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Author: Gast

New merger control thresholds for Austria

New merger control thresholds for Austria

Austria, that lovely neighbouring country to Germany, is known for its Kaiserschmarrn, music, the Alps – and interesting merger thresholds. There is a reform, however, that will come as a relief to many. Johannes Barbist brings us up to date – including interesting news on the applicability of the new merger control thresholds.   Austria is lagging behind. We still concentrated on the market dominance test (also in merger control cases), did not specifically address the growing importance of digital…

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Revisiting Bork the Antitrust Warrior

Revisiting Bork the Antitrust Warrior

Some books change the world, they say, and that is even true for competition law and policy. This summer, Bertold Bär-Bouyssière re-read the one book that gave antitrust policy a new direction: Robert Bork’s “The Antitrust Paradox”. Here is his review! Robert Bork´s seminal work “The Antitrust Paradox” is available again, published by Bork Publishing in 2021 with a new introduction by Senator Mike Lee and a Foreword by Robert H. Bork, Jr. The hardcover edition is at USD 39,99,…

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The Saxon wood pulp cartel

The Saxon wood pulp cartel

Cartels are harmful to the economy and consumers. What sounds obvious today was seen differently in Germany more than 100 years ago. Competition was considered “pernicious” and cartels “beneficial”. In one of its most famous rulings, the then Supreme Court, Reichsgericht (RG), paved the way for the progressive cartelisation of the German economy in 1897, an epochal misjudgement, as later became apparent. If you are looking for a distraction from “gatekeepers” and “GAFA”, you can take a look back with Paul…

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Revamp of the EU’s rules on vertical agreements: It’s about the (digital) economy, stupid!

Revamp of the EU’s rules on vertical agreements: It’s about the (digital) economy, stupid!

Just before the summer break, the European Commission (“Commission”) continues to tick off its To-Do-List, adding an important checkmark in its efforts to modernise the current set of rules in various areas of competition law. On 9 July 2021 it published its draft reform of the Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (“Draft VBER”), including revised Guidelines on Vertical Restraints (“Draft Vertical Guidelines”). Kaan Gürer has taken a closer look. What is this all about? The VBER sets out the conditions under…

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Update: The Dispute over Track Access Charges in Germany

Update: The Dispute over Track Access Charges in Germany

Various private railway undertakings and their public clients are in dispute with Deutsche Bahn over the reimbursement of charges for access to railway tracks and stations. Lawyer Eckhard Bremer already reported on this dispute in this blog in November 2020. Bremer is one of the plaintiffs’ representatives. The legal issue at the heart of the dispute concerns the relationship between cartel damages law and the public law regulatory regime for the rail sector. After several rulings of the German Bundesgerichtshof, the Federal Supreme Court,…

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The politization of antitrust

The politization of antitrust

Antitrust has arguably become increasingly political in recent years. Tobias Pukropski provides an overview of the main developments at EU-level and in Germany, and of their practical implications. A tale of hipsters, fairness, sustainability, and Germans in Chinese trains. Once upon a time… …antitrust enforcement was untouched by political considerations. All that mattered was the rule of law, applied without regard to political or policy considerations or to external circumstance. Really? Sounds like a fairy-tale. Well, that probably is a…

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Market power = relative (also in Switzerland)

Market power = relative (also in Switzerland)

Switzerland has – after a long struggle – adopted a new regulation that now also covers relative market power in competition law. It is to come into force in 2022. Patrick Krauskopf and Dominic Schopf explain the new rule and its background. Bern, a City of Relativity  Bern, Kramgasse 49 in 1905: Albert Einstein is about to make a fundamental contribution to basic research in physics. He recognises that space and time are relative to each other and do not represent…

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The Austrian Competition Law Amendment 2021: A Preview

The Austrian Competition Law Amendment 2021: A Preview

A mere few weeks ago, Austrians still asked Rupprecht Podszun for his view on the German competition law amendment of 2021 to give them a taste of things to come in Austria. Now, Austrians can contribute their own draft for a competition law amendment 2021. Viktoria H.S.E. Robertson discusses the highlights of the proposed amendment, including ECN+, digitalisation, sustainability and merger control. KaWeRÄG 2021  On 23 April 2021 – an unsuspecting Friday afternoon which led to a busy weekend – the long-awaited Cartel and Competition Law…

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One Ring to Rule them All?

One Ring to Rule them All?

Georg Schmittmann on the Commission’s guidance on the application of the referral mechanism set out in Art. 22 of the European Merger Control Regulation In the epic fantasy novel „Lord of the Rings“, the evil Lord Sauron secretly forged the “One Ring”. His intentions were pretty clear. He wanted an all-powerful magic ring. “One Ring to Rule them all, One Ring to find them”, J. R. R. Tolkien wrote. Not to compare the European Commission with the evil Lord Sauron,…

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CONFERENCE DEBRIEFING (24): Sachverständigenanhörung zum Projekt „Deutsch-französisches Wirtschaftsgesetzbuch“

CONFERENCE DEBRIEFING (24): Sachverständigenanhörung zum Projekt „Deutsch-französisches Wirtschaftsgesetzbuch“

Braucht es ein gemeinsames deutsch-französisches Wirtschaftsgesetzbuch? Die Deutsch-Französische Parlamentarische Versammlung ist zumindest dieser Meinung. Die Arbeitsgruppe „Harmonisierung des deutschen und des französischen Wirtschafts- und Insolvenzrechts“ soll daher Vorschläge für eine deutsch-französische Harmonisierung des Wirtschafts- und Insolvenzrechts erarbeiten. In der zweiten Sachverständigenanhörung am 19. März 2021 ging es auch um Vorschläge einer Vereinheitlichung des Kartellrechts. Anna‑Jacqueline Limprecht und Patrick Hauser berichten. Ein neues Gesetzesvorhaben? Den meisten steht vermutlich der Schweiß auf der Stirn, wenn sie an das endlose Gesetzgebungsverfahren zur 10. GWB-Novelle (siehe nur hier, hier und hier) denken. Aber wie heißt…

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