The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) on 8 August 2022 set aside a £17.9 million fine against price comparison website Compare The Market, criticising the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) legal and evidential assessment of the case.  The CAT found that the CMA’s “anecdotal evidence[1] failed to prove that Compare The Market kept home insurance premiums artificially high by using most favoured nation clauses (MFNs) in its contracts with insurance providers.  The CMA has said it is disappointed with the CAT’s ruling and is considering its options, including a potential appeal.

On July 12, the CMA published its final guidance (the Guidance) accompanying the UK’s block exemption for vertical agreements (VABEO).[1] 

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) last week fined pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Flynn £63 million and £6.7 million for engaging in excessive pricing.  In the CMA’s view, the companies charged unfairly high prices for Phenytoin capsules, a genericised anti-epilepsy drug, in violation of competition law.

On July 18, the European Council approved the final text of the DMA, marking the final step before the DMA enters into force.  This followed the European Parliament approving, on July 5, the final text of the Digital Markets Act (DMA), by 588 votes to 11.  The DMA is likely to enter the EU’s Official Journal in October, which means the behavioural rules will kick in early-to-mid 2024.

On Thursday, March 25, 2022, the European Parliament and EU Member States reached agreement on the final text of the Digital Markets Act (DMA).  The DMA marks a paradigm shift in the regulation of digital markets, giving the European Commission unprecedented powers to regulate leading digital platforms and setting a global standard for other jurisdictions that are developing similar rules.

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.

Cleary Gottlieb partners Maurits Dolmans, Henry Mostyn and associate Emmi Kuivalainen authored the paper, “Rigid Justice is Injustice: The EU’s Digital Markets Act should include an express proportionality safeguard” which was published in Ondernemingsrecht issue 2-2022.