Antitrust Letter #22

antitrust-letter

The “Antitrust Letter” is a monthly series of articles written in french and english by founding member Thibault Schrepel. Each month’s release analyzes major changes within United States antitrust law and legal precedents, whilst contrasting and occasionally drawing parallels to European antitrust legal issues.

« Antitrust Letter » est la chronique mensuelle du Concurrentialiste rédigée par Thibault Schrepel, l’un des membres fondateurs de la revue. Chaque nouveau numéro a pour objet d’étudier les événements marquants liés au droit de la concurrence américain. Publiée en français et en anglais, cette lettre est également l’occasion d’établir une étude comparative avec le droit européen de la concurrence.

Antitrust Letter #22 PDF: here

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Table of contents / Sommaire

Maureen K. Ohlhausen calls for greater humility of regulators
Maureen K. Ohlhausen appelle à plus d’humilité en matière de régulation

The FTC modifies its Rules of Practice
La FTC modifie ses « Rules of Practice »

On the uncertainty of FTC’s integrity during its Google deal
Mise en doute de l’intégrité de la FTC dans son affaire Google

Debbie Feinstein supports the use of the Section 5 of the FTC Act
Debbie Feinstein défend l’utilisation faite de la Section 5 du FTC Act

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Lire la suite

The Scholar Edition: « China Antitrust Review 2014 and Perspectives for 2015 and Beyond »

Download the article over here

This article was written by Nathalie Boué, lawyer and professor at Temple University Beasley School of Law (Tokyo, Japan campus) and Sorbonne-Assas International Law School (Singapore campus).

ABSTRACT (in english):

The liberalization of the Chinese economy started in 1978 with the “Open Door Policy” initiated by Deng Xiaoping and lately accelerated with the adoption of the first Anti-Monopoly Law (“AML”). The law was adopted in August 2007 and came into effect on August 1, 2008. The AML is the first comprehensive law entirely relating to competition issues and providing a specific regulatory framework for Mainland China’s antitrust law regime.

In this regard, the AML can be seen as a strategic element in the process of transformation of China’s legal landscape with the conscious goal of the Chinese authorities to set up in the country a — relatively — free and fair competitive environment among the operators doing business in China or contemplating doing it. The purpose of the law is to protect a healthy market competition mechanism from any distortion but it is noteworthy mentioning that the aim of the law is also to “promote the healthy development of socialist market economy” (Article 1). China definitely remains a socialist market economy with its own characteristics.

The AML assigns three institutions with the task of monitoring competition and market order in China: the Ministry of Commerce (“MOFCOM”) is responsible for reviewing merger control cases and business concentrations, the National Development and Reform Commission (“NDRC”) is responsible for price-related conducts (agreements and abuses of market dominance) and the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (“SAIC”) is responsible for non-price related conducts. In addition with these government agencies, the intermediate courts can also examine the private civil liability of any business operator engaged into a monopolistic behavior infringing the AML.

This article examines the significant developments for the Chinese antitrust law regime that took place in 2014 and explores the perspectives for 2015.

Despite the fact that the implementation of the AML is still in its infancy, the decisions released in 2014 by the three antitrust enforcement agencies together with the China’s Supreme People Court raise fears that the AML might be used as a tool of industrial policy in order to protect domestic companies or force foreign operators to lower their prices or royalties with their Chinese licensees.

In addition, the foreign business community and practitioners have expressed their growing concerns regarding the lack of fairness of the investigating methods and the aggressive raids reportedly targeting the foreign subsidiaries in China over the last months.

The latest decisions and the on-going investigations carried out by the enforcement agencies should convince the foreign operators to follow thoroughly the antitrust law developments and the necessity for them to comply with this new legal environment in China. Given this context, it is clear today that almost seven years after the AML came into effect, China has become a major antimonopoly jurisdiction with its antitrust agencies gaining more experience and improving their ability to handle complex and high profile cases. The foreign business operators cannot ignore this anymore.

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ABSTRACT (in french):

La libéralisation de l’économie chinoise a débuté en 1978 avec la reforme dite de « la Porte Ouverte » initiée par Deng Xiaoping et a récemment connu un tournant avec l’adoption de la première loi anti-monopole (« AML »). Cette loi, adoptée en Août 2007, est entrée en vigueur le 1er Août 2008. Première loi entièrement dédiée aux questions de concurrence, l’AML définit un cadre réglementaire spécifique pour les comportements anti-concurrentiels en Chine Continentale.

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The investigations in the food retail sector and the standard of proof for per se infringements

This article was written by Valentin Mircea (PhD in Antitrust Law). Valentin was a Board Member of the Romanian Competition Council and later on its Vice-President. He is now a senior partner at Mircea and Partners Law Firm in Bucharest. Valentin wrote several books and articles on the subject of antitrust law.

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There are voices coming from people with good knowledge of the market which consider that the recently opened investigations (in Romania) with regard to Cora, Carrefour, Auchan and Kaufland supermarkets chains are in fact a late reaction of the public authority, which, for years, only paid attention to the vertical agreements concluded by Metro, Mega Image and Selgros between 2005 and 2009, with some of their distributors and ”forgot”, for a long time, the similar agreements concluded by all the companies active in the food retail trade.

It is not clear whether or not the triggering factor for the investigations initiated by the Romanian Competition Council (”RCC”) in October 2014 resides in the fact that it had previously ”forgot” to investigate the other retailers but it should be admitted that the new investigation has something to do with the complaints in this respect made by those already under investigation regarding the procedural fairness. The Competition Council has been very brief regarding the details of the new investigation and, relatively outside its practice, it announced the investigation long time after it has been started. The previous anomaly – that only some of the retailers and producers from the retail food industry have been investigated between 2009 and 2014 for alleged commercial activities common in the entire industry, cannot be canceled by starting now an investigation.

Lire la suite

Antitrust Letter #21

antitrust-letter

The “Antitrust Letter” is a monthly series of articles written in french and english by founding member Thibault Schrepel. Each month’s release analyzes major changes within United States antitrust law and legal precedents, whilst contrasting and occasionally drawing parallels to European antitrust legal issues.

« Antitrust Letter » est la chronique mensuelle du Concurrentialiste rédigée par Thibault Schrepel, l’un des membres fondateurs de la revue. Chaque nouveau numéro a pour objet d’étudier les événements marquants liés au droit de la concurrence américain. Publiée en français et en anglais, cette lettre est également l’occasion d’établir une étude comparative avec le droit européen de la concurrence.

Antitrust Letter #21 PDF: here

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Table of contents / Sommaire

The DoJ gives some indications on its policies in term of essential patents and SSOs
Le DoJ donne des indications en matière de brevets essentiels et de SSOs

The Supreme Court rules in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC
La Cour Supreme rend sa décision dans l’affaire North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC

FTC’s commissioner Wright calls for a vote on new guidelines for the FTC Act Section 5
Le commissaire Wright appelle la FTC a voter sur les lignes directrices à la Section 5 du FTC Act

Bill Baer gives a new speech on antitrust policies
Bill Baer délivre un nouveau discours en matière de politique concurrentielle

American Express sanctioned by the Eastern District of New York
La société American Express condamnée par le Eastern District of New York

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Lire la suite

Le Concurrentialiste joins the iLINC network of Strategic Partners

Le Concurrentialiste is happy to announce that it is joining the iLINC Strategic Network Partners team.

What is it? iLINC is the European Network of Law Incubators. Its main objective is to facilitate the provision of free legal support to start-ups while, at the same time, offering postgraduate law students the opportunity to engage in professional practice in the fast-moving and highly exciting world of technology start-ups. With the objective of “establishing a European network of law incubators that bridge ICT Entrepreneurs and Start-ups with Law Students“, iLINC was established as a project funded by the European Commission under Seventh Framework Programme.

What is a law clinic or law incubator? In general terms, a law (or legal) clinic is a nonprofit law practice that serves the public interest. The iLINC law incubators are university-based entities that focus on providing free legal support to ICT start-ups. With a strong prevalence in the US, law clinics originated as a method of practical teaching of law school students. The academic clinics are usually directed by clinical professors.

Who is it? iLINC has four ‘Core Partners’ who are responsible for establishing the network: Queen Mary University of London, the Universities of Amsterdam and KU Leuven, and the Hans Bredow Institute for Media Research. The Brooklyn Law Incubator and Policy (BLIP) Clinic from Brooklyn Law School has been an invaluable source of inspiration as an ‘Associate Partner’ and is helping to establish iLINC as part of global network of law incubators together with EshipLaw in the US.

Our partnership. Le Concurrentialiste will publish articles about all iLINC clinics’ legal actions related to antitrust and intellectual property law. This partnership will be the occasion to hear about selected antitrust issues encountered by start-ups. The goal is to enlighten on what are the practical outcome of antitrust laws. It will help us to better understand what are all implications of antitrust law on the most innovative companies, and therefore, to propose more relevant reforms. In short, this partnership is built on the idea to enhance our laws in a true vertical fashion, from the start-ups to the legislator.

For more information about iLINC, please visit the website at https://www.ilincnetwork.eu/

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Le Concurrentialiste est heureux d’annoncer qu’il a rejoint aujourd’hui le réseau des partenaires associés à l’iLINC. L’iLINC est une nouvelle institution, soutenue par la Commission européenne, qui regroupe de nombreuses « clinics » (cabinets d’expertises et de conseils aux start-ups formés au sein des universités) à travers le monde. La Queen Mary University of London, Universities of Amsterdam, KU Leuven, et le Hans Bredow Institute for Media Research sont les quatre membres permanents chargés de constituer le réseau. La Brooklyn Law School apporte également un soutien majeur.

Ce partenariat sera très prochainement concrétisé par la publication d’articles qui évoqueront les actions engagées par l’iLINC en matière de droit de la concurrence et de propriété intellectuelle. Il permettra à terme de mieux comprendre quelles sont les contraintes imposées par le doit de la concurrence aux start-ups. Des propositions de réforme seront formées sur cette base.

Thibault Schrepel