Relaxing whilst doing Competition Law is not an Oxymoron

Archive for January 2014

A Proposal in relation to Commitments

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I attach hereafter a link to the presentation on Article 102 TFEU that I gave yesterday at the Mardis du droit de la concurrence.

I end up concluding that time is ripe for Communication on Article 9 (or a notice, or guidelines, or a guidance, or whatever a little formal).

But more importantly, I make substantive suggestions to modify the Article 9 tool (eg. to introduce a bifurcation within Article 9 for protracted infringements, etc.).

Commissioner Almunia has been described in the press as “Mr. Commitments”.

I believe that he would really leave office on a high note with the adoption of a Communication rationalising and codifying the practice of COMP in this controversial, and often misunderstood, area.

Présentation N PETIT – Mardi du droit de la concurrence – Article 102 TFUE

Written by Nicolas Petit

15 January 2014 at 12:37 pm

An announcement and a nomination

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bestes jurablog 2014 sonderpreis ausland

The announcement:  On 15 February my co-blogger Monsieur le Professeur Nicolas Laurent Max Petit (no kiddin’) will be joining DG COMP for a 6-month stint.  I’m curious as to how this experience will impact his views on the Europen Commission’s work.

Btw, Nico took care of the inaugural lecture at the IEB course in Madrid on Friday and did a great job. Tomorrow he’ll be delivering a must-attend presentation on Art. 102 at Les Mardis de la Concurrence in Brussels (the PPP will be made available here).

The nomination: Chillin’Competition has been nominated as one of the best foreign legal blogs in a competition ran by our favorite German site (Kartellblog) (as if we were able to read German…). Thanks to Johannes Zöttle and to whovever nominated us. Since it’s always nice to win something (or so I’m told  😉 ) you can vote for us here:

Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

13 January 2014 at 9:09 pm

Germanize me

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Written by Nicolas Petit

11 January 2014 at 7:21 pm

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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

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