Archive for October 2010
Damien Geradin and myself have just posted a new paper on ssrn. This paper is work in progress. It is entitled “Judicial Review in European Union Competition Law: A Quantitative and Qualitative Assessment“. The paper tries to be a little innovative, in providing an empirical assessment (numbers and stats) on judicial review. As usual, comments are most welcome.
For regular users of ssrn, please note that hardcopies of papers posted on ssrn.com will soon be made available, and will cost a little less than 10$.
I believe that we´re the first ones to report the following changes within DG COMP (approved today by the Commission and effective from 1 November):
Nadia Calviño has been appointed Deputy Director General in DG Market. In order to replace her, Cecilio Madero has been appointed Acting Deputy Director General for Antitrust & Mergers.
In addition, Joachim Luecking will be acting as Director of C; Eduardo Martinez will act as Head of C/1; and Gert-Jan Koopman will become Deputy Director General for State aid.
This is really (heart)breaking antitrust news. Paul the Octopus died yesterday at the Sea Life Centre in Oberhausen.
This is dramatic news for the competition community: precisely yesterday I saw that the market intelligence company Mlex had very recently referred to Paul as Damien Neven´s replacement (see the great picture above, extracted from the October-December 2010 issue of Mlex magazine).
The aquarium has announced that Paul´s body is in cold storage while decisions are made on ”how best to mark his passing”. Paul will be given his own small burial plot and a permanent shrine would be erected in his memory”. For a modest idea from chillingcompetition as to how Paul could better rest in peace, see here
Many antitrust cholars are reluctant to equate an IPR with a monopoly. This is because, under conditions of equal access to capital and investments, any firm can also benefit from the protection of IPRs, and challenge the monopoly holder with innovative, IPRed products/services.
Our supreme judges in Luxembourg seem however to be a little less cautious. At para 64 of C-468/06 to C‑478/06, Sot. Lélos kai Sia EE and Others v GlaxoSmithKline AEVE,  ECR I-7139, the Court of Justice held that:
“a medicine is protected by a patent which confers a temporary monopoly on its holder, the price competition which may exist between a producer and its distributors, or between parallel traders and national distributors, is, until the expiry of that patent, the only form of competition which can be envisaged“.
This wording is unfortunate. The Court seems unaware of the fact that within a same relevant market, there can be competition amongst various patented products.
(Image possibly subject to copyrights: source here)
We hadn´t realized, but yesterdat chillingcompetition turned 1 !
It was on October 2oth that we started spreading the word around about the existence of this blog. Nicolas probably knew what to expect after the hotchpotch experience, but I´ve been frankly surprised by the reach of this tool.
Chillingcompetition has had nearly 70.000 visits; its daily visits are currently in the order of 350 (and constantly increasing).
Moreover, its visitors are from very varied places (check the map on the lower right side of the web, right now showing visits from all over Europe, the US, China, Colombia. Kenya, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, India or Dubai).
We are proud that some people might find the posts here interesting, and we´re committed to improving all the many things that surely can be done better.
Thanks for your trust and interest in our stories!
Nicolas / Alfonso
My way of celebrating the Belgian competition day: I am off to France for the day.
In addition, I have been told I would have the opportunity to meet a legend of French competition economics, Prof. Michel Glais.
- In reading students dissertations, i keep being confronted with the erroneous view that a sunk cost is almost necessarily a fixed cost. This is simply untrue: when firms hire additional staff to increase their production scale, they incur training investments, which are sunk, variable costs.
- Also, students apparently fail to understand why marginal costs typically increase. This is because contrary to what is often said, firms face in the long term decreasing returns: diminishing productivity, costly access to input when quantities purchased increase, etc. (also, in the long run, additional fixed costs must be incurred)
(Image possibly subject to copyrights: source here)
In the past both Nicolas and I have resorted to this blog to express our views on the issue of competition lawyers who can get no satisfaction (jobwise) (see here and here). It now seems that U.S. Law Schools are reacting to the perception of lawyers being unhappy by offering their students the chance to study this phenomenon in depth with a view to coming up with some sensible solutions.
Those are good news. There are many of us who, although enjoying what we do (or precisely because of this), believe that many things could be done differently and better within the legal profession. The best lawyers deserve better. In the long term, outstanding legal skills and excellent client service can only be offered by satisfied lawyers. Otherwise, our profession risks losing new generations of not so short-sighted and highly skilled lawyers.
So far so good. The first BSC seminars were a great success. Simon Bishop (and B. Durand) are truly great speakers.
As some of you may have seen, we have decided to offer the BSC seminars on a modular basis. Because we are capacity constrained (we already have a good bunch of students), we can only accomodate a few registrations.
The next seminar is starting this Friday. J. Ysewyn and E. Sakkers will teach the law and econs of cartels for 15 hours.
For more info, please contact Pierre Sabbadini at email@example.com