Relaxing whilst doing Competition Law is not an Oxymoron

Archive for the ‘LLM in Competition and IP Law (University of Liege)’ Category

Upcoming Conferences on the Intel Judgment and on Commitment decisions

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Monsieur le Prof Petit is a quick guy in many respects. The most recent illustration of this characteristic of his is that, within a few days of the unofficial announcent that the Intel Judgment will be out on 12 June, he’s managed to arrange a seminar about it. It will take place on 16 June, and the program is available here: Conference Intel v Commission – Programme and Registration Among the speakers are two economist who were working at the Commission when the decicion was adopted (Damien Neven and Frank Maier Rigaud), as well as Robert O’Donoghue, Jean François Bellis and Damien Geradin.

A few days later, on the 5th of June, the Brussels School of Competition (“BSC”) and The Liège Competition & Innovation Institute (“LCII”) will be holding a half-day conference on “Commitments in EU Competition Policy” in Brussels. More info is available here.

Finally, Nicolas’ assistant at University has also asked me to advertise one more conference,this one about The repair of competition harms in France and in Europe: State of art and future changes. It’ll be held on Tuesday May 13th in Paris.



Conflicts of Interest in EU Competition Law

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It’s been two months since Nicolas temporarily left this blog for a half a year stint at DG Comp’s Private Enforcement Unit.

In the course of this short period he’s managed to single handedly unblock negotiations on the Commission’s proposal for a Directive on Antitrust Damages, and he’s adapted very well to the fonctionnaire lifestyle (meaning that he’s now taking some days of holidays) ;)  (jokes aside, congrats to Eddy de Smijter and to the rest of the people involved in the negotiations about the Directive).

As he anticipated in his farewell post, Nico is maintaining all academic activities. Within that context, he’ll soon be participating at a conference on one of is favorite topics organized by his University. So, on 24 April the Liège Competition and Innovation Institute will be hosting a conferece in Brussels on Conflicts of Interest, Ethical Rules and Impartiality in EU Competition Policy .

Although Nicolas knows that I don’t share the same passion for the topic (or maybe precisely because he does?), he’s asked me to advertise the conference here. So voilà. It will feature representatives from the General Court, the European Commission, the OECD, the Belgian Competition Authority, as well as lawyers in private practice, The New York Times’ Brussels correspondent and ULG Professors and Researches, including Nico himself. Even Emilly O’Reilly (the current Ombudsman, whom you may remember from this) is on the tentative list of speakers.

Why do I say I don’t share the passion for the issue? Because whereas some improvements could possibly be made in the rules -mainly regarding their transparency-, I think we should be careful in not overshooting the mark. Otherwise we’d risk creating the impression that there’s a major endemic problem where I’m not at all sure there’s one (I, for one, I’m much more concerned about the Commission’s recruitment processes and about internal rules that oblige experienced people to rotate jobs too often or too soon). Anyone working in Brussels for some time will have worked with, against and before friends or professional acquaintances (sometimes the line is drawn too thinly). In my experience who you have on the other side doesn’t matter (at least for good: I do know of situations where lawyers’ friends deciding on cases have been unnecessarily harsh on them just to make a point and dispel any concerns, and that’s as unfair as the contrary) and there are enough checks and balances to avoid problems. The only positive consequence of working before people who know you is that they will perhaps trust you, provided that you have never proved not worthy of that trust (and competition law practice is also a game of repeated interactions), but I don’t see what’d be wrong about that.

As I told Nico back when he wrote his controversial piece on this subject, what’s different in our field is that our “relevant market” is very narrow; we’re not so many lawyers/economists repeatingly interacting among us and with the same academics, officials and judges. The only solution to the perceived problem, as framed, would be to have virginal public officials and lawyers who have not moved around jobs, who know no one, who haven’t studied at the same places, who haven’t worked with different people and who haven’t established a personal rapport with those in their field. In my view, at least, in that case the cure (assuming it were feasible, quod non) would be worse than the disease.

That said, considering the speaker line-up I’ve no doubt the conference will be most interesting.


Xmas Gift

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My Xmas gift here: Poster – LLM in Competition and IP Law, the new poster of the University of Liege LL.M in Competition and IP law.

This programme keeps improving.

We have this year a very enthusiatic group of studs’ from all over Europe and beyond.

And for the upcoming year, we plan to (i) open a new academic position (senior lecturer) on a set of IP courses; and (ii) pursue the official lauching of the Liège Competition and Innovation Institute (LCII)

Written by Nicolas Petit

26 December 2012 at 12:10 pm

2011 Moot Court in French Competition Law (Concours Lamy de la Concurrrence)

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To the best of my knowledge, the Concours Lamy de la Concurrence (in French) is the sole moot court competition specifically devoted to antitrust law in the EU.

Last year, a team of Liege LL.M students won the first edition.

This year, our team reached only the semi-finals. I would nonetheless like to  congratulate E. Baretta, D. Auer, J. Dahmoun and their coach E. Provost for placing their crew before 10 other teams (out of 14). Congrats’ also and best of lucks to the finalists who seem to be very strong competition lawyers.

As you may understand, the primary purpose of this post is to make some advertisement for the final oral pleadings of the Concours, which will take place at the Paris Court of Appeals on 8 June (at 5.00 pm). For more information, please write to

Written by Nicolas Petit

6 June 2011 at 7:29 pm


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