Relaxing whilst doing Competition Law is not an Oxymoron

Archive for January 2014

Collaborative research (and some propaganda)

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This WE, I’ll be prepping for the Mardis du droit de la concurrence held at the Free University of Brussels (ULB) next Tuesday. The talk is about recent developments in the law of Article 102 TFEU (read in the last year). This is the propaganda bit of this post.

On substance, not much to report I am afraid. Pity that Intel is still stuck in the judicial pipeline.

So I thought of saying a few words on institutional developments. I’ll make the usual point on Article 9 commitments (and the less usual one that time is ripe for a communication on this, simply to clear away some ambiguities of R1/2003 and streamline the process). I’ll talk also of the // proceedings between CJEU and Commission in the ongoing smartphones war (with its recent article 15 addition) .

But there’s one thing I would like to do above all: question whether the Commission is sufficiently staffed to handle the flood of complaints that have been lodged before it, and in particular, before Unit C/3, Antitrust, IT, Internet and Consumer electronics. For this, I’d need more specific info on the number of formal complaints lodged. But despite the wealth of info available on COMP’s website, there’s no registry of formal complaints :(.

I have already asked this information to the official in charge, but they are understandably not able to disclose it.

So I today turn to you: could you help me re-compile the list of formal cases/complaints currently lodged before unit C/3? You can post this info as comment to this post or email me at

I also buy info on “ghost cases”, ie forgotten cases that are no longer on the radar screen of external observers: Dupont/Honeywell, Mathworks, Wikileaks, spare part cases etc.

And finally, I am a taker of any information of cases which have been relegated to the low end of the priority list of this Commission.

Besides this, I’ll submit that substantive law developments yield institutional effects. In my opinion, but this is my opinion only, the forms-based approach is in part responsible for the flurry of – weak – complaints that have been brought before COMP.

It is so elastic that it offers ammunition for ludicrous grievances. Yet another reason to embrace fully the economic approach of Article 102 TFEU.

PS: I Article 9-commit to negotiate a free ticket for those who help.

Written by Nicolas Petit

9 January 2014 at 3:01 pm

Pomposity v Social Value in Legal (and Antitrust) Scholarship

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I just saw this graph on Prof. Einer Elhauge’s LinkedIn account; the original source is Eric Posner’s blog (yes, the son of Richard Posner and a big name in his own right too).

I’d be curious to know about the underlying methodology (economic analysis seems to favor economy-related disciplines). It would seem as if an antitrust legal scholar had asked an economist to come up with a seemingly scientific study corroborating a given thesis. Not that this would ever happen in private practice…  🙂

Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

9 January 2014 at 1:12 pm


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In the course of the past few days and weeks some friends have asked us to advertise a few upcoming Competition-related happenings. We’ve taken our time, but here’s a compilation of stuff worth knowing about:

The 3rd edition of Concurrence’s Antitrust Writing Awards is now ongoing.  You can vote for your favorite piece before the 1st of March.

Harvard’s European Law Association (HELA) has scheduled its first Antitrust conference, to be held on 24 March. It will deal with the informal application of  competition law in the U.S. and the EU. Click here to check out the call for papers and to find out more info: Hela_Call_Abstracts_updated (and apologies to Zena Prodromou for not having done this before!)

On 30 January the ABA’s Section of Antitrust Law will be holding a networking reception + a panel (Inquiries into Competition and Alleged Misconduct in UK Financial Services) in London. Click here for more info.

The annual junior competition lawyer’s conference will take place on 31 January. This is an initiative that we’ve always supported and that would be nice to see replicated in places other than the UK. Click here for more info.

And also on 31 January we will be hosting the first seminar within the competition law course that Luis Ortiz Blanco and I co-direct in Madrid. It will be devoted to Recent developments regarding the application of Article 101 TFEU (including damage claims, anti-competitive agreements in the pharma industry and the fight against cartels in a context of economic crisis), and will feature Fernando Castillo de la Torre (EC’s Legal Service), Eric Gippini Fournier (EC’s Legal Service), (Carlos III University, EAGCP and CEPR), Mario Mariniello (Bruegel), Helmut Brokelmann (MLAB), Maria Luisa Tierno (DG Comp), Natalia Fabra (Universidad Carlos III, EAGCP), Flor Castilla (EC’s Legal Service), Borja Martínez (Uría Menéndez), Antonio Martínez (Allen&Overy), Jesús Alfaro (Linklaters) and Gerald Miersch (DG Comp). I’ll post the final program here as soon as it’s ready.

Very importantly, a reminder is in order: on February 7-8 AIJA and the College of Europe will be holding the not-to-be-missed conference Antitrust 2.0 Competition Law and Technology.

P.S. We’ve also been asked to mention that the Swedish Competition Authority is taking steps to publish decisions in English. Our source suggests to present this as one of the major 10 developments on the year, which I’m a bit hesitant to do 😉 However, the Swede’s move is commendable, particularly when compared to what other national competition authorities do (the new Spanish authority doesn’t even have an English version for its webpage…)

Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

8 January 2014 at 5:49 pm

Conference on Preliminary rulings in EU Competition Law

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In Bruges, on 17 January, the GCLC will celebrate its 10 years with a conference on preliminary rulings in EU competition law.

For more, see here.


Written by Nicolas Petit

8 January 2014 at 9:20 am

Posted in Uncategorized

New Paper

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A new paper, this time with co-written with an IP specialist, Prof. Sven Bostyn (University of Liverpool).

We take a shot at the flawed patent=monopoly equation.

Here’s the abstract:

A patent right is an exclusionary right. With it, the patent holder can exclude third parties from making, using, selling, etc. products or processes protected by his patent. In the past, this right has also been referred to as a ‘monopoly right’ and this has lead to considerable confusion about the scope of patent rights and the role of the patent system in a modern economy. This paper seeks to provide some clarity on this issue and highlight the distinction between the exclusionary right granted by patent law and the notion of monopoly in economic regulation“.

Written by Nicolas Petit

6 January 2014 at 6:23 pm

New Book on Merger Remedies

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European Merger Remedies

Law and Policy

By Dorte Hoeg

As merger transactions become more complex, so do the remedies involved. This book seeks to identify and examine the most important aspects of merger remedies, which have emerged and evolved in the European Commission’s policy and practice over the past 20 years. The in-depth analysis of applicable provisions and guidelines is structured in accordance with a typical ‘remedies lifecycle’: the negotiation, submission, assessment, adoption, implementation and enforcement of remedies. Furthermore, numerous conditional clearance decisions and judgments as well as studies and legal literature on the subject are described and put into a coherent analytical framework with the aim of providing as much nuance as possible in the evaluation of the Commission’s past and present remedies policy and practice.

While the Commission indisputably has accomplished numerous successes in its remedies enforcement over the years, it has also encountered some significant obstacles and shortcomings along the way. To this effect, the final chapter in the book critically assesses whether the current framework, which has remained unchanged since 2008, continues to provide an adequate regulatory response to today’s remedies issues and challenges. Where adjustments and improvements are deemed desirable or necessary, possible measures are considered.

Dorte Hoeg recently obtained her Doctor of Philosophy from King’s College London based on a thesis on EU merger remedies. She is a former national expert and case-handler at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition and has also previously worked for the Danish Competition Authority, including representing the authority in the EU’s Advisory Committee on Concentrations.

December 2013   288pp     Hardback     9781849464116     RSP: £65 / €85

20% Discount Price: £52 / €68 (+ Postage and Packing)


Order Online

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’.

Hart Publishing Ltd, 16C Worcester Place, Oxford, OX1 2JW

Telephone Number: 01865 517 530

Fax Number: 01865 510 710



Written by Nicolas Petit

3 January 2014 at 7:44 pm