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.

On February 17, 2021, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) published its third report on market power in the electricity generation sector (“Market Power Report”), analyzing the competitive landscape from October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021.[1]  Again, the FCO published its results one year earlier than statutorily required because of the continuing phase-out of nuclear and coal energy.

On February 4, 2022, the Commission released a revised draft dual distribution guidance[1] within the broader context of the ongoing review of EU vertical rules.

On January 26, 2022, the Criminal Chamber of the French Cour de cassation (the French Supreme Court) has ruled for the first time that companies’ internal documents summarizing or forwarding outside counsel’s legal advice in connection with anticipated litigation are protected by the French legal privilege (secret professionnel).  The French case law is therefore gradually moving closer to the EU one.

On January 26, 2022, the Criminal Chamber of the French Cour de cassation (the French Supreme Court) has ruled for the first time that companies’ internal documents summarizing or forwarding outside counsel’s legal advice in connection with anticipated litigation are protected by the French legal privilege (secret professionnel).  The French case law is therefore gradually moving closer to the EU one.

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.

On January 12, 2022, former European Central Bank official Benoît Coeuré was appointed President of the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) following his hearing by both houses of the French Parliament.[1] He was unanimously appointed by members of the Commission for Economic Affairs of the Assemblée Nationale, while the Commission for Economic Affairs of the Sénat displayed a more balanced distribution of votes (only 12 in favor out of 22 votes cast).