Relaxing whilst doing Competition Law is not an Oxymoron

Archive for October 2013

The Article 102 TFEU Bible is Out

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Many competition bibles are released lately.

Today’s bible is clearly, and without the shadow of a doubt, THE reference on Article 102 TFEU.

I guess everyone should thank Robert O’Donoghue and Jorge Padilla for the assistance they have provided to the competition community since the 1st ed.

There is a world before and a world after “The Law and Economics of Article 102 TFEU“.

Clearly, this book should be compulsory reading for anyone approaching the law of abuse of dominance.

I guess it should even be subsidised by agencies.

I paste below the official announcement on Hart Publishing’s website.

The bottom line on what the publishing market tells us: a good bible needs a Spanish author (with the possible exception of this one :)).

New 2nd Edition

The Law and Economics of Article 102 TFEU

By Robert O’Donoghue and Jorge Padilla

The Law and Economics of Article 102 TFEU is a comprehensive, integrated treatment of the legal and economic principles that underpin the application of Article 102 TFEU to the behaviour of dominant firms. Traditional concerns of monopoly behaviour, such as predatory pricing, refusals to deal, excessive pricing, tying and bundling, discount practices and unlawful discrimination are treated in detail through a review of the applicable economic principles, the case law and decisional practice and more recent economic and legal writings. In addition, the major constituent elements of Article 102 TFEU, such as market definition, dominance, effect on trade and applicable remedies are considered at length. Jointly authored by a lawyer and an economist, The Law and Economics of Article 102 TFEU contains an integrated approach to the legal and economic principles that frame policy in this major area of competition law.  Although written primarily with practitioners and in-house lawyers in mind, it is essential reading for anyone with an interest in competition law enforcement against monopoly behaviour.

Robert O’Donoghue is a barrister at Brick Court Chambers, London and Brussels.

A Jorge Padilla is Senior Managing Director and Head of Compass Lexecon Europe.

October 2013   1078pp   Hbk   9781849461399

RSP: £145 / €188

20% Discount Price: £116 / €150.40

Order Online in the UK, EU and Rest of World

UK, EU and ROW :

If you would like to place an order you can do so through the Hart Publishing website (link above). To receive the discount please type the reference ‘CCB’ in the voucher code field and click ‘apply’.

Written by Nicolas Petit

15 October 2013 at 1:53 pm

The Procedural Bible is out

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The 3rd edition of EU Competition Procedure (Oxford University Press) is out.

I’m the least objective reviewer, because its editor is Luis Ortiz Blanco, who, among many other things, is the person because of whom I work in competition law (he essentialy planned my whole professional career the very first day he interviewed me for an internship, when I was only 20).

For this third edition Luis has brought together a truly exceptional team. In addition to my colleagues Konstantin Jorgens, Marcos Araujo and José Luis Buendía, who, together with Kieron Beal, Gordon Blanke and Jean Paul Keppenehad already contributed to the 2nd edition, there have been very notable additions from the Commission’s Legal Service and DG Comp, namely: Carlos Urraca, Ralf Sauer, Corneliu Hodlmeyr, Manuel Kellerbauer, Nicolas von Lingen and Maria Luisa Tierno Centella.

The book (a short read of over 1,200 pages) deals in more depth than any other source with procedural issues in antitrust, merger control, State aid, public undertakings and exclusive/special rights, competition enforcement in the EEA and arbitration. It’s a must-have.

I’ll do my best to get you an invite for the launching party, like last time.

Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

14 October 2013 at 7:05 am

Antitrust tidbits

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– On Friday Brazil’s CADE announced that it’s also investigating Google pursuant to a complaint filed by Microsoft (see here). The investigation appears to address the very same practices previously investigated by the FTC and DG Comp, on which we’ve already commented ad nauseam. I may reduce my coverage of all Google-related issues (despite the attention we’ve paid to that case in recent times, there’s world beyond that in antitrust), but given that my firm is finally! currently betting big in Latin America (see here), I’ll now be spending more time looking at competition law developments over there, and possibly commenting on them here. Btw, if you’re interested, there is a very good blog on competition law in Latin America.

– Some of you may have wondered about how the Federal Government shutdown in the States is affecting antitrust enforcement. If that’s the case, here are the contingency plans set up by the DOJ and the FTC.  On a non-antitrust related note, I’d strongly recommend you to check out Jon Stewart’s hilarious coverage of the shutdown:  Rockin’ Shutdown Eve

– Headhunting season remains open in the Brussels legal market, with David Hull also leaving Covington (third partner to leave in recent weeks following Lars Kjolbye and G.Berrisch) to join VanBael & Bellis.  Speaking of headhunting, for some interesting thorughts on the Brussels recruiting world, check out Steve Meier’s blog.

– A friend sent me this piece from on 10 Reasons to Leave BigLaw. Don’t think that a good part of what it says applies to everyone, but it’s always good to measure your choices against a contrarian -even if arguably exaggerated- view.

– Certainly the most relevant thing that happened in the antitrust field in the past few days (or maybe not) was my presentation about Interoperability in the payments industry last Thursday in Brussels 🙂  Here’s my presentation: Interop_Payments_Lamadrid (only makes sense if you click on slideshow).

Until I was invited to do this I’d frankly never paid much atention to the much-hyped mobile payment fever, but have now discovered a most interesting area. As I explained at the conference, if smartphones and payments have received so much antitrust scrutiny on their own, their marriage will be something like an antitrust lawyers’Nirvana!

The sector shares all the interesting features of high tech (multi-layered, multi-sided, strong network effects, rapid evolution, etc.) but has the peculiarity to feature both strong incumbents and stong entrants (traditional payment service providers, mobile network operators, tech companies…), all of which enjoy some degree of market power that they’re trying to leverage. The business strategy aspects of it are most interesting: everyone is setting up alliances (often with natural competitors), often betting on multiple horses, and at the same time acting unilaterally not to renounce the opportunity to reign the market (hence the Game of thrones slide). At the same time, we’re told that all players will end up holding hands and competing happily in an interoperable candyland where consumers’ life will be made easy and pleasant (hence the following slide). My bet is that on that road a number of interesting competition issues will arise, notably concerning access to the “secure element” (which is the key to the provision of m-payment services).

Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

12 October 2013 at 5:17 pm

Must reads

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I’ve been rather inactive here in the past few days due to work-related obligations, and my sense of guilt has been increased by the merits of other competition law bloggers:

– In the past few days the main media outlets in Spain have echoed a controversy related to creation of the new competition authority (see here and here for my take on the reform; btw, the new competition watchdog is operative since yesterday) that has unfortunately culminated in the stepping down of a very able Director of Investigation. A voice that has resonated very specially has been that of a fellow-blogger (and frequent commentator on this blog), Jesús Alfaro. You may or may not agree with everything or anything of what Jesús says, but you certainly won’t read anything as bold and fearless as his blog post and his article on the subject (in Spanish though). Only for that it deserves that we bring it to your attention. See here and here.

– On another front, one of the most worthy people I’ve come to meet thanks to this blog has started his own:  (not saying the authors’ name to force you to satisfy your curiosity by clicking the link…). Congrats to him (and compliments to DG Comp for having authorized him to do it). We’ll try to maximize cross-fertilization of ideas (and possibly charge an interchange fee, given that, according to basic economics, the ideas in Chillin’Competition -needless in a haystack- should be more valuable due to their scarcity) 🙂

Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

8 October 2013 at 5:44 pm


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Assuming that the whole fuzz around the Google investigation is about tactics seeking to abusively deny search scale to rivals, the remedy to restore competition may not be where the Commission and parties are eyeing.

A less intrusive remedy for Google (and its rivals) exists: Unwind the commitment imposed on Microsoft in 2009 to pre-install competing browsers and in particular Mozilla which has Google as the default search engine.

With this Mozilla, and in turn Google, will lose some traction in search.

A possible alternative would be to force Google to install a “search engine ballot screen” in Chrome to overcome end users’ inertia when placing search words in the engine. One could also think of forcing Mozilla to have Bing as its default search engine for a certain share of the market.  But this, clearly would be less acceptable to Google.

The bottom-line: there’s more than one option to improve competition in internet search.


Written by Nicolas Petit

7 October 2013 at 1:46 pm


with 6 comments


Lucky me, I made it to the NYT again, on the Google investigation. See here.

To be honest, my quote is very lame.

I had a better one though. But it did not make it through.

James Kanter reveals it on twitter: ‘Enforcers risk becoming Don Quixote figures, tilting at windmills.

The point is: 4 years to solve a high-tech case under a settlement, come on…

4 years ago, Nokia was the worlwide leader in handsets. And Blackberry was the dominant smartphone player.

In those sectors, 4 years is an eternity…

And antitrust enforcers may not be far from Quixote, who fell into the illusion that he was fighting a cause that matters, i.e. fighting giants which in reality were innocuous windmills.

Written by Nicolas Petit

2 October 2013 at 7:34 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

A question to our readers

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Last week at the BSC, Benoit Durand and myself were asked a question that we could not answer.

Does any formal EU act govern the appointment, mission and duties of the Chief Economist? If so, is this act available and where?

Our best guess was that there must be something, as for the decision setting out the function and terms of reference of the hearing officer (see here). But given that we had never seen it, we guessed that it was not publicly available.

We promised we’d do our best this week to get ahold of it.

So if any reader has it or knows how to get it, please let us know.



Written by Nicolas Petit

1 October 2013 at 7:18 am

Posted in Uncategorized