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On 13 June 2014, the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 (the “new Regulations”) will come into force, replacing the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling Regulations) 2000 and the Cancellation of Contracts made in a Consumers Home or Place of Work Regulations 2008 (known as the Doorstep Selling Regulations). They will apply to all customer contracts for the supply of goods and services. The new Regulations are intended to become a one-stop shop for the UK’s implementation of the EU Consumer Rights Directive which in turn was intended to –Read More–

On 29th April 2014, the European Commission issued two landmark competition Decisions relating to a series of disputes that have commonly become known as “patent wars”. The Decisions are important because they clarify for the first time whether, and in what circumstances, a patent holder seeking to enforce Standard Essential Patents through litigation (and more particularly injunctive relief) can be guilty of an abuse of a dominant position under the EU competition rules (namely Article 102 of  the Treaty for –Read More–

On 29th April 2014, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) published a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The MoU sets out the basis on which CMA and the SFO will co-operate to investigate and/or prosecute individuals in respect of the criminal cartel offence, established by section 188 of the Enterprise Act 2002 (EA02), where serious or complex fraud is suspected. Proceedings for the criminal cartel offence under section 188 can only be instituted by the Director of the –Read More–

Following a year-and-a-half of debate, class actions were finally instituted by the French Parliament on February 13, 2014 as part of a vote on a new consumer law (known as the “Hamon Law”). Having received approval by the Constitutional Council, class actions were formally incorporated into the French Consumer Code (Articles L. 423-1 et seq.) by the Consumer Law of March 17, 2014. The Hamon law lays out a three-step procedure for class actions. To read the bulletin, please click here.

On 22 April 2014, Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline announced a deal that appears to differ from other large pharmaceutical deals in the offing. Instead of a takeover of the entire business of one of the parties and a model in which a pharma company tries to do it all, each party will acquire assets that strengthen its core area business while disposing of assets outside its core area. The deal would see GSK sell its portfolio of cancer drugs (and opt-in –Read More–

On 7th April 2014, the UK Court of Appeal (“COA”) affirmed in The Office of Fair Trading v Somerfield Stores Ltd & Anor [2014] the legal finality in admitting liability in respect of regulatory decisions. The decision of the COA further establishes the principle that once a right of appeal had been extinguished for a party against a regulatory decision and the party has admitted liability, exceptional circumstances to extend this time to appeal did not include the other parties –Read More–

The new French Consumer Protection Law (“Loi Hamon”) was adopted by the French National Assembly on February 13, 2014 and was promulgated on March 17, 2014. This law has many implications for businesses, notably for the stricter rules on the payment terms. In France, any producer, service provider, wholesaler or importer must communicate its terms and conditions to any purchaser of goods or services acting as a professional. They may of course also agree to special conditions of sale. Please click here to read our –Read More–

Following the CMA taking up its role as the new UK super competition regulator on 1st April, it has exercised its enhanced hold-separate powers for one of the first times. On 7 April 2014, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) made an initial enforcement order under section 72 of the Enterprise Act 2002 against Eden (GM) Limited and Eden Automotive Investments Limited in relation to the completed acquisition by Eden (GM) Limited of two car dealerships from Riders Garages Limited. –Read More–

On 2 April 2014, the European Commission fined a well-known investment company amongst 18 other companies for participation in a market and customer sharing cartel in high voltage power cables. The importance of this decision is that it shows investment companies, which may not have any participation in their portfolio companies cartel activity, can be held liable nethertheless. The European Commission considers that the behaviour occurred over a 10 year period and that the cartel had a worldwide effect in –Read More–

For the first time, and after many attempts, the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced that it had successfully extradited a foreign national to stand trial in the U.S. to face criminal antitrust charges for price fixing, bid rigging, and market allocation. Prior attempts at extradition in antitrust cases have been unsuccessful, in part, because extradition generally requires dual criminality – meaning that the charged offense must be a crime under both countries’ laws. For example, in 2010, the British courts –Read More–

On 5 February 2014 we reported on how the Office of Fair Trading (“OFT”), now the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”), had accepted binding commitments from, Expedia and the Intercontinental Hotel Group to change their online booking practices by requiring that customers sign up for the online travel agencies (“OTA”s) membership scheme to view specific discounts on some hotels. The full story and the reasons behind the commitments can be found here. In an unexpected turn, on 2 April –Read More–

The Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”), the new central competition regulator, will continue the Office of Fair Trading’s (“OFT”) policy of cash rewards for cartel whistleblowers. The little known programme has been in place since 2008 and aims to reward individuals who come forward with inside information on cartel activity such as price fixing or allocating customers between competitors. Rewards of £100,000 are available to individuals but the full £100,000 will not be awarded in every situation. The CMA, like –Read More–

On 1 April 2014, the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) comes into force as the central UK competition regulator. Born under the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, the CMA replaces the competition regulator functions of the Office of Fair Trading (“OFT”) and the Competition Commission (“CC”). Like those institutions, the CMA will be responsible for UK merger control, market investigations, cartel prosecutions and co-ordination with concurrent sectoral regulators such as the CAA and Ofgem. The reasoning behind this shake-up –Read More–