On January 26, 2022, the General Court partially annulled the Commission’s decision imposing a €1.06 billion fine on Intel for abusing its dominant position through the granting of exclusivity- conditioned rebates.[1] The General Court found that the Commission had not established to the requisite legal standard that the rebates were capable of having, or were likely to have, anticompetitive effects.[2] Continue Reading Intel Corporation v Commission (Case T-286/09 RENV): General Court Quashes Intel’s €1.06 Billion Fine

The following post was originally included as part of our recently published memorandum “Selected Issues for Boards of Directors in 2022”.

In the 2021 edition of this memo, we wrote that antitrust in 2020 received more political and media attention than at any recent time. 2021 beat that standard in multiple ways, and 2022 looks to continue that trend. In addition to continuing the major tech cases brought under the Trump administration, 2021 saw unprecedented levels of legislative activity in antitrust (both federal and state), competition policy taking a leading position across federal agencies and startling new approaches at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in particular – new approaches that, while they haven’t yet produced a wave of new enforcement actions, have required changes in thinking about and approaching antitrust issues. We expect these trends to accelerate in 2022. Continue Reading U.S. & EU Antitrust: Developments and Outlook in 2022

On December 7, 2021, the Commission, the United States Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and the United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division (“DOJ”) published a Joint Statement establishing the EU-U.S. Joint Technology Competition Policy Dialogue (the “Policy Dialogue”). Continue Reading EU-U.S. Launch Joint Technology Competition Policy Dialogue to Foster Cooperation in Competition Policy and Enforcement in Technology Sector

On May 3, 2021, the European Commission fined life science company Sigma-Aldrich € 7.5 million for providing incorrect or misleading information during the Commission’s 2015 review of Merck’s acquisition of the company. The fine marks another step in an increasingly stringent approach to enforcing the procedural rules that apply during the Commission’s merger control process.[1] Continue Reading The Commission Fines Sigma-aldrich €7.5 Million for Providing Incorrect Information During Merger Review

On March 18, 2021, the Court of Justice ruled on Pometon SpA (“Pometon”)’s appeal against the General Court’s judgment in the steel abrasives[1] hybrid cartel settlement case. The Court of Justice ruled that the General Court had breached the principle of equal treatment when recalculating the fine imposed on Pometon by the Commission in 2016, the only non-settling party in this case. The Court of Justice therefore further reduced Pometon’s fine to €2.6 million, imposing an approximate 60% discount on the original fine calculated by the Commission.[2] Continue Reading Pometon v. Commission: The Court of Justice Sheds Light on the Principle of Equal Treatment and the Presumption of Innocence in Hybrid Cartels Settlements

On November 26, 2020, the Commission fined Teva and Cephalon a total of €60.5 million for entering into a pay-for-delay agreement in relation to a sleep disorder drug. This arrangement is alleged to have helped maintain high prices for several years, to the detriment of patients and healthcare systems.[1] Continue Reading Pay-for-Delay Again: Commission Fines Teva and Cephalon €60.5 Million for Delaying Entry of Cheaper Generic Medicine

On October 15, 2020, Advocate General Pitruzzella advised the Court of Justice to overturn the General Court’s annulment of the Commission’s decision that had found that preferential corporate tax rates enjoyed by FC Barcelona and other clubs amounted to unlawful and incompatible State aid.[1] The Advocate General disagrees with the General Court’s conclusion that the Commission failed to show to the requisite legal standard the existence of an advantage in favor of FC Barcelona and proposes to set aside the judgment under appeal on this basis. Continue Reading Advocate General Pitruzzella Recommends the Court of Justice of the European Union Set Aside FC Barcelona’s State Aid Victory at the General Court (European Commission v. FC Barcelona)

On October 5, 2020, the General Court dismissed an action for annulment by HeidelbergCement and Schwenk Zement (the “parent companies”) against the Commission’s April 2017 decision,[1] which prohibited their acquisition of Cemex’s Croatian and Hungarian subsidiaries through Duna-Dráva Cement (“DDC”), a full-function JV (“JV”) equally owned and controlled by the parent companies. [2] Continue Reading HeidelbergCement & Schwenk Zement v. Commission: The General Court Provides Jurisdictional Clarity Where a Joint Venture Acts as the Acquirer

On February 21, 2020, the Commission fined hotel group Meliá €6.7 million for restricting cross-border sales through the terms of its hotel accommodation agreements with tour operators.[1] These terms allegedly forced tour operators to discriminate between EEA customers based on their country of residence. The Meliá decision is noteworthy for two reasons. It reiterates the Commission’s strict stance on any measures partitioning the EU Single Market, a theory of harm the Commission has applied frequently in recent years. It also continues the Commission’s now frequent practice of rewarding cooperation in non-cartel cases. Continue Reading The Commission Fines Meliá €6.7 Million for Restricting Cross-border Sales

Following a public consultation launched in July 2019,[1] the Commission adopted a guidance document[2] on the protection of confidential information in proceedings for the private enforcement of EU competition law based on the Antitrust Damages Directive (“ADD”).[3] The Confidentiality Guidance is intended for use by national courts to ensure consistency across Member States regarding access to and the protection of confidential information disclosed in private enforcement proceedings. The Communication is not binding and does not modify the rules applicable in different Member States, but rather outlines a number of measures and tools national courts may employ to help protect confidential information. Continue Reading Commission Approves The Acquisition Of Innogy By E.ON Subject To Commitments