I. Introduction Algorithms may raise competition concerns especially when assessing collusive practices. Very often, the term “algorithm” is used improperly. When we imagine the cartels of the future, we are not talking, in fact, about a simple “algorithm”, which in itself is a neutral instrument. Rather, we refer to much more specific techniques for implementing…

On July 17, 2019, the German Bundeskartellamt (Federal Cartel Office, “FCO”) terminated its dominance probe into Amazon’s business terms towards sellers on its marketplace after Amazon agreed to various changes, see press release here here. Amazon will implement the changes within 30 days, not only in Germany, but for all of its marketplaces in Europe,…

On June 4, 2019, the Düsseldorf Court of Appeal quashed the decision of the Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) prohibiting Booking.com to operate so-called narrow most favored nation (MFN) clauses (or best price clauses) on its hotel booking platform with hotels in Germany, see press release here.  It thereby set a (preliminary) end to a long saga…

On February 7, 2019, Germany’s Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) issued its long-awaited decision in the Facebook case, see press release and background paper in English here. It qualifies Facebook’s current practice of collecting and matching data of its users from third-party services/websites, including on What’sApp and Instagram, without explicit consent as an abuse of dominance.  Facebook…

On September 4, 2018, the German Ministry for Economic Affairs has published a report by economic and legal experts analyzing some key issues of abuse of market power in the digital platform economy (see an English summary here.) The report provides an overview of the status quo and recommendations, and is understood to be the…

In July 2005, Germany adopted a new law providing that the limitation period for damage claims is suspended during the investigation of a competition authority (“Suspension Provision”). Ever since, it was unclear whether the Suspension Provision applies only to infringements committed after the new provision came into force, or whether it has retroactive effect. In…

On May 14, 2018, the German and Austrian competition authorities have published joint draft guidelines on the new transaction value merger thresholds, including an English translation (see here). Comments can be submitted by June 8, 2018. It would certainly be helpful if members of the legal and economic community from jurisdictions with similar transaction size…

Germany’s Federal Supreme Court (Bundesgerichtshof – BGH) has now published its full judgment in EDEKA – wedding rebates (case KVR 3/17) on allegedly anti-competitive requests for preferential rebates and conditions by food retailers. For background on the preceding decisions of the Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt – BKartA) and Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf (OLG Düsseldorf)…

The Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) announced on February 1, 2018, to launch a sector inquiry into online advertising (here). This in line with the FCO’s focus on competitive conditions in the digital economy and big data. The FCO follows the French competition authority that started a separate online advertising sector inquiry in 2016 and has…

Introduction On December 18 2017, the Authority for Consumers and Markets (the ACM) announced that it had halted its investigation into cartel agreements between Dutch and German towage companies in various ports in Germany and the Netherlands. Stek represented one of the German towage companies in this investigation. The ACM’s decision to stop the investigation…