2015: A promising year for EU competition law
Happy New Year!
2015 promises to be an exciting year for EU competition law experts. Three months into the job, Commissioner Margrethe Verstager and her impressive team of advisors will be in cruising altitude and implement their priorities. Commissioner Verstager will seek to impose her own style and vision. Coming to Brussels with the reputation of an astute politician, Commissioner Verstager will certainly want to make a name for herself in the competition law community.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of issues that will be dealt with by the Commission and the EU courts in the coming months.
- The Commission will have to decide what to do in the complex Google case(s) as Commissioner Almunia was not able to reach a settlement in the “search” investigation before the end of its mandate. Orientations will also have to be taken in the “Android” investigation, which is of critical importance to the future of the mobile communication sector. Other high profile investigations include, for instance, the Commission’s probe into the favorable tax regimes granted by certain Member States to large multinational corporations.
- The Commission is currently working on important legislative reforms, such as the revision of the Merger Control Regulation, which raises the issue of the acquisitions of non-controlling minority shareholdings which could harm competition. The Commission is also consulting on proposed modifications to Regulation 773/2004 and the Notices on Access to the File, Leniency, Settlements and Cooperation with national courts.
- The EU courts will also handle important cases in the months to come. For instance, the Court of Justice will likely adopt its judgment in the Huawei v. ZTE case, which raises the issue of the compatibility with Article 102 TFEU of the use injunctions for enforcing standard-essential patents (SEPs). The Court of Justice will also to deal with Intel’s appeal against the General Court’s judgment confirming the decision of the Commission fining Intel for abusing its dominant position through anti-competitive rebates. The General Court will also handle the appeal lodged by various pharmaceutical firms against the Commission’s Lundbeck decision condemning them for engaging in anti-competitive reverse patent settlements.
- Following the adoption of the Directive on antitrust damages actions, important developments are also to be expected in private litigation in the competition law field, which is developing fast in a number of Member States.
These are only some illustrations of the numerous issues that will keep competition law experts busy in the next few months.