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McDermott EU Competition Annual Review 2016

It is difficult for General Counsel and their teams to monitor all new developments adequately. With the growth of the Internet and the daily updates to EU competition rules, everyone receives and has access to masses of information, but it is difficult to select that which is really relevant to one’s business.

McDermott’s EU Competition team across Brussels, France, Germany and Italy has authored the EU Competition Annual Review 2016 to help General Counsel and their teams to focus on the essential updates that they should be aware of.

This Special Report summarizes recent developments in EU competition rules during the year 2016 where several new regulations, notices and guidelines were issued by the European Commission and many interesting cases were decided by the General Court and the EU Court of Justice.

All these new rules and judicial decisions can be relevant for international companies operating in the EU. Indeed, in addition to the daily update, this booklet provides an overview of the main recent developments in EU competition rules and can be kept as a ready reference when dealing with complex issues of EU competition law.

Read the full report.




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 erred in law in finding that decisions of the European Commission (EC) requesting information from cement manufacturers during the course of a cartel investigation were adequately reasoned.

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Maritime Transport Subject to EU General Competition Law Guidelines From September 26, 2013

by Philip Bentley, Wilko van Weert and Philipp Werner

Up until September 18, 2006, maritime transport services were exempt from the EU competition rules in respect of liner conferences.  In addition, cabotage and international tramp vessel services were exempt from the enforcement powers in competition matters.  These exemptions were abolished on September 18, 2006, subject to a two year transitional period.  Maritime transport services then became subject to sector-specific guidelines that are applicable until September 26, 2013, when they will be superseded by the general, non-sector-specific guidelines.

To read the full article, click here.




European General Court Confirms Parental Liability For Competition Law Infringements by 50:50 Joint Ventures

by Philip Bentley QC and Philipp Werner

The European General Court (GC) has confirmed a European Commission decision to hold chemical companies EI du Pont de Nemours and Dow Chemical jointly and severally liable for a fine imposed on their 50:50 joint venture (JV) for an infringement of European competition law (EI du Pont de Nemours and Company v Commission T-76/08 and The Dow Chemical Company v Commission T-77/08).  In light of this judgment, parent companies would be well advised to check that their 50:50 JVs are compliant with EU competition rules.

To view the full article, please click here.




Waking Up a Sleeping Giant

by Wilko van Weert

The European Commission has invited comments as it reviews the current regime for Technology Transfer Agreements.  All stakeholders that have worked with the current set of rules will have a real interest in its improvement and should find it worthwhile to take part in the consultation process.  In order to be involved in the shaping of these proposals and not just in the polishing of them, it is important to submit comments ahead of the 3 February 2012 deadline.

To read the full article, click here




European Commission Publishes New Brochure on Compliance with EU Competition Rules

by Philipp Werner and Martina Maier

On November 23, 2011, the European Commission published a new brochure, “Compliance Matters – What Companies Can Do Better to Respect EU Competition Rules.”  Its stated purpose is to help companies that do business in the European Union "stay out of trouble" and to ensure their compliance with EU competition rules.  However, it does not cover the various practical and legal problems that companies face when developing and implementing compliance programs.

The first part the brochure focuses on the general obligation to comply, as well as the benefits of compliance, such as the enhancement of a company’s reputation and attractiveness for promotional and recruitment purposes.  The second part describes the costs of non-compliance: fines for companies, sanctions on individuals, nullity of illegal agreements and the possibility for damage claims before national courts, and bad press and collateral consequences. The third part gives an overview on the applicability of EU competition rules. The fourth part sets out the strategy that companies should follow to ensure compliance, including the basic steps for identifying the overall risk and individual exposure, as well as steps for implementing the compliance strategy, staff-training, keeping the compliance program current, and monitoring and auditing.

The European Commission makes clear that "although all compliance efforts are welcomed, the mere existence of a compliance programme is not enough to counter the finding of an infringement of competition rules."  With respect to setting the level of fines, the Commission reinforces its position that while a company’s specific situation is taken into account "the mere existence of a compliance programme will not be considered as an attenuating circumstance,” nor will it be a valid argument to justify a reduction of the fine.  Thus, the position of the European Commission stands in contrast with recent statements by the UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and France’s Autorité de la Concurrence, both of which stated their intention to take the existence of a compliance program into account when setting the amount of fines.




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