It is commonly accepted that, pursuant to the principle of intragroup immunity, Article 101 TFEU cannot catch agreements or concerted practices between entities that belong to the same undertaking. Article 101 TFEU requires coordination between at least two undertakings: everything that happens within a single undertaking simply cannot be covered by Article 101 TFEU. Yet,…

The European Commission is currently preparing new guidelines for the assessment of horizontal cooperation agreements under Article 101 TFEU. A draft was presented for public consultation in May this year and the final version is expected before year’s end. The section on standardisation agreements has been updated in the light of recent experiences (such as…

UK competition rules and enforcement infrastructure When it comes to competition law enforcement, does the UK pursue a different path to its European counterparts? Well, it is British tradition to favour a common sense approach and we have been known to criticise the arcane bureaucracy of certain supra-national institutions. These preferences will surely be revealed…

In August 2010, the U.S. antitrust agencies released the final version of their revised Horizontal Merger Guidelines, which they use to analyze the competitive implications of mergers between competitors. Whereas the prior (1992) version of the Guidelines had sought to provide a precise, step by step framework for analyzing horizontal mergers — centered around defining…

In two recent decisions, the Commission considered the impact of cooperation agreements that the notifying parties had entered into before the notified transaction and came to two different conclusions. In Iberia/British Airways (decision of 14 July 2010), the Commission was confronted with combined shares of 70-80% for time-sensitive passengers on two city pairs, London-Madrid and…

In a speech delivered last week at the IBA annual competition conference, Commissioner Almunia engaged the audience on the sensitive topic of due process and competition enforcement. Among the reasons justifying his overall satisfaction with the current EU enforcement system, he mentioned the review by the European courts, which forms “an integral part of competition…

In my last post, I discussed the General Court’s findings on market definition and dominance analysis in its AstraZeneca judgment. In this post, I review the Court’s findings on abuse. In its decision, the Commission held that Astra had abused its dominant position (1) by providing patent authorities misleading launch date information when applying for…

On June 10, 2010, the Düsseldorf Court of Appeals issued a decision that increased the hurdles for obtaining access to essential facilities in Germany in practice (see WuW/DE-R 2941 et seq.). The case concerns interim proceedings against a FCO decision. The FCO had found that Scandlines, the owner and operator of the ferry port Puttgarden,…

In my last post, I focused on a procedural element of the Commission’s Microsoft/Yahoo! decision. The decision is also very interesting from a substantive point of view, and shows the Commission’s determination to investigate the transaction in some detail, even though on the face of it (as the Phase I clearance subsequently confirmed), it raised…