Commission adopts revised competition regime for technology transfer agreements
21 March 2014
The Commission has adopted new rules for the assessment of technology transfer agreements under EU antitrust rules.
The purpose of such agreements is to enable companies to license the use of patents, know-how or software held by another company for the production of goods and services.
The revised rules facilitate such sharing of intellectual property, including through patent pools, and provide clearer guidance on licensing agreements that stimulate competition.
At the same time they aim to strengthen incentives for research and innovation.
Read more >
Frequently asked questions >
Commission fines producers of car and truck bearings € 953 million in cartel settlement
The European Commission has found that two European companies (SKF and Schaeffler) and four Japanese companies (JTEKT, NSK, NFC and NTN with its French subsidiary NTN-SNR) operated a cartel in the market for automotive bearings.
The Commission has imposed fines totalling € 953 306 000.
Automotive bearings are used by car, truck and car part manufacturers to reduce friction between moving parts inside a vehicle.
Cars and trucks contain numerous bearings, for example wheel bearings, bearings for gearbox, transmission, alternator or air conditioning systems.
The companies colluded to secretly coordinate their pricing strategy vis-à-vis automotive customers for more than seven years, from April 2004 until July 2011, in the whole European Economic Area (EEA).
Japanese company JTEKT was not fined as it benefited from immunity under the Commission's 2006 Leniency Notice for revealing the existence of the cartel to the Commission.
NSK, NFC, SKF and Schaeffler received reductions of their fines for their cooperation in the investigation under the Commission's leniency programme.
Since all companies agreed to settle the case with the Commission, their fines were further reduced by 10%.
Read VP Almunia's statement >
Press release >
2 judgments in heat stabilisers cartel
20 March 2014
The GC ruled on two appeals regarding a Commission decision of November 2009 fining several companies for operating a cartel on the markets for heat stabilisers.
The first case was an appeal by Reagens concerning access to documents in the Commission's case file.
The GC held that the Commission had correctly made a concrete and individual assessment of all the documents and upheld the Commission's refusal to grant access to a majority of documents.
The GC also held that the Commission had erred in not giving access to certain non-confidential company documents and to the Commission's standard questionnaire.
In the second case, an appeal by Faci against the Commission's 2009 decision, the GC entirely dismissed the appeal and upheld the Commission's decision.
Read full Reagens judgment >
Read full Faci judgment >
Read more about Commission's 2009 decision >
C-271/13 P Ruse Industry state aid case
20 March 2014
The EUCJ ruled on an appeal by the Bulgarian company Ruse Industry against an earlier GC judgment that had upheld a Commission decision of July 2011 ordering the recovery of incompatible state aid that Bulgaria had granted to Ruse.
The EUCJ dismissed the appeal and upheld the Commission's decision.
Read full judgment >
Read more about the Commission's 2011 decision >