Chillin'Competition

Relaxing whilst doing Competition Law is not an Oxymoron

Back to blogging + post hearing thoughts

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I’m back to blogging after my leave of absence from for work.

As some of you know, on Wednesday we had the oral hearing in case T-79/12, Cisco v Commission (Microsoft/Skype) . I will of course not write anything about the merits of the case, notably because (i) I shouldn’t –which is quite a good reason to start with-; and (ii) I’m deeply involved in the case, and therefore you should take anything I say with a huge grain of salt [however objective and accurate it would’ve been ;) ]

But since this blog is about personal thoughts, I nevertheless figured that I could share some not substance related thoughts on the experience.

Regardless of what might happen, the hearing was intense, interesting and even fun. If you like competition law, litigation, technology and opponents who are challenging, it can’t get much better.

There’s always an intra-story behind every case, and here there are a few interesting coincidences I can safely tell you about:

1)      We had to go to Luxembourg to discuss about one of its “national champions” (they had home court advantage!). In case you didn’t know, Skype’s headquarters are located in Luxembourg, at 23-29 Rive de foreclausen (bad joke, but couldn´t resist it..)

2)      I’ve been a student of both my partners (Luis Ortiz Blanco and José Luis Buendía), of one of our client’s counsels (Alvaro Ramos) and of our opponent (Jean Yves Art was a truly good merger control professor in Bruges).

3)      The very issues dealt with were actually the subject of my LLM thesis and of my interrupted PhD research, which was convenient. I’ve to thank Pablo Ibañez for initially suggesting the topic;

4)      Another coincidence is that literally a few minutes after the hearing, while we were having lunch at the canteen (decent grill, actually), Microsoft announced and explained the activation of the Lync-Skype bridge of which we had been talking about all morning (no kiddin'; that’s what I call interesting timing…). I’m trying to set it up in my computer at work right now (even after 4 months of fights with our IT department we were never allowed to download Skype at work…)

After the hearing I made the joke that I should now find a new purpose in life. This earned me a couple of gentle reminders: one from my partners, who gently pointed out to the pile of pending stuff that I’ve waiting, and another from my girlfriend, who subtly reminded me that I’ve some wedding planning pending too…

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Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

31 May 2013 at 3:10 pm

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