After a lengthy period of consultation, the European Commission has adopted a new Notice (‘Notice’) on the definition of the relevant market for purposes of EU competition law.  The Notice comes on the heels of a significant period of updating competition laws, including (i) a number of new block exemption regulations setting safe harbors (e.g.

On July 4, 2023, the highest EU court issued a landmark judgment in Case C-252/21, where the German court referred several questions for a preliminary ruling related to (i) the interplay between data protection concerns and competition law breaches; and (ii) interpretation of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This judgment has far-reaching implications

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) handed down two judgments providing guidance on the protection against double jeopardy (the principle ne bis in idem) in competition law cases. Article 50 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (Charter) provides that “no one shall be liable to be

Since launching its review programme in September 2019, the Commission has been working to update its Horizontal Guidelines and two sets of block exemptions, R&D and Specialisation, both of which are due to expire on December 31, 2022. The Commission consulted widely (to which we contributed) and has just published proposed drafts of each in a final round of consultations, which will expire on April 26, 2022. Alongside this programme, the Commission is also updating the Verticals Block Exemption and the Market Definition Guidelines, for which further drafts are expected in the coming months.
Continue Reading Commission Moves Closer to Finalizing New Horizontal Guidelines and R&D and Specialization Block Exemptions

‘State aid’ is the term we would hear or read on a daily basis during the Brexit negotiations. The media described it as one of the ‘make or break’ issues which neither party, the UK or the EU, was willing to find the middle ground to land on. Now a year later since the end of the transition period, the term ‘subsidy’ has replaced ‘State aid’ in the context of public authorities awarding financial assistance.

This note considers what has been happening to the UK’s subsidy control post-Brexit and further provides an overview of the UK’s proposed new subsidy control regime.Continue Reading The UK’s Proposed New Subsidy Control Regime: Will it Work?

Gun-jumping can occur when parties fail to fulfil the two obligations laid down by the European Merger Regulation No 139/2004 (EUMR). Article 4(1) of the EUMR sets out the obligation to notify the European Commission (Commission) of a concentration with an EU dimension before implementation. Article 7(1) sets out the obligation to stand still until the Commission declares such a concentration compatible with the internal market.

But would it be possible for parties to breach both obligations concurrently regarding the same transaction and thus to be fined doubly? The General Court answered in the affirmative in one of the most anticipated anti-gun-jumping cases.Continue Reading Gun Jumping: The General Court’s Ruling

On October 6, 2021, an important judgment was handed down by the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) on the liability of a subsidiary for the actions of its parent.  The Court confirmed (in Case C-882/19) that the well-established EU principle of single economic unit applies not only when the competition authorities take enforcement actions (public enforcement) but also in cases when a victim is seeking compensation for damages suffered as a result of the anti-competitive behaviour (private enforcement). Further, and more specifically, the CJEU confirmed that where the existence of an infringement of Article 101(1) TFEU by a parent company has been established, the victim may also bring an action for damages against a subsidiary of that parent company.  However, it is not an automatic right to seek damages from the subsidiary and there are some conditions.
Continue Reading The EU Courts Confirm a Subsidiary Can Be Held Liable for Damages Resulting from An Infringement of EU Competition Law Committed by its Parent Company

Last month, we held a webinar to discuss the modernisation of the EU’s distribution block exemption (the ‘VBER’) and of the UK’s own approach to this: the ‘VBEO’).   Economic principles increasingly need to be woven into the commercial application of the competition rules by businesses and we were pleased to have with us Dr Claudio Calcagno, Director at GMT Economics.  For those who were not able to participate in the webinar, here is a link to the recording.  We compared the EU approach with the expected UK approach and discussed a number of key developments.  Highlights from the webinar include:
Continue Reading Webinar Recap – Vertical Agreements in the EU and UK: How to Navigate the New Competition Law Landscape