Archives: Cartel Enforcement

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Election 2016: Trump on Antitrust

While antitrust policy and enforcement has not received much attention from Donald Trump on the campaign trail, Mr. Trump has made a few notable statements regarding antitrust law that provide hints as to potential antitrust enforcement priorities for a Trump administration. Mr. Trump’s history as both a plaintiff and defendant in antitrust litigation is also … Continue Reading

General Court Confirms that the Commission May Rely on Lawfully Seized Recordings Even if Made Unlawfully by a Third Party

On 8 September 2016 the General Court (“GC”) dismissed Heiploeg’s appeal against the European Commission’s (“Commission”) decision in Shrimps (AT.39633) and confirmed that the Commission may rely on recordings seized lawfully in a “dawn raid” even if the recordings were made illegally by a third party (T-54/14). This judgment reminds us of the delicate balance … Continue Reading

The European Commission Fines Truck Manufacturers a Record €2.93 billion for Cartel Conduct

On 19 July 2016, the European Commission (Commission) imposed fines totaling €2,926,499,000 on four truck producers (39824 – Trucks). The fine is the highest ever imposed on members of a cartel by the EU competition regulator. The case is also noteworthy because it is the first Commission prohibition decision following “Brexit” and could thus become … Continue Reading

The European Court Of Justice Requires The European Commission To Provide Adequate Reasons For Its Requests For Information

On March 10, 2016, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) rendered its judgment in the so-called Cement case, (C-247/14 P HeidelbergCement v Commission, C-248/14 P Schwenk Zement v Commission, C-267/14 P Buzzi Unicem v Commission and C-268/14 P Italmobiliare v Commission) ruling that the General Court of the European Union (GCEU) had … Continue Reading

General Court of the EU Dismisses Trioplast Application Seeking Reimbursement of Interest Paid for Being Late in Paying Cartel Fine

With a judgment handed down on 12 May 2016 (Case T-669/14, Trioplast Industrier AB v. European Commission), the General Court of the European Union (GCEU) dismissed an action brought by Trioplast Industrier AB (Trioplast Industrier) claiming the annulment of an alleged decision by the European Commission (EC) to ask Trioplast Industrier to pay interest for … Continue Reading

CJEU to Rule on Extradition of EU Citizens in Criminal Antitrust Proceedings

The first European citizen to be extradited from Europe to the United States for criminal antitrust conduct recently succeeded in having a Berlin court refer the matter of his extradition to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in the context of his damages action with regard to his extradition, after a series … Continue Reading

Dutch Competition Authority Fines Cold-Storage Companies for Exchange of Information in the Context of Merger Talks

On 23 March 2016, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) announced that it had fined four cold-storage firms for having put in place anticompetitive arrangements while in extended merger talks with one another.  (case number: 13.0698.31|15.0710.31|15.0327.31|15.0328.31). In addition, ACM fined five individuals for their personal involvement in these anticompetitive arrangements. The case at … Continue Reading

Judge Merrick Garland’s Antitrust Past: A Brief Summary

Since President Obama announced Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States last Wednesday, March 16, 2016, many have opined on his qualifications as well as the political fight about his confirmation this election year.  A few articles have noted Judge Garland’s academic background—that he taught Advanced Antitrust at his alma … Continue Reading

Enhanced Sharing of Antitrust Evidence: New EU/Japan Cooperation Agreement

On 15 March 2016, the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) and the European Commission (Commission) announced their intention to upgrade the current antitrust co-operation agreement between Japan and the European Union. The upgrade will have a number of practical and legal implications for companies involved in international antitrust investigations or considering making leniency applications. The … Continue Reading

The European Court of Justice Rules against Overreaching Requests for Information by the European Commission

Last week, the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) ruled that the General Court of the European Union (GCEU) had been wrong when deciding that the European Commission’s requests for information sent to eight cement manufacturers during the course of a cartel investigation were adequately reasoned (see judgments in casesC-247/14 P, HeidelbergCement v … Continue Reading

Recent Judgments Illustrate How the European Commission Can Correct Its Errors Post-Annulment

As a general proposition, when the validity of a European Commission antitrust decision is challenged before the General Court of the European Union (GCEU), the procedure is one of judicial review, not a retrial on the merits (although the GCEU does have special jurisdiction to increase or reduce the amount of any fine). Thus there … Continue Reading

EU Court of Justice Reduces Cartel Fine: General Court of the EU Exceeded its Jurisdiction

The Court of Justice of the European Union (Court),the EU’s highest court, recently  issued a judgment in case C-603/13 P, Galp Energía España SA and others v Commission, reducing the fine imposed on certain companies that were found to have engaged in cartel behaviour. This decision overturned a decision of the General Court of the … Continue Reading

General Court of the EU Upholds Cartel Fines of €131 Million Imposed on Toshiba and Mitsubishi Electric, Dismisses Arguments Based on Principle of Equal Treatment

By two judgments of January 19, 2015 (Case T-404/12 Toshiba v. Commission and Case T-409/12 Mitsubishi Electric v. Commission), the General Court of the European Union (GCEU) upheld the fines of €131 million imposed by the European Commission (EC) on Toshiba and Mitsubishi for their participation in a cartel on the market for gas insulated … Continue Reading

A New Concept in Cartel Fining: “Direct EEA Sales Through Transformed Products”

On 9 July 2015, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued its judgment in InnoLux Corp. v Commission C-231/14P, confirming the existence of a new concept in cartel fining: “direct European Economic Area [EEA] sales through transformed products”. This new concept can be used by the European Commission to calculate fines of … Continue Reading

ICN Adopts New Guidance Focusing on Investigative Process and International Cooperation in Mergers

From April 28 through May 1, the International Competition Network (ICN) held its 2015 annual conference. The ICN is a network that unites 132 competition watchdogs from 119 jurisdictions, including the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the European Commission (EC) and the Japan Fair Trade Commission … Continue Reading

Top Antitrust Enforcers Respond to Congressional Questioning

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairwoman Edith Ramirez and Assistant Attorney General William Baer testified before the House Committee on the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law on May 15, 2015. The oversight hearing provided an opportunity for the heads of the U.S. antitrust enforcement agencies to survey their agencies’ priorities and recent … Continue Reading

Shipping Executive Acquitted of Antitrust Charge

On May 8, 2015, a jury in Puerto Rico acquitted Thomas Farmer (Farmer), the former vice president of price and yield management for Crowley Liner Services, Inc., of conspiring to suppress and eliminate competition in violation of Sherman Act, Section 1. The case is United States v. Thomas Farmer (3:13-cr-00162) in the United States District … Continue Reading

Antitrust Enforcers Discuss Recent Highlights, Ongoing Cases, Enforcement Priorities and General Trends at the 2015 ABA Section of Antitrust Law Spring Meeting

The American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Antitrust Law Spring Meeting concluded earlier this month with the traditional “Enforcers’ Roundtable,” an interview with leading competition authorities about recent highlights, ongoing cases, enforcement priorities and general trends. This year’s participants were Bill Baer, U.S. Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust; Edith Ramirez, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairwoman; … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Upholds Dismissal of Text Messaging Price-Fixing Claims

On Thursday, April 9, 2015, the Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment for AT&T Mobility LLC, Verizon Wireless LLC, T-Mobile USA Inc. and Sprint Corp., in a text messaging price-fixing litigation.  In re Text Messaging Antitrust Litigation, case number 14-2301.  Plaintiffs alleged that these wireless telephone providers and a trade association … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Remands Class Certification Ruling in Blood Reagents Price-Fixing Case

On Wednesday, April 8, 2015, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a district court’s order certifying a class of direct purchasers of blood reagents in a price-fixing suit against Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics Inc.  In re Blood Reagents, case number 12-4067.  Plaintiffs allege that Ortho-Clinical Diagnostic Inc. (Ortho) and a producer of blood reagents, violated Section … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Asked to Clarify the Reach of U.S. Antitrust Laws to Foreign Conduct

On March 16, 2015, AU Optronics Corporation America Inc. (AU Optronics) and Motorola Mobility LLC separately asked the U.S. Supreme Court to clarify the Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act (FTAIA) and the extent to which its language allows foreign conduct to be brought within the scope of the Sherman Act.  The requests for review follow … Continue Reading

Parking Heater Manufacturer Pleads Guilty to Price-Fixing

On March 12, 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that Espar Inc., pleaded guilty to one count of price-fixing under the Sherman Act in a scheme involving parking heaters for commercial vehicles that ran from October 2007 through December 2012.  Parking heaters heat the inside of a vehicle when the engine is not running. According … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Denies Rehearing in LCD Price-Fixing Suit by Motorola

On January 12, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals refused Motorola Mobility LLC’s petition for a rehearing en banc of its price-fixing claims against foreign manufacturers of liquid crystal display (LCD) panels. Motorola Mobility LLC v. AU Optronics Corp., et al., case number 14-8003. Motorola alleged that these foreign manufacturers violated Section 1 of the … Continue Reading

Foreign Airlines Move to Dismiss Rate-Fixing Litigation

Last Friday, foreign cargo carriers filed motions to dismiss an air freight price-fixing suit brought by Schenker AG, the logistics division of Germany’s national railway company, Deutsche Bahn, in the Eastern District of New York.  Schenker AG v. Societe Air France, et al., case number 1:14-cv-04711.  In its complaint filed last August, Schenker alleged that … Continue Reading