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What you need to Know? Despite the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, companies doing business in the UK can still continue to trade with the European Union in exactly the same way as they have done in the past. The UK is still a member of the EU and until it negotiates an exit deal or the two year period for the re-negotiation for such a deal expires the UK remains a full member of the European Union –Read More–

On the 25th May 2016, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) issued a statement of objections to five of Britain’s most prestigious modelling agencies alleging an infringement of Chapter I of the Competition Act 1998 and/or Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (“TFEU”). The CMA’s investigation, which was launched back in March 2014, has revealed that the five prominent agencies may have exchanged sensitive and confidential competitive information and colluded to fix prices –Read More–

As cloud storage has widely spread, there have been growing concerns from the UK authorities about whether consumer rights are effectively protected. New guidelines for consumers and a new checklist for industry bring fresh obligations to providers, who should follow the new developments closely. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recently launched a review of compliance with consumer law in the cloud storage industry. In this context, it is critical for companies offering cloud storage services to keep abreast of –Read More–

Britons are due to go to the polls to vote in a referendum on 23rd June 2016 to decide whether the UK should remain a member of the EU, or exit (a so called “Brexit”). As many readers will be aware, there is no certain answer on what effect, whether positive or negative, Brexit would have on the UK economy or individual sectors of it. Below, we summarise a few key considerations when considering the effect of Brexit on the –Read More–

On 23 May 2016, the Chancery Division of the UK High Court of Justice handed down judgment in the case Iiyama Benelux BV and others v Schott AG and others [2016] (“the Iiyama case”) and held that claims for cartel damages arising from purchases of goods from outside the EU may not succeed where there is insufficient nexus to affect trade and competition within the EU. This decision marks the continuing, and indeed increasing, difficulty claimants face in bringing claims –Read More–

On 25 May 2016, and following an in-depth sector inquiry and consultation period, the European Commission (“EC”) published proposals for a set of new e-Commerce rules. The EC believes that this three-pronged strategy will benefit consumers and businesses alike by providing facilitated online buying and selling, increasing consumer protection through enforcement measures, and providing legal certainty for businesses. Additionally, the new rules are anticipated to enhance the functioning of Digital Single Market which, according to the EC, has the potential –Read More–

On 21 April 2016, the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) published an open letter to estate agents in the UK stressing the importance of making independent commercial decisions and warning them against unlawful collaboration in breach of competition law. It was brought to the CMA’s attention that various estate agents were entering into collective decisions to market properties solely on the OnTheMarket Portal and to remove themselves from all other competing portals, including Rightmove and Zoopla. The CMA raises concerns –Read More–

On 26 April 2016, the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) confirmed, following settlement, that it will issue a formal infringement decision to bathroom fittings manufacturer Ultra Finishing Limited (“Ultra”) following investigations opened back in August 2014 into suspected vertical price restraints in place between suppliers and resellers. In our previous update on this issue, we reported that the CMA had, on 28 January 2016, disclosed provisional findings of anti-competitive behaviour in a Statements of Objections. In response, Ultra stated that –Read More–

On 22 April 2016, the European Commission (“EC”) invited industry comment on the commitments proposed by Paramount Pictures International Limited (“Paramount”) in response to concerns raised by the EC. The EC’s concerns were that many of its contractual clauses in licensing agreements with Sky UK Limited (“Sky”) concerning cross-border access to pay-TV content may contravene Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (“TFEU”). The EC published a Statement of Objections on 27 July 2015 which highlights –Read More–

This case, being already the third since the new CAT Rules came into force on the 1 October 2015, is evidence that the new fast track procedure has been successful in encouraging claims against anti-competitive behaviour and providing smaller businesses with cheaper and quicker opportunities for access to justice. On 12 April 2016, the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal (“CAT”) listed a third case under its “fast-track” competition litigation procedure. As we previously reported, the procedure was designed to provide primarily small –Read More–

Since 15 February 2016, all EU retailers who sell online should have complied with the rules of the EU’s new online dispute resolution (“ODR”) platform. Compliance is mandatory for all retailers — from small independent shops with online stores to multinational retailers. What is the ODR platform? The ODR platform is a website, administered by the EU, to serve as a portal for handling complaints between consumers and retailers relating to provided goods or services. Once a consumer submits a –Read More–

On the 18th of March 2016, the EU Commission published initial findings from its e-commerce sector inquiry. The initial findings show a widespread use of geo-blocking throughout retailers in the EU. The findings reaffirm the Commission’s focus on this area and may lead to actions by the Commission later this year. Geo-blocking is the practice of blocking online sales across borders by redirecting international customers back to their own domestic websites or blocking the use of foreign delivery addresses or –Read More–

On 18 March 2016, the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) published only the second case to be brought under the new fast track procedure before the CAT under the provisions of the Consumer Rights Act 2015. The fast track procedure was designed to allow individuals and SMEs a quick and more cost effective way of enforcing their competition rights against big business. It was also a rare case involving the enforceability of land use restrictions which seldom come before the Courts. –Read More–

On 8 March 2016, the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) published a policy document recommending that the government overhaul the currently franchised rail system. (Click here to access the full policy document.) 99% of Britain’s trains presently run under franchise agreements, which companies bid for and obtain from the government. The main criticism of the system is that rail operators face little to no competition; effectively being granted a monopoly when they are awarded franchise contracts. After over a year –Read More–

On 17 February 2016, the Cabinet Office published a Procurement Policy Note (“PPN”) which seeks to prevent public authorities from participating in boycotts and other political decisions which affect decision making and public spending. Some public authorities, namely local government councils, including the City Councils of Leicester, Birmingham, Swansea and Gwynedd, have been imposing such boycotts, commonly on grounds of the alleged Israeli occupation of claimed Palestinian territory. These boycotts are likely to be unlawful interventions under the EU public –Read More–

On the 2nd March 2016, the German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) initiated proceedings against Facebook’s European and German entities, accusing the company of abusing its market power. The case follows a logical progression of regulators seeking to regulate alleged abuses of dominance in new technologies as they impact upon consumers. The first such target was software, then search engines, and now social media websites. An abuse of dominance is a competition law offence under Article 102 of the TFEU. It –Read More–

The European Commission has announced a delay to the implementation of MiFID II (the latest piece of EU legislation dealing with the regulation of investment services within Europe). MiFID II will amongst other things introduce greater regulation of certain markets where complex financial products can currently be traded with limited reporting or transparency requirements. Greater regulation of these types of trading arrangements was widely viewed as one of the key lessons learnt from the global financial crisis. On 10 February –Read More–

In order to update the legislation regarding novel food which has been in place for almost 20 years, the European Parliament adopted on November 16, 2015 a new regulation 2015/2283 in order to respond to the food industry’s wish for more unified decisions across Europe and fewer regulatory hurdles blocking innovation. The Regulation will come into force from January 1, 2018. “Novel food” is defined as any food product which was not generally consumed in the European Union before 1997 –Read More–

On the 12th of February 2016, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) fined GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and the successor companies to Alpharma Limited around £45m in total for breaches of Chapter I of the Competition Act 1998, the prohibition against anti-competitive agreements. The case shows the continued danger in pharmaceuticals reaching settlement agreements in IP disputes with generic drug providers. The case in question relates to agreements between GSK and Alpharma, made between 2001 and 2004. The drug in question –Read More–

Introduction and Summary In January 2016 the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) dealt with the first case to be brought under the new and recently introduced “fast track” competition litigation procedure under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. The new fast track procedure was designed to allow, primarily, small and medium sized enterprises to gain fast and effective relief from competition law infringements and was introduced by Section 81 and Schedule 8 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015. This amended relevant sections –Read More–

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