The European Commission has launched today a <a href="https://ec.europa.eu/competition-policy/public-consultations/2021-vber_en">public consultation</a> inviting all interested parties to comment on the draft revised Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (“VBER”) and Vertical Guidelines.
Through the consultation, the Commission aims to gather stakeholder feedback on the changes it proposes to address the issues identified in the evaluation of the current rules. <br />See also <a href="https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_21_3561">EC press release</a>.
The European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation to assess whether Google has violated EU competition rules by favouring its own online display advertising technology services in the so called “ad tech” supply chain, to the detriment of competing providers of advertising technology services, advertisers and online publishers. The formal investigation will notably examine whether Google is distorting competition by restricting access by third parties to user data for advertising purposes on websites and apps, while reserving such data for its own use.
The Commission has informed Insurance Ireland, an association of Irish insurers, of its preliminary view that it breached EU antitrust rules by restricting competition in the Irish motor vehicle insurance market. The Commission takes issue with certain conditions of access to the Insurance Link platform, a data sharing system, which Insurance Ireland administers. The Commission considers that Insurance Ireland arbitrarily delayed or de facto denied access to the system to companies that had a legitimate interest in joining it, and that hurdles remain in place that might affect companies seeking to enter the Irish motor insurance market.
The European Commission has published today the preliminary results of its competition sector inquiry into markets for consumer Internet of Things (IoT) related products and services in the European Union. The <a href="https://ec.europa.eu/competition-policy/antitrust/sector-inquiries/consumer-internet-things_en">Preliminary Report</a> confirms the rapid growth of these markets, but also identifies potential concerns put forward by the respondents to the sector inquiry.<br />See also:<ul><li><a href="https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/SPEECH_21_2926">Statement by Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager.</a></li><li><a href="https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-207358">Recording of conference by Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager.</a></li></ul>
This initiative will revise:<br /><ul><li>the rules exempting R&D and specialisation agreements from aspects of EU competition law</li><li>the guidelines accompanying these rules.</li></ul> See also: <a href="https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/have-your-say/initiatives/13059-Horizontal-agreements-between-companies-revision-of-EU-competition-rules_en">Horizontal agreements between companies – revision of EU competition rules (Act)</a>.
The European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation to assess whether Facebook violated EU competition rules by using advertising data gathered in particular from advertisers in order to compete with them in markets where Facebook is active such as classified ads. The formal investigation will also assess whether Facebook ties its online classified ads service “Facebook Marketplace” to its social network, in breach of EU competition rules.
The European Commission has published today the Evaluation Report and <a href="https://ec.europa.eu/transparency/documents-register/detail?ref=COM(2021)264&lang=en">Staff Working Document</a> summarising the findings of its evaluation of the Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulation.
The European Commission has opened a formal investigation to assess whether the power exchange EPEX Spot SE (‘EPEX Spot') has been taking advantage of its dominant position to hinder the activities of competitors on the market for electricity intraday trading facilitation services in at least six Member States (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands).
The European Commission takes note of the judgments by the Court of Justice (‘CJEU’) that fully upholds the Commission’s <a href="https://ec.europa.eu/competition/elojade/isef/case_details.cfm?proc_code=1_39226">Lundbeck decision</a>, and dismisses the companies’ appeals against the General Court judgments of September 2016. <br /><br /> The CJEU confirms that Lundbeck’s six pay-for-delay agreements concluded with four manufacturers of generic medicines regarding its anti-depressant medicine citalopram restricted competition by object. <br /><br />The CJEU’s judgments provide useful guidance on how to determine when suppliers of generic medicines, which were engaged in patent disputes with Lundbeck, agree to stop competing, not due to the strength of the patent of the incumbent originator company, but because the incumbent bought them out of the market by payments or other commercial advantages. <br /><br />Today’s rulings send strong signal that pay-for-delay agreements, which can significantly harm patients and health care systems, are unlawful under EU competition law. <br /><br /> See also: <ul> <li>Curia <a href="https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2021-03/cp210049en.pdf">press relase in Cases C-586/16, C-588/16 P, C-591/16 P, C-601/16 P, C-611/16 P, and C-614/16 P </a> </li> </ul>
The Commission takes note of the judgments by the Court of Justice of the European Union, which fully uphold the General Court’s judgments of 13 December 2018 and dismiss the appeals lodged by Slovak Telekom and Deutsche Telekom. The General Court had largely upheld the Commission's 2014 decision finding that Slovak Telekom and its parent company Deutsche Telekom had abused its dominant position on the Slovak wholesale market for local loop unbundling (LLU). <br /><br /> See also: <ul> <li><a href="https://curia.europa.eu/juris/liste.jsf?language=en&td=ALL&num=C-165/19%20P">Judgment in Case C-165/19 P Slovak Telekom v Commission</a>; </li> <li>Curia <a href="https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2021-03/cp210050en.pdf">press relase in Cases C-152/19 P,C-165/19 P</a> </li> </ul>
The European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation to assess possible abusive behaviour by Public Power Corporation (‘PPC') in the wholesale Greek electricity sector.
The European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation to assess whether the pharmaceutical company Teva has illegally delayed the market entry and uptake of medicines that compete with its blockbuster multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone. The Commission will investigate whether Teva has abused a dominant market position in breach of EU antitrust rules.
<p>The Commission takes note of the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union in the Slovak Telekom case.</p> <p>The Court of Justice confirms that, the Commission’s opening of proceedings under Article 2(1) of Regulation 773/2004, pursuant to Article 11(6) of Regulation 1/2003, relieves the National Competition Authorities (NCAs) from the power to apply Article 101 and 102 TFEU to the same case, that is, the same practice(s) by the same undertaking(s) on the same relevant geographic and product market, in the same timeframe. </p> <p>The judgment also confirms that the principle of restricting the possibility of a defendant being prosecuted/fined repeatedly on the basis of the same offence, act, or facts (ne bis in idem principle) does not apply to decisions adopted separately and independently by both the Commission and the competent NCA if the facts underlying those decisions are not identical. </p> <br /> See also <a href="https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2021-02/cp210021en.pdf">Curia's press release</a>.
The European Commission has made commitments offered by Aspen legally binding under EU antitrust rules. Aspen has to reduce its prices in Europe for six critical cancer medicines by 73% on average. In addition, Aspen has to ensure the continued supply of these off-patent medicines for a significant period. <br /><br /> See also:<ul><li> <b><a href="https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/statement_21_526">Statement by Executive Vice-President Vestager on the Commission decision to accept commitments by Aspen</a>.</li> <li> <a href="https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/QANDA_21_521">Questions and Answers - Antitrust: Commission accepts commitments by Aspen</a></b>.</li> </ul>
The European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation to assess whether Mondelēz has restricted competition in a range of national markets for chocolate, biscuits and coffee by hindering the cross-border trade of these products between EU Member States, which would be in breach of EU antitrust rules.
The Commission takes note of the Court's judgment which fully upholds the General Court's judgment of 9 April 2019 in relation to the Qualcomm predation case. <br /><br /> The judgment confirms that the request for information that the Commission sent on 31 March 2017 in the context of the Commission investigation into Qualcomm's abuse of dominance in 3G baseband chipsets was lawful.
The Vertical Block Exemption Regulation expires on 31 May 2022. The Regulation exempts agreements between different levels of the same supply chain from the EU’s competition rules.<br /><br />In a business environment reshaped notably by the growth of e-commerce, this initiative aims to revise the rules to:<ul><li>provide up-to-date guidance</li><li>cater for business needs in accordance with competition rules.</li></ul> The aim is to have revised rules in place for when the current rules expire. <br /><br /> <b>See also: <a href="https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/have-your-say/initiatives/12751-Revision-of-the-Vertical-Guidelines-">EU competition rules – revision of the Vertical Guidelines</a></b>.
The European Commission has published a report on the implementation of the 2014 <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-1580_en.htm">Antitrust Damages Directive</a> which helps citizens and companies claim damages if they are victims of infringements of EU antitrust rules, such as cartels or abuses of dominant market positions. Based on the findings of the report, the Commission has drawn positive conclusions as regards the consistent implementation of its rules. In line with the requirements in the Directive, the report has been sent to the European Parliament and the Council.
The European Commission has fined the pharmaceutical companies <strong>Teva</strong> and <strong>Cephalon</strong> €60.5 million for agreeing to delay for several years the market entry of a cheaper generic version of Cephalon's drug for sleep disorders, modafinil, after Cephalon's main patents had expired. The agreement was concluded well before Cephalon became a subsidiary of Teva. The agreement violated EU antitrust rules and caused substantial harm to EU patients and healthcare systems by keeping prices high for modafinil.<br /><br> See also: <br /> <ul> <li><a href="https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/STATEMENT_20_2230">Statement by Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/api/files/attachment/867147/Pay%20for%20Delay%20graph_en.pdf">Pay-per-delay graph</a>.</li> </ul>