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Archive for June 22nd, 2016

A Clash of Swords (The Intel Hearing, by Trevor Soames) (Part II)

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swords-crossed

Below is the second part of Trevor Soames‘ excellent, original and very detailed narration of the Intel Hearing held yesterday in Luxembourg. Chapter 1 deals with jurisdictional issues; Chapter 2 with rebates; Chapter 3 with procedural issues and Chapter 4 with fines. Enjoy!

Trevor

Prior to the commencement of proceeding the Court asked the parties to address their oral pleadings to three questions, as follows “Pursuant to Article 61(2) of the Rules of Procedure, the parties are requested to focus their pleadings on the Commission’s jurisdiction over the agreements concluded between Intel and Lenovo for 2006 and 2007. The parties are also requested to state their views regarding the impact of the judgment in Post Danmark (C-23/14) on the characterisation as loyalty rebates applied to agreements concluded by Intel and on the procedural handling of the interview conducted by the Commission with Mr D.”

The following report seeks to reflect fairly and as precisely as possible what the different parties said, dealing with each of the issues in turn (although, for the sake of brevity, the closing speeches are not recorded here).  As there is no Rapport d’Audience and as a result non-parties have no access to a summary of the pleadings, the oral argument provides an important insight into what each side has said to the Court in this very important case on a number of key issues.  Also, and importantly, the questions posed primarily to the Commission and the extensive Q&A by AG Wahl in particular perhaps gives some insight into the direction of travel he may be following in the preparation of his Opinion.  Will that Opinion provide a much hoped for clarification in this important area of competition law as well as a correction to the much-criticised judgment of the General Court in Intel?  Will AG Wahl’s Opinion have the same importance and impact of a number of his other Opinions in the competition law arena, such as in Cartes Bancaires.  We will have to wait and see.  And, of course, even after the AG opines we will have to wait to see the extent to which the CJEU follows his advice.

The report therefore seeks to provide a logically structured yet still verbatim account of yesterday’s hearing, with some commentary and observation contained in the final part (which will come tomorrow).

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Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

22 June 2016 at 4:58 pm

Posted in Uncategorized