Relaxing whilst doing Competition Law is not an Oxymoron

Archive for the ‘Polls and quizzes’ Category

Antoine Winckler’s Quiz

leave a comment »

Competition law quizzes are getting popular:

The International Committee of the ABA’s Antitrust Section is apparently running an Antitrust Trivia (thanks to Vera Sopeña for the pointer!)

As a follow-up of our quizz on the history of competition lawAntonie Winckler has proposed a quizz of his own to our readers:

He remembers having read somewhere that Baldus de Ubaldis  – the greatest legal thinker of the Middle Ages – considered that the law against boycotts and restraint of trade was part of natural law, and thus pre-empted postive law and was universally applicable. Anybody finding the right quote is welcome to share a beer with Antoine.

As you see, the “beer reward” is becoming a tradition here 😉

Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

16 February 2012 at 8:18 pm

And the answer is….

with 2 comments

 Las Siete Partidas, passed by Alfonso X, El Sabio (1265) [Alfonso “The Wise”].

Congrats to Tatiana Siakka, David Mamane, Andrey, and Lorenzo Climenti!  (Nico: you can afford 4 beers, right?)

Here is an explanation extracted from their answers:

Title 7 within Law 2 of the Fifth Partida, entitled “Of the shortages and bids that merchants create between themselves through oats and guilds” was the legal provision prohibiting traders from engaging in price-fixing and output restriction.

The Code was elaborated in Spain (Castile), but it was in force in Latin America until the modern codification movement (1822–1916). Until the beginning of the 19th century, they were even in effect in the parts of the United States, such as Louisiana, California or Nevada, that had previously belonged to the Spanish empire and used civil law. Furthermore, they served as the legal foundation for the formation of the governing juntas that were established in both Spain and Spanish America after the imprisonment of King Fernando VII during the Peninsular War.

Below you will find a scanned version of the relevant part by courtesy of José Luis Buendía.

[The text appears in Spanish and Latin. Since the short bios available at Brussels-based law firms suggest that all competition lawyers are fluent in practically every language, we trust that many of you will be able to understand it 😉 ]

P.S. Could someone please edit wikipedia´s entry for History of Competition Law?

Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

26 January 2012 at 6:27 pm

OFT goes to Hollywood

leave a comment »

Remember our Antitrust Oscars?

We have a new and excellent candidate for the category of “Best Film by a Competition Authority”.

Check out the Compliance Film that the OFT has just released and which includes a dramatised dawn raid and special guest appearances from the likes of Prof. Richard Whish. A cool initiative within the OFT´s wider compliance project.

(Thanks to Christopher Brown and Luis Ortiz Blanco for drawing our attention to it!).

And coming soon to a blog near you…we have a truly excellent film in the pipeline with very special actors and a very special director. We´ll post it here as soon as we can overcome some technical issues.

PS. For those of you who haven´t already heard, Damien Neven (former Chief Economist at DG Comp) is joining Charles River Associates.  Stay tuned, there might just be some more related news coming up soon.

Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

29 June 2011 at 8:36 pm

DG COMP Stakeholder’s Study – A Counter-Survey

leave a comment »

In July 2010, DG COMP published the results of a wide-scale stakeholder study (Alfonso commented on this a while ago).

According to the stakeholders study, DG COMP has arguably enforced the competition rules in a satisfactory fashion, both from a substantive and procedural standpoint.

As part of their exam, my students from EDHEC Business School have been requested to assess whether the findings of DG COMP’s stakeholder study are sound. To this end, I have required them to run a counter-stakeholders’ survey, which takes the form of a reduced questionnaire.

I would like to offer our readers the opportunity to help my studs, by filling-in the below questionnaire: (or simply by clicking here)

Please note that it should take you a maximum of 15 minutes to complete this survey. Obviously, all the responses to the survey will remain confidential and will be used for the sole academic purpose of this study. If you have any questions or concerns about completing the questionnaire, you may contact my assistant at or

Name of assistants/students involved in the research project: Elise Provost; Naruttama Asvamanee;Edouard Augris; Melissa Butarbutar; Guilain Lobut; Anne-Juliette Lepoutre; Sabine Racine; Mariama Sene.

Written by Nicolas Petit

12 May 2011 at 6:42 pm

Posted in Polls and quizzes

More competition related entertainment

with 2 comments

Our readers are proposing some additional nominations as well as the creation of a new categores for comic books and online games. We are obedient guys and we do what we´re asked, so we´re now beyond movies and looking for nominations on competition entertainment…

Best animated feature

A brief history of the creation of the FTC

Best online game

A visit to the mall, by the FTC

Best competition law comics

Two mangas by the Competition Commission of Singapore: Foiled (Abuse of dominance) and Fixed (price fixing)

O Cartel da Limonada, by the Brazilian Ministry for Justice

Io Non Abbocco, by the Italian Competition Authority

La Breve Storia di Borgo Allegro, by the Italian Competition Authority

Una Brutta Sorpresa, also by  the Italian Competition Authority (I´m sure they work on other stuff too over there)

The info on the comics is available at the ICN Blog (thanks a lot to Kartellblog for the pointer!).  I´ve actually found quite interesting info in there.  An example: anyone interested in doing competition law research in Fiji?

Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

3 February 2011 at 9:43 pm

A Competition Law Quiz

with 3 comments

In the past few days both Nicolas and I have commented on the Tomra and General Química Judgments. Both cases can be useful starting points for a quizz (we´ve got a special prize for anyone who replies all 5 questions correctly):

1) When was the last time that the European Courts annulled a Commission´s decision on abuse of dominance?

2) When was the last time that the Europen Courts reduced a fine imposed by the Commission on an abuse of dominance case?

3) When was the last time that US agencies successfully litigated an abuse of dominance (Section 2) case before the courts?

4) When was the last time that a company was able to rebut the presumption on the exercise of decisive influence applicable to 100% owned subsidiaries?

5) Which one of the Judges at the General Court directed and starred a movie on competition law (also starred by other well known competition lawyers and officials), and what was the title of the movie?


Unrelated: the companies sanctioned in the air cargo cartel case have lodged their appeals before the General Court, including Lufthansa, who received full inmunity in application of the leniency notice (very probably with the aim of reducing its exposure to damage claims). By the way, the registrar at the General Court has numbered Air Canada´s appeal as Case 9/11…

Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

26 January 2011 at 6:27 pm

Posted in Polls and quizzes

How are we doing?

with one comment

For the first time ever, DG COMP  has posed this question to stakeholders and citizens by carrying out a comprehensive survey about the perception of its activities.

In the framework of this exercise, two independent companies have undertaken  both a qualitative survey targetted to professional stakeholders and a quantitative survey of EU citizens from all Member States.

The aggregate stakeholder report is available here, and the individual reports for the various collectives interviewed are available in the following links (companies, lawyers, economic consultancies, consumer associations, national ministries, and national competition authorities). All of these reports cover issues such as legal and economic  soundness of decisions, integrity, economic effectiveness, and external communication. There are tons of interesting comments on DG COMP´s activities, too many to be summed up here. I very much recommend taking a look at these  if you find time.

The survey on citizen´s perceptions about competition policy can be consulted in its full version, as well as in an abbreviated one.  The results, once again, are also extremely interesting (and sometimes shocking; e.g: did you know that 29% of the Spaniards interviewed doubted that price agreements should be prohibited?).  

Some curious data: in practically all Member States the percentage of citizens who believe they are sufficiently informed about competition policy is below 5%;   more than 25% of Bulgarian, Slovak, Polish and Estonian citizens have no whish whatsoever in becoming more informed about this stuff;  the proportion of citizens who gave a “don´t know answer or who did not consider  themselves qualified to reply was highest in…Belgium!). When asked in what sector the lack of competition was causing problems for consumers, citizens pointed out at energy (44%), pharmaceutical products (25%), telecommunications and internet (21%), transport (19%), financial services (18%), and food distribution (16%).

PS. We´re not ignoring the elephant in the room (the opening of a formal investigation about Google´s allegedly abusive practices); there´ll be plenty to come on this case.

Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

2 December 2010 at 2:34 am