Last year we noted that U.S. antitrust enforcement was in a period of nearly unprecedented public attention and policy debate, and also that the Biden Administration seemed likely to launch significant new policy initiatives as the year progressed. 

In September 2022, the General Court partially annulled the European Commission’s 2018 Google Android decision, which fined Google €4.3 billion for abuses of dominance relating to apps it offers for its Android mobile operating system (“OS”).[1]  The Court also found that the Commission’s investigation suffered from procedural errors.  It reduced the fine by €200 million.

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.