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parliment flags

On 9th December High Court heard one of the first applications to vary Company Director Disqualification Undertakings (“CDU”) given by two directors of a group of companies previously found guilty by the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA)of having engaged in cartel activity in the Design, Construction and Fit Out Sector Background The CMA is making greater use of its director disqualification powers under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 as amended by the Enterprise Act 2002. The drive to bring –Read More–

Introduction The EU Commission has flexed its muscles yet again to enforce the competition rules in the e-commerce sector announcing on 9th July 2019 that it had fined Sanrio EUR 6.2 million for banning traders from selling licensed products featuring Hello Kitty or other characters owned by Sanrio into other countries within the EEA (Commission Press Release IP/19/3950). E-commerce and the digital markets are fast becoming one of the EU Commission’s top priorities in enforcement activities as the pan-European regulator –Read More–

Summary On 21 February 2019, the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) issued its first competition law infringement decision since it was given competition law powers on 1 April 2015. Three asset management firms were found to have shared strategic information during an initial public offering (“IPO”) and a placing in 2015. One firm was granted immunity from fines under the competition law leniency programme. The other two firms were fined £306,300 and £108,600 respectively. The FCA’s decision follows the announcement on –Read More–

Non-exit is looking increasingly likely ! An impending sense of doom stalks the corridors of Westminster this morning after last night’s historic Government defeat over the EU Withdrawal Agreement . The May compromise deal delivered too little to too many but not enough to anyone, except perhaps the EU27. It was bound to fail ! And fail it did in historic proportions (by 230 votes). No Government has been so convincingly defeated in UK Parliamentary history. Today the Government faces –Read More–

From 3 December 2018, businesses who sell either B2B or B2C within the EU will have to comply with the EU Geo-Blocking Regulation. The Regulation will have both economic and procedural implications for any trader which sells to EU customers because it requires that customers anywhere in the EU be allowed to purchase on the same conditions as customers anywhere else in the EU. A trader can still put different prices on websites aimed at different territories, but customers must –Read More–

The Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) recently announced that it will spearhead an effort to create a new international antitrust enforcement framework.1  At a June 1st discussion before the Council of Foreign Relations, Makan Delrahim, Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division, indicated that the DOJ, in conjunction with U.S. Department of State, the Federal Trade Commission, and other antitrust competition agencies around the world will launch what has been dubbed the Multilateral Framework on –Read More–

Over the last year, we have noted an increased crackdown by competition agencies on so-called “gun jumping” – that is, the implementation of a merger before mandatory merger clearances are received. On 31 May 2018, the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) provided an important clarification on the scope of the gun jumping prohibition under EU merger control and held that steps taken by businesses subject to a merger review that do not give the purchaser any control over the target –Read More–

On 24th April 2018 the European Commission announced that it had imposed a fine of  €124.5 million on Altice, the multinational cable and telecommunications company based in the Netherlands, for implementing its acquisition of the Portuguese telecommunications operator PT Portugal before notification or approval by the Commission (“gun jumping”). This is by far the largest fine imposed by the Commission on a company for gun jumping under the EU Merger Regulation. This case is of significance as it shows that –Read More–

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) has published new commentary to inform companies on how it assess retail mergers. The commentary should be read by any retailer considering merging with a competitor in the UK. On 10 April 2017, the CMA published new commentary on how they will assess retail mergers. The commentary is an update to a 2011 publication by the then Office of Fair Trading. The CMA felt that it had assessed a lot of retail mergers –Read More–

Critics of the EU referendum result in June last year likened the vote by the U.K. to leave the European Union as the “apocalyptical” opening of Pandora’s box. But whilst the predictions of doom and gloom for the U.K. economy have not materialized (or at least …yet) there is something about the U.K.’s tortuous journey out of the European Union which never fails to surprise. The country spent over six months debating whether the government or Parliament had the authority –Read More–

Is BT a service provider, or an infrastructure owner? Failure to properly deal with this question during its privatisation in 1984 has been a source of numerous allegations by rivals about margin squeeze and unfair cross subsidisation, particularly over unbundling the local loop. True and effective competition within the UK telecoms market is not possible without a network in third party ownership. Ofcom’s proposals In July 2016, Ofcom set out its competition concern that BT has the ability and incentive –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 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–

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–

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–

The classification of software has long been a thorny issue for software companies who employ agents to sell their programs. The importance of the classification is that it may determine whether the Commercial Agents Regulations 1993 apply in the UK. These regulations are based on the EU Commercial Agents Directive 86/653/EC. The Regulations could significantly increase the costs of selling through agents by dictating mandatory termination payments for agents. The industry has long clung to dated case law which erred –Read More–