and whether their use constituted an infringement of the Chapter I prohibition of the Competition Act 1998 and/or Article 101 of the TFEU. This investigation follows the publication of a final report in the CMA’s market study into digital comparison tools. Over the last year the CMA –Read More–

French cosmetics company Caudalie had previously made headlines in a case decided on February 2nd 2016. In that case, Caudalie had applied for an injunction against an online marketplace to compel it to cease selling Caudalie products, but the Paris Court of Appeal had rejected the claim, thus limiting the possibility for suppliers using selective distribution networks to impose an outright ban on marketplace retailers carrying their products (see our May 2016 EU & Competition Law Update). On June 8th –Read More–

European and national competition regulator interest in hotel prices and price parity clauses continues. On 5 July 2017, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published a one page memo, intended to educate hotels on how they could agree to offer lower prices between different online travel agents. Before the regulatory intervention of the last few years, hotels would often have to offer their best price contractually to one of the larger or dominant online travel agents. This in turn –Read More–

In order to protect brand image, the quality of pre-sale service, and the pricing structure of their products, manufacturers undertake a variety of measures to sell products to their retailers. Thus, clauses which prohibit retailers from using price comparison engines within selective distributions systems have enjoyed a certain amount of popularity in recent years. At least for manufacturers in Germany, this way of business is now blocked. On 5 June 2017, the Higher Regional Court Düsseldorf confirmed a decision by –Read More–

On 30 May 2017, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced that it was consulting on proposals from an online bidding platform to change its terms, following concerns from the CMA that the platform was engaged in anti-competitive practices. The CMA had accused ATG Media, the largest provider of live online bidding platforms in the UK, of carrying out practices which harmed its rivals in the online bidding platform market. These platforms are used by auction houses to allow people –Read More–

On the 10 May 2017, the EU Commission announced the end of their e-commerce sector inquiry. What is notable about the end of this inquiry is the lack of policy or new legislation following it. The Commission have ruled out any amendment of the Vertical Agreements Block Exemption, due for renewal in 2022. However, on an ominous note for some, the Commission have stated that following the conclusion of the inquiry, there will be further antitrust investigations into certain companies. –Read More–

We have followed over the last years Europe grappling with the issue of most favoured nation clauses and hotel booking. Our last update regarded a joint monitoring project between the CMA and the European Commission, designed to monitor hotel prices and commission rates, following a series of interventions by the regulators: http://eu-competitionlaw.com/regulatory-scrutiny-of-online-hotel-booking-continues/ On 6 April 2017, the European Commission declared that it had ended this stage of the monitoring and published its results. The Commission (and the 10 national competition –Read More–

We are used to companies being fined for cartels acting undercover to agree on prices or other market parameters. What about companies openly agreeing together through a joint venture company? On November 8, 2016, the French Supreme Court (Cour de cassation) overruled a decision of the Court of Appeal of Paris regarding horizontal agreements set up among French millers through two joint venture companies for the purpose of co-marketing their products, one of which sold flour to the retail industry, –Read More–

On 21 December 2016, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) handed down an interesting interpretation of jurisdictional issues in cross-border competition law and online sales. The ECJ ruled that courts of a Member State have jurisdiction to hear an action to establish liability for infringement of a prohibition on sales via marketplace websites based outside such State where such sales are alleged to have harmed the party in the first Member State. On 16 March 2012, “Concurrence”, a French retailer –Read More–

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–

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–

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