A February 4 conference on competition policy and the Green Deal sponsored by the European Commission’s (the Commission’s) Directorate-General for Competition (DG COMP) highlighted the divergences of opinions among antitrust officials and other stakeholders on how competition policy should support sustainability objectives.  DG COMP aims to take a leading role on sustainability issues; its October-November…

With the adoption of the 10th amendment to the Act against Restraints of Competition (ARC, ‘Gesetz gegen Wettbewerbsbeschränkungen’) on 14.01.2021 by the German Parliament (’Bundestag’), the curtain will lower on an antitrust opera [previously reported by Silke Heinz here]: ‘The Abduction from (not the Seraglio) the Düsseldorf Court of Appeals’.   Overture For the following,…

Despite the pandemic, 2020 has been a very busy year for the Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) and courts in the field of competition law in Germany.  The following is merely a selection of interesting developments.  It does not include the recently adopted reform of the Competition Act, which merits its own blog. Generally, the FCO…

Despite best efforts of the European legislator as well as the CJEU, from a claimant’s perspective, private enforcement litigation before German Courts in the trucks cartel [Link]  must be an aggravating experience. Although the European Commission fined the members of the cartel extensively, an ‘all-out’-approach of the cartelists and apparently flustered lower courts result in…

The government’s draft for new competition rules, including on (digital) platforms, published in September 2020 (see here) includes a provision specifically aimed at powerful digital gatekeepers, draft Section 19a ARC.  The proposal was debated in parliament on November 25, 2020, is largely expected to be adopted more or less in its current form and to…

The German Federal Cartel Authority continues its campaign against tech-giants by once again launching a probe into Amazon. This time, Amazon is not the only company affected. The authority also takes a closer look at Apple. Amazon has contracts with Apple, according to which only Apple dealerships and Amazon can offer Apple products on the…

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…