On August 30, 2022, the Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) published its Annual Report 2021/2022.[1]  Andreas Mundt, the President of the FCO, pointed out two areas of the FCO’s focus: First,  the collusion of undertakings under the guise of inflation and Russia’s war against Ukraine.  Second, to use the flexibility of antitrust law to allow for a degree of cooperation that is necessary in times of crisis.  Moreover, the FCO continues to pursue its digital agenda for the digital economy and the protection of consumer rights. 

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. 

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

On February 16, 2022, the Cour de cassation confirmed that lack of mutual trust is a valid reason for a supplier to refuse to reappoint a former member of its selective distribution network, upholding an important decision of the Paris Court of Appeals in the automotive industry.[1]

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 February 1, 2022, the ICA imposed a fine of approximately €10 million on G2 Misuratori S.r.l., Maddalena S.p.A., Itron Italia S.p.A., Sensus Italia S.r.l. and WaterTech S.p.A. (the “Companies”) for having participated, between December 2011 and September 2019, in an agreement restricting competition in at least 161 public tenders launched by national integrated water service operators for the procurement of meters for the legal measurement of water consumption.

On January 31, 2022, the Commission launched a formal investigation of Pierre Cardin and its largest licensee, the Ahlers Group (“Ahlers”) concerning the restriction of cross-border and online sales of Pierre Cardin-licensed products.[1] The Commission will investigate whether Pierre Cardin’s licensing agreement with Ahlers restricted parallel imports and sales to specific customer groups.

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.