• Competition policy fallout from no-deal Brexit not yet considered, EU's Vestager says
    19 September 2018
    The EU hasn’t yet considered how Brexit will impact competition policy if both sides fail to reach an agreement, the bloc’s competition chief said today.

    But EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said she was heartened by the UK’s strong culture of competition enforcement and its willingness to adhere to EU norms after Brexit, saying it was a good sign for a future deal.

    “We have not imagined a no-deal scenario [for] state aid, antitrust, merger control,” she said at a press conference in Brussels today.

    By Matthew Holehouse

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  • Breaching Frand commitments doesn’t violate antitrust law, Delrahim says
    18 September 2018
    Violations of commitments to license standard essential patents on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms are not antitrust violations even if the patent holder willfully deceived the standard-setting organization, the Justice Department’s chief antitrust official said on Tuesday.

    “A unilateral violation of a FRAND commitment should not give rise to a cause of action under Section 2 of the Sherman Act, even if a patent holder is alleged to have misled or deceived a standard-setting organization with respect to its licensing intentions,” Delrahim said in prepared remarks via a video feed at a conference Tuesday in San Francisco.

    “Applying Section 2 to this sort of unilateral conduct would contravene the underlying policies of the antitrust laws. This conduct may warrant remedies under contract law, but the important difference is that contract remedies do not involve the threat of treble damages that can deter lawful, pro-competitive conduct,” Delrahim said.

    By Joshua Sisco

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  • Facebook, Instagram clearance may have been 'naïve,' CMA boss says
    07 September 2018
    A decision to clear Facebook’s purchase of Instagram may have been different had the case been looked at today, the boss of the UK’s competition authority has said.

    Andrea Coscelli said the then UK regulator, the Office of Fair Trading, was “naïve” in its handling of the merger back in 2012, and was unable to match the level of knowledge shown by Facebook’s executives.

    His comments follow a recommendation from the UK government that the Competition and Markets Authority might need more powers to tackle dominant digital platforms, outlined in a policy paper on modernizing consumer markets in April.

    By Victoria Ibitoye and Jenna Ebersole.

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  • 'Analogies' between US Amex decision and EU antitrust law 'not helpful,' Laitenberger says
    06 September 2018
    A US Supreme Court ruling that raised the bar for antitrust enforcement in multi-sided markets is of limited relevance to EU law, the bloc’s top enforcer said.

    Johannes Laitenberger, director general of the European Commission’s antitrust department, warned against “analogies” with the US Supreme Court's June’s decision on American Express, stressing the differences in EU law.

    He stressed that both the EU and the US share “an underlying notion of competition policy and enforcement based on due process that takes an evidence-based approach.”

    By Lewis Crofts and Leah Nylen.

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  • Antitrust enforcers have found consensus in multilateral agreement discussions, Delrahim says
    06 September 2018
    US Department of Justice antitrust chief Makan Delrahim said in remarks Thursday that discussions with other agencies on global antitrust standards earlier this week found far more areas of consensus than areas that will need further discussion.

    Delrahim provided the update on the DOJ’s work alongside the US Federal Trade Commission toward a “Multilateral Framework on Procedures in Competition Law Investigation and Enforcement,” or MFP, in a speech* on international antitrust efforts. In June, the DOJ’s top antitrust enforcer urged competition authorities to go further than soft commitments and proposed an MFP.

    By Jenna Ebersole.

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