Archives: EC Developments

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The EU Court of Justice Brings to an End Odile Jacob’s Fight Against Lagardère’s Purchase of Vivendi Universal Publishing

By its judgment of 28 January 2016 (C-514/14 P, Editions Odile Jacob SAS v Commission), the European Court of Justice (Court) upheld the General Court of the European Union’s (GCEU) ruling with respect to each of the grounds raised by Editions Odile Jacob (Odile Jacob) thereby dismissing Odile Jacob’s appeal. The case concerned the sale, … 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

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

Court of Justice of the European Union Rejects the Appeal of Italian National Extradited to the United States for Price-Fixing Violation

On February 9, the Court of Justice of the European Union made public its January 28, 2015 order rejecting the appeal of Mr. Romano Pisciotti, an Italian national who was extradited from Germany to the United States in April 2014 for his role in the marine hose price-fixing conspiracy. On July 2, 2014, the General … Continue Reading

New EU Competition Commissioner’s Priorities For 2014-2019: Hearing Before The European Parliament

Margrethe Vestager, former Deputy Prime Minister of Denmark, is designated to become the next European Union Competition Commissioner in November 2014. In a three hour hearing before the European Parliament (EP) last night (2 October), Ms Vestager answered the EP’s questions and revealed a number of issues that she would like to focus on during … Continue Reading

New EU Competition Commissioner Magrethe Vestager to Take Office in November, Pending Approval

In an announcement made on 10 September 2014, the President-elect of the next European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker from Luxemburg, unveiled his team and announced that Magrethe Vestager from Denmark will replace Joaquin Almunia as the EU Commissioner for Competition.  Ms Vestager is to take office in November, subject to confirmation by the European Parliament. The … Continue Reading

CJEU Rules Maximum Cartel Fine Applies Only to Infringing Subsidiary Turnover and Reduces Fine by €17 Million

On 4 September 2014, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) confirmed that the maximum fine of 10 per cent of turnover imposed on the infringing subsidiary of a non-infringing parent company should be calculated on the basis of the turnover of that subsidiary, and not the parent company, if and to the … Continue Reading

Limitation Periods for Antitrust Damages Actions in The European Union

The last decade or so has seen a marked increase in antitrust damages actions brought before the national courts of the EU Member States. As things currently stand, such actions are governed by the various national laws of the 28 Member States. This patchwork of differing national rules further complicates the already complex underpinning of … Continue Reading

EU Court Maintains Tough Stance Against Business Practices by Firms With Strong Market Power

The European Union’s court of first instance, the General Court, has confirmed the Commission’s decision in Intel and upheld a record fine of €1.06 billion. In so doing, it condemned a number of Intel’s business practices, including loyalty rebates. The General Court’s approach suggests that it views exclusionary business practices by a company in a … Continue Reading

European Commission Uses EU State Aid Rules Against Aggressive Tax Planning by Multinational Companies

by Martina Maier and Philipp Werner (with contribution from Katharina Dietz) The European Commission (Commission) took the first concrete action towards using EU State aid rules against aggressive tax planning by multinational companies by opening formal investigations against Ireland (Apple), Luxembourg (Fiat Finance and Trade) and the Netherlands (Starbucks). The Commission has concerns that these … Continue Reading

EU’s Top Court Rules Cartel Victims Can Claim Damages From Cartelists Despite No Contractual Link

by Martina Maier, Philipp Werner and David Henry In a landmark ruling, the EU’s top court, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Kone and Others C-557/12 of 5 June 2014, has held that, where a cartel causes competing companies to increase their prices, the members of the cartel may be held liable for losses … Continue Reading

New EU Consumer Contracts Legislation Comes Into Force on 13 June 2014: E-Commerce Businesses Should Review Terms and Conditions of Sale Now

by Rohan Massey, Lionel Lesur, Veronica Pinotti, Vincent Schröder All e-commerce businesses active in the European Economic Area (EEA) should review their current processes, policies, terms and documentation and implement any changes before 13 June 2014 to ensure they are compliant with the new national laws of the EU Member States implementing EU Directive No 2011/83/EU … Continue Reading

Revised GBER Reduces Need For Commission Prior Approval of State Aid But Some Conditions Stricter Than Before

The European Commission (Commission) has adopted new rules that exempt public support given to companies by EU Member States, including regional and local authorities, from the requirement of prior notification to, and approval by, the Commission. These new rules, which revise the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER) significantly extend the scope of support that can … Continue Reading

Commission Holds Goldman Sachs Liable for Former Portfolio Company’s Antitrust Infringement

by Veronica Pinotti, Lionel Lesur, Martino Sforza, Nicolò di Castelnuovo In its decision of 2 April 2014 in relation to the underground and submarine high voltage power cables cartel case (COMP/39610), the European Commission (Commission) held the parent companies of the producers involved liable, on the basis that they had exercised decisive influence over the producers. … Continue Reading

Significant Changes to UK Competition Regime Now Effective

by Andrea Hamilton, David Henry, Aiste Slezeviciute The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 took effect on 1 April 2014. Increased efficiencies and deterrence are the main drivers of this reform. As of 1 April 2014, the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (ERRA) brings about significant substantive and structural change to the United Kingdom’s … Continue Reading

European Commission Adopts Revised Competition Regime for Technology Transfer Agreements

On 21 March 2014, the European Commission (Commission) adopted a revised set of rules for the assessment of technology transfer agreements by the Commission and national competition authorities. The new Technology Transfer Block Exemption Regulation and accompanying Technology Transfer Guidelines will enter into force on 1 May 2014. The revised regime provides clearer and, arguably … Continue Reading

European Commission Targets Spanish Football Clubs including Real Madrid and Barcelona for State Aid Investigations

The European Commission (Commission), on 18 December 2013, opened three formal State aid investigations into public support measures for major Spanish football clubs. The Commission alleges that the clubs under investigation have benefitted from State aid that cannot be authorised. The clubs, which include Real Madrid and Barcelona, are therefore exposed to the risk of … Continue Reading

European Commission Investigates Exemption from Renewable Energy Surcharge for Energy-Intensive Companies in Germany

The European Commission today opened a State aid investigation into the German Renewable Energy Source Act (the EEG), claiming that the EEG may have given unlawful advantages to energy-intensive companies in Germany. These companies now face the potential risk that benefits totalling billions of euros may have to be repaid. The European Commission (Commission) today … Continue Reading

European Commission Simplifies Aspects of EU Merger Control

The European Commission (Commission) has issued a package of measures (the Reform Package), the rationale for which is to simplify and streamline EU merger control. The Reform Package does this by extending “simplified” treatment to more transactions, reducing the information that parties to a notifiable transaction have to submit and streamlining the pre-notification process. The … Continue Reading

Relief for harm incurred as a result of protracted judicial review must be sought before General Court

On 26 November 2013, the European Union’s top court, the European Court of Justice, gave a seminal ruling establishing the principle that a claim for damages for losses incurred as a result of excessively long judicial review proceedings before the General Court must be brought in a separate action before the General Court itself. Introduction … Continue Reading

EU National Courts May Have to Order Recovery of State Aid Before European Commission Makes Final Decision

The European Court of Justice decided on 21 November 2013 that EU national courts must assume that a measure qualifies as State aid, if the European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation into that measure. This judgment is relevant to all cases in which the disputed measure was already granted, or is planned to be … Continue Reading

CJEU Confirms Prior State Aid Cannot be Taken into Account by Public Authority To Justify Further Subsidies as Market Behaviour

In its recent judgment in Land Burgenland (Joined Cases C-214/12 P, C-215/12 P and C-223/12 P) the Court of Justice of the European Union has confirmed that State aid granted to an undertaking in the past must not be taken into account in the context of the Market Economy Operator Principle to justify further subsidies, … Continue Reading

UK Competition Commission Provisionally Finds Anti-Competitive Features in Privately-Funded Health Care

The UK Competition Commission (the CC) has provisionally found that there are anti-competitive features in the supply or acquisition of privately-funded health care services, which give rise to adverse effects on competition.  If the CC’s provisional position is indicative of its final position, private healthcare providers—in particular, private hospital groups—may face significant changes in how … Continue Reading

State Aid Procedural Regulation Grants More Powers to the European Commission

by Martina Maier and Robert Bäuerle, with contribution from Katharina Dietz, a paralegal at McDermott Will & Emery’s Brussels office New rules of procedure in EU State aid investigations will enter into force very soon.  The European Commission will, for the first time, have the opportunity to request information from entities other than the EU Member State concerned, … Continue Reading
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