Relaxing whilst doing Competition Law is not an Oxymoron

Archive for February 5th, 2018

What we have been doing (and what we haven’t)

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You may have noticed the blog has been less active in the past few weeks. If you had not realized but somehow suddenly felt more lucid, better informed and like you made more out of your time,  then that may explain it.

Our inactivity on the blog was due to a peak period at work (our respective peak periods have synchronized this time), and a few other things including:

-A firm presentation at the College of Europe titled What you always wanted to know about life in private practice and were too afraid to ask?”. The slides (not really much content but some pretty good images, including the one above) are available here: What you wanted to know about life in private practice but… (2018)  😉 [Btw, the context was a recruiting exercise which, of course, is also open to other candidates. If interested, shoot me a line]

-Some General Court hearings in Luxembourg last week in relation to the cases we discussed here. The hearings featured the finest discussions on selectivity in State aid that I have heard so far (not at all thanks to me, but to the judges, to our opponents at the Legal Service and to my colleague José Luis Buendía). It was a good reminder of the perks of this job and of why litigating is the best part of it. It also reinforced my view that hearings should enjoy greater publicity (perhaps in the form of transcripts); my notes of the hearing are more useful than most articles on these issues. We would all learn more, many would look at the Court with greater sympathy (Judgments in their current format do not always reveal the underlying legal discussion and the judges’ work, let alone in a reader-friendly way), and lawyers could be valued by how they do their work rather by the firm at where they do it (for more on that, see and old post here). The best imperfect substitute we now have is MLEX, so you can read their pieces on those hearings here and here (if you are subscribed, that is).

-On Friday I also participated in a seminar on the main developments of 2017 in the competition sphere, where we discussed mainly Coty, Intel and Google Shopping. The programme is available here: Seminar February 2 2018. I discussed some legal (not factual) aspects of the Google Shopping case (essentially about the applicable legal standard, the precedent it sets for vertical integration in multi-sided markets and about the notion of effects/foreclosure used in the decision) but did not prepare a presentation (rather Googled live what I wanted to show the audience, including these excellent graphs on the difference between correlation and causation). We may perhaps touch on the other elements sometime soon.

-On Friday Pablo could not join us as he was discussing the same cases… but in Florence. His lecture was part of a training programme for Judges run at the European University Institute. See the programme here.

-Some days ago we also responded to a few questions about legal blogging and about how it fits with legal practice; in the unlikely event that may be of interest, it’s available on the “State of Competition” blog, here.

What we have not done:

-We have not yet commented on the Qualcomm decision (we have been advised to wait and read beyond the press release prior to commenting), nor about another important State aid ruling having to do precisely with selectivity.

-We have not yet discussed Pablo’s forthcoming intervention (21 February) at “Digital Platforms and the Widening EU/US Competition Law and Regulation Gap” in London. Chaired by Ioannis Lianos, it will also feature Brice Allibert (DG Comp), Oliver Bethel (Google), Cristina Caffarra (CRA) , Damien Geradin (Euclid), Bill Kovacic (see his interview with us here), Ioannis Kokkoris (Queen Mary University), Florence Thepot (University of Glasgow) and the inimitable Superwuster (aka Tim Wu) (Columbia). If you feel like signing up, take a look at the programme here:

-We forgot to tell you here about some events, including about the upcoming W@Competition’s 2nd annual conference in Brussels on 1 March. The title “Is Disruptive Competition Disrupting Competition Enforcement”. The all-female list of nominees speakers includes phenomenal in-house lawyers, private practitioners, economists and enforcers. I will not be announcing any winners this year, so this time the whole event will be interesting. You can check it out and register here. Instead of meme-mugs for attendees, we suggest this gift.


Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

5 February 2018 at 8:32 pm

Posted in Uncategorized