On January 31, 2023, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) presented an interactive network graph tool on its website that identifies references made in FCA antitrust publications (such as decisions, opinions and interim measures published between 2009 2021) to its other publications. The visualization tool (available at: https://sen-codex.dev/) represents these references in the form of a graph interconnecting FCA’s publications with one another.

The purpose of this visualization tool is to help users identify important French antitrust publications based on their impact on newer publications (number of citations) and the size of their online audience. Through various filters, users can set the tool so that the graph allows to first identify publications by their industry (e.g., “Bank/Insurance”), time period (between 2009 and 2021), or reference number (e.g., “14-A-11”). To date, the database for this visualization tool includes 350 decisions, 276 opinions and 9 interim measures published by the FCA between 2009[1] and 2021. FCA merger control decisions are not included in the current dataset. Developed by the FCA’s Digital Economy Unit[2] in partnership with CodeX “Computational Antitrust”[3] the tool is publicly accessible in open data on the FCA’s GitHub, a code hosting platform.

In the future, the FCA Digital Economy Unit plans to further fine-tune the tool, for example by identifying other types of citations, including cases from the European Commission, and monitoring similar visualization tools which are or may become available in other jurisdictions. The network analysis could also include merger control publications, with the main objective of identifying the decisions that define new relevant markets.[4] 

This visualization tool, as well as the regular infographics and videos presenting FCA investigations results published on the FCA’s website, are part of the FCA’s ongoing effort to raise awareness regarding its large scope of intervention and/or provide interactive tools to help grasp the cross-cutting nature of competition law and the benefits for all market stakeholders, notably end customers.   

[1] 2009 is the first full year of the FCA’s existence under its current governing structure.

[2] This specialized unit was created in September 2020 and is responsible for collecting in-depth knowledge on all aspects of the digital environment and collaborating with the FCA’s inspections units to examine anticompetitive practices.

[3] The initiative is supported by the Stanford University Codex Center and aims at investigating how legal informatics can help automate antitrust proceedings and further improve antitrust analyses.

[4] See Y. Guthmann, A. Frumence, C. Hoogterp, Deploying Network Analysis in Antitrust Law, Stanford Computational Antitrust, volume 3, available at: https://www.autoritedelaconcurrence.fr/sites/default/files/2023-01/Stanford-Computational-Antitrust-en.pdf.