Relaxing whilst doing Competition Law is not an Oxymoron

Archive for July 2011

Closed for the summer

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It is time for Chillin´Competition to take a summer break.

The past few months have been hectic for Nicolas and for me both at work (we´re working on really interesting cases, books and papers on which we´ll comment in a few weeks) and on this blog (where we´ve managed to publish a post a day; this is our 429th post!)

Chilling Competition has already accomplished most of the objectives that we set at the beginning of the year, and has exceeded all our expectations in many ways. Thanks to you, we recently crossed the 150.000 visits threshold; we  currently have nearly 500 visits a day, 200 members in our LinkedIn group, and more than 150 subscribers from all over the world. We´re even having lots of visits on our new youtube channel thanks to “The Raid“!

Most importantly, we´ve had a lot of fun. If you enjoyed what you´ve read too, then we have so far succeeded.

We´re committed to getting better, and for that reason we´ve got some quite interesting new projects on the pipeline that we´ll be announcing right after the holidays. 

It´s a pity that we won´t be able to provide you with timely coverage of any competition law related developments that may take place in the coming days, such as the first-ever non-consensual Commission decision withdrawing an NCA´s competence to handle an ongoing case under Art. 11(6) of Regulation 1/2003, which should be out soon (you can consider this to be the last Chillingleak of the season..)

Have a great summer!

Nicolas  &  Alfonso

Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

26 July 2011 at 6:15 pm

THE RAID: An antitrust movie

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In Chilling Competition we have devoted a number of posts to antitrust-related movies (see our previous posts on: “First ever Hollywood competition law movie?”; “OFT goes to Hollywood”, and, very specially, our nominations to the “Antitrust Oscars”). Given that all of those posts received a crazy amount of visits, we can reasonably presume that you too like this sort of videos.

Today Chilling Competition is proud to release a true gem, a “classic” on its own right that we have digitalized for our readers: The Raid.

In our opinion, The Raid is the best and funniest antitrust movie of all times. It has everything: it is a comedy with action, romance, and an educational purpose (it was filmed -a few years ago- as part of a compliance program for Neste).

If you think we’re not objective, then you’re absolutely right:

The Raid is directed and starred by very special actors to whom we profess great admiration: General Court’s Judge Marc van der Woude (who plays the character of Luc Desmet, a Commission inspector); Toni Huopalainen (who, in addition to being the scriptwriter, plays the role of European Commission official Tom Jenssen); and our friend and favorite competition lawyer Luis Ortiz Blanco (to see a moustached Luis in his role as a priest confessing a cartelist jump to minute 20.33).

A million thanks go to all three of them for granting us the permission to digitalize their movie and for their great sense of humor.

Enough for introductions…

Click here to watch THE RAID  

(Only accessible on Chilling Competition’s youtube channel via this link).

Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

22 July 2011 at 12:01 am

Posted in Jokes, Uncategorized

Competition sound-alikes (2)

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Yesterday, we missed a big one (tx to Sarah Long for the pointer):

John Davies (OECD)  with John Davies (Freshfields) 


Written by Nicolas Petit

21 July 2011 at 1:07 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Competition sound-alikes

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We work in a small community and, funnily enough, a number of esteemed colleagues share similar names.

So our readers avoid confusion at social events, here is a recap. Do not confuse:

Simon Bishop (RBB Econ) with Bill Bishop (CRA International) 

William Kolasky (WilmerHale) with William Kovacic (FTC ) 

Damien Geradin (Covington) with Damien Gerard (Louvain)

Mario Monti (former Commissioner)  with Giorgio Monti (EUI) 

Peter Whelan (Uni East Anglia) and Anthony Whelan (EU Commission) 

Myself  with a former Howrey chap, Nicholas Little (no kiddin’ here) 

Will come back tomorrow with a post on competition dynasties.

Written by Nicolas Petit

20 July 2011 at 8:58 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Promotion (including self-promotion)

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Yesterday, I made my mom and dad very proud. I was interviewed by the French newspaper Liberation.

The interview is about credit rating agencies and competition law. It is a follow-up to my blog post a few days ago. See link below for the text or here on the blog of Jean Quatremer.

So much for the self-promotion: Garrigues decided to promote Alfonso to senior associate level! A fully deserved decision: Alfonso is one of the most promising, brightest and funniest AT lawyer out there. Congrats!

This makes his mom, dad and co-blogger very proud too.

Libération (2)

Written by Nicolas Petit

16 July 2011 at 1:58 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Antitrust Quote of the Day

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Neelie Kroes’s trademark has long been her tough public statements. I was not a great fan of that.

Now, while the master of DG COMP, she said something quite right about economic analysis: “[e]conometrics, for example, are a useful servant, but a terrible master.”

Here’s the source of the quote.

Written by Nicolas Petit

14 July 2011 at 7:01 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Breaking news! Real Madrid´s antitrust case against F.C Barcelona

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Surprising competition authorities as well as its own players –who have just started the pre-season in Los Angeles- Real Madrid C.F. (hereinafter “RM”) has apparently lodged an antitrust complaint against FC.Barcelona(“FCB”). RM alleges that FCB has abused the dominant position it has enjoyed in the European and Spanish football market for the past 3 years.

Some rumors point at a charismatic RM employee as the mastermind of this complaint, which was submitted on the same day he returned from his holidays in  his hometown of Setúbal (Portugal).

The complaint is based on the following grounds:

Dominance. The complaint alleges that FCB is dominant in as much as it enjoys a 77% market share (having won 10 out of the 13 titles in play in the past 3 years). A more detailed analysis reveals that FCB controls 75% of the Spanish market (having won 6 out of 8 competitions) and 80% of the EU market (having won 4 out of 5 competitions).

Barriers to entry-Vertical Integration. According to RM´s complaint, FCB´s vertical integration makes it impossible for other clubs to gain a foothold on this market. The complaint explains that for the past 20 years a subsidiary of FCB (La Masía) has produced players (e.g. Messi, Iniesta or Xavi) with such features that enable them to correctly interoperate/play only with other FCB players and not with those of competitors. Besides, injured or retired FCB players can be constantly replaced by a new folk from La Masía, thus guaranteeing an unfair market control by the alleged abuser.

Abusive Behavior. According to the complaint, the misconduct of FCB also includes “acting and faking”. Such conduct would have allegedly led regulators and referees to incur in errors in the events where a direct competition between RM and FCB has taken place. In this sense, the complaint appears to be based on the General Court´s Astra Zeneca Judgment.

The complaint – in which the word “why” is repeated 17 times– also mentions the reinforcement of the situation by international organizations such as Unicef and the reputed publication The Economist, which recently published an article entitled The Catalan Kings, where FCB virtues were praised but its misconduct was not denounced.

Remedies sought. RM seeks the cessation of the allegedly anti-competitive conduct as well as the reparation of the damage suffered during these years. In particular, RM has asked the competition authorities to impose both structural and behavioral remedies on FCB.

Some suggested structural remedies would consist of divesting some of the most decisive assets of FCB (“primarily FCB should get rid of Lionel Messi or, subsidiarily, the binomial Xavi – Iniesta should be somehow split”).  Possible behavioral remedies would include “restricting the possession of the ball to no more than 50% in any game” or “sharing of know-how with rivals before, during and after any game”.


[Note by Alfonso: César Chaparro (a very good friend, a former antitrust lawyer, and currently an official at the World Bank –based in Washington DC and Nairobi-) has sent us this report about a competition case that could bring about a revolution in world football. As you have seen, it´s a joke with which César –who is a great guy but happens to support Barça (nobody is perfect) wanted to tease me. Given that the lawyer who represents Real Madrid in competition related matters is a subscriber of this blog it would also be interesting to find out about his opinion on this “news” too..)  And if you really want to know how FC Barcelona trains, watch this]

Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

13 July 2011 at 8:03 pm

Posted in Guest bloggers, Jokes

Slides – Course on EU competition law – Summer Program FUSL

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Hereafter, I attach the slides I used yesterday for a lecture in the context of a summer program in EU and International Business Law.

I gave the lecture with D. Hull (Covington). Good fun. Next time, I’ll organize my party on a Friday, so that I feel even fresher the next Monday.

Thanks again to Prof. Strowel who invited me to give this lecture.

I understand that those materials may be of limited interest to our readers, who are all eminent experts of competition law. Yet the presentation contains a number of good pics.

Summer Program – Slides EU Competition Law – Hull and Petit

Written by Nicolas Petit

12 July 2011 at 12:30 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

New job openings

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Last week Nico started using this blog as a way of advertising available jobs.  In line with our often stated belief that there´s life out there beyond competition law, we´ve decided to provide you with info on other less obvious but certainly interesting work  alternatives.

So here´s the first one: the legal tabloid has a great piece on how Drunk Driving Defense can be an alternative to “Big Law” jobs. This doesn´t appear to be a small market niche: I once (completely unitentionally) found a whole section of book stacks at Harvard Law School´s library solely devoted to the law of Drunk Driving.

So far vacancies are only available in the U.S. However, I´m pretty sure that Brussels would make a good geographic market for a similar venture. Actually, my co-blogger hosted a party at his place this Saturday and I can tell you: it was crowded with potential clients..

(Needless to say, drunk driving is a hugely serious issue, and the last part on Nico´s party was only a joke.  Not only no one “drove under the influence”, but also most people were only driving strollers..)  😉

Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

11 July 2011 at 4:47 pm

Christine Varney on the move

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It has been reported that Christine Varney, the U.S. Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust will be stepping down from her job in order to join Cravath, Swaine & Moore.

Varney´s professional bio is probably the one within the antitrust world that I´m most envious of  has impressed me the most. Not only she has been Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust (2009-11), a FTC Commissioner (1994-97), and a Partner at Hogan Hartson; she has also worked as General Counsel to the Democratic National Committee (1989 to 1992), Chief Counsel to the Clinton/Gore Campaign (1991), General Counsel to the 1992 Presidential Inaugural Committee (1992), and Assistant to President Clinton and Secretary to the Cabinet (1993–1994).  Not bad, huh?

P.S. Could anyone imagine her EU counterpart -Commissioner Almunia- ever making a similar move?

Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

8 July 2011 at 12:45 pm