Relaxing whilst doing Competition Law is not an Oxymoron

Archive for June 16th, 2016

Mixed bag (Intel, Leniency, Msft/Linkedin, State aid, marriages and Twittelphants)

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-The ECJ Intel hearing will take place next Tuesday (21 June). Chillin’Competition would like to be there, and since Pablo and I have real works to do we are looking for Special Envoy to cover it for us. We offer the blog to anyone who is able to attend and wants to comment it for our readers. As compensation, a few beers or a lunch. If interested, drop us a line ! Our offer is open to lawyers, students, clerks who may prefer anonymity, professional journalists or other anonymous contributors. It’s about time that someone writes something serious in here…

Wouter Wils  just published a new piece discussing the past 20 years of leniency policy in the EU. It’s available here. Some might think it’s an obituary given recent concern about its future… 😉

-Speaking of leniency, an ECJ Judgment rendered last Friday (mitigating my most recent cartel litigation stats) concludes that the fact that the Commission is in possession of a document implies that it has knowledge of the content of that document (even if it hadn’t really understood it or realized about it), so the fact that a leniency applicant made it aware of elements the Commission wasn’t aware of cannot be rewarded. I’m not exaggerating, para. 72 of the Judgment says “it must be held that the Commission’s possession of evidence amounts to knowledge of its content, regardless of whether that evidence was actually examined and analysed by its services”. Well, that is the logic I apply each time I buy a book (assuming its possession will automatically mean knowledge of its content regardless of whether I analyse it), and my experience tells me that may not be right. Btw, that reasoning may open some interesting new doors (e.g. for determining what is a notification under State aid law or for companies accused of providing incomplete or incorrect info…).

-Many of you have asked in private about our opinion concerning competition issues in Microsoft’s acquisition of Linkedin. Not that I have given it much thought, but since Microsoft is a shareholder in Facebook, this could perhaps be a nice test case for Elhauge‘s “Horizontal Shareholding” theories.

-Instead of writing on this blog I have been commenting on others. For an interesting discussion on the notion of beneficiary/advantage in relation to a case in which I’m directly concerned (and on which my litigation stats crucially depend given that we are acting in 25 proceedings against a tax State aid decision recently annulled by the General Court and now appealed before the ECJ), see the comments to this post on European Law Blog (seems my last comment is still awaiting moderation).

-Pablo has been busy as well, speaking to judges in Madrid, to College of Europe students in Bruges, celebrating his birthday and his against all odds successful marriage proposal (congrats to him, not so much to her), etc. 😉

-And for those of you wondering what happened with Commissioner Vestager´s Twittelphant, it seems like after a premature celebration we might NOT be the winners (even after resorting to the dirty tactic of leveraging the blog’s market power). Since my son had already given it a name I will now have to get him another elephant!


Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

16 June 2016 at 3:48 pm

Posted in Uncategorized