parliment flags

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–

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) continues to focus its attention on resale price maintenance particularly where it relates to minimum advertised prices (MAP) on on-line sites. The CMA has a history of targeting this type of behaviour . Minimum advertised prices are generally permitted under US Antitrust law. This case highlights how careful companies, particularly US companies, have to be in relation to their distribution strategies in Europe. On 28 January 2016, issued Statements of Objections (“SOs”) to –Read More–

On 20 January 2016, in what Uber termed as “a victory for common sense” , Transport for London (“TFL”) surrendered to its critics and abandoned the majority of the proposed measures it put forth in its September 2015 Consultation paper aimed at reforming the rules concerning private hire operators, private hire drivers, private hire insurance, and private hire licensing. Since March 2015, TFL has been conducting a wide-ranging review into private hire vehicle regulations. As we reported in our previous –Read More–

On the 20 January 2016, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) handed down its ruling on a preliminary reference made by the Italian Council of State on the relationship between EU and national member state leniency applications for cartel activity. The matter involved the air freight forwarding cartel, and the legal matters in dispute date back to actions taken in 2007-2008. In June 2007, a member of that cartel, approached both the Italian Competition Authority and the European Commission, seeking –Read More–

On the 18 December 2015, the UK Office of Rail and Road (“ORR”) formally accepted commitments from one of the UK’s leading providers of Deep Sea Container (“DSC”) rail transport services, which reportedly “fully address its competition concerns”. The ORR, the UK’s independent regulator and monitor of railways and highways, received complaints of allegedly anti-competitive behaviour and an abuse of dominance on 17 June 2014 in relation to DCS’s arrangements with customers for the supply of its transport services. The ORR launched –Read More–

On 16 December 2015, the General Court of the European Union overturned the European Commission’s 9 November 2010 Airfreight decision (Case C.39258) and, in doing so, annulled one of the largest fines imposed in EU history. If the General Court’s decision is not appealed by the Commission, or if the appeal is not overturned, it will have considerable cost implications for claimants that have launched follow-on damages actions before the English courts and elsewhere. These cases would have relied upon –Read More–

Earlier this month, the UK’s competition watchdog, the Competitions and Markets Authority (“CMA“), criticised Transport for London’s (“TFL“) proposed new rules for private hire vehicle companies, which would impose significant restrictions and burdens on companies such as Uber. Since March 2015, TFL has been conducting a wide-ranging review into private hire vehicle regulations and entering into consultations. In its September 2015 Consultation paper, TFL lay down twenty-five suggested measures which seek to reform the rules concerning private hire operators, private –Read More–

On the 16 December 2015, the Supreme Court overturned a decision of the Court of Appeal and held that the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) had the power to subject the acquisition of the former SeaFrance Dover-Calais ferry business by Eurotunnel to merger control, even though Eurotunnel had only acquired the assets of the business out of liquidation. The ability to subject the acquisition to merger control meant that the CMA had the power to oppose the acquisition and impose –Read More–

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