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Archive for February 28th, 2013

Post Danmark – More than just One Case

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Our friend Christian Bergqvist has offered us a most interesting post on the national sequel of the CJEU judgment in Post Danmark. Christian is an associated professor at the University of Copenhagen/Faculty of Law. He holds a PhD in competition law and has specialized in  particular on dominant firm conduct and the interplay of Article 102 TFEU and sector specific regulation. For more, see here.

PS: for a good reminder of the ruling and of its implications for future competition policy, I advise the reading of the excellent piece of E. Rousseva and M. Marquis (which suggests (in my view rightly) that the Court eventually embraced the Commission’s approach set forth in the Guidance paper).   

About a week ago, on Friday 15 February, the Danish Supreme Court delivered its ruling in Post Danmark vs Konkurrenceraadet. This judgment settles the national case behind the (fabulous) 2012 CJEU ruling Post Danmark (C-209/10). Given the strong pronouncements made by the CJEU it does not come as a surprise that the Danish Supreme Court eventually decided to quash the challenged (national) decision on grounds of an incorrect material test. Rather than concluding that discriminatory conduct was per se able to exclude a competitor, the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority, should  have conducted an “equally efficient competitor test”, or something close (the latter being my interpretation). Absent this, nothing conclusive could be decided on the existence of an abuse.

The ruling of the Supreme Court leaves little space for ambiguity. Yet, the final word might not have been said on the matter. First, the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority can at least theoretically reopen the case and conduct a proper analysis. This, however, looks quite unlikely. Second, back in 2009, the alleged “victim” of the exclusionary behavior (Forbruger-Kontakt) had successfully filed an action for damages, and was subsequentely awarded DKK 75 million (app. EUR 10 million). Unsurprisingly, Post Danmark has appealed this decision to the Danish Supreme Court, which is yet to decide on the matter.

This short post seeks to offer some thoughts on this issue. Prior to this, I provide some background information on the initial EU case.

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Written by Nicolas Petit

28 February 2013 at 1:02 pm