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Category: Allgemein

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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Refill: Beer Cartel (da capo)

Refill: Beer Cartel (da capo)

Hello again! The parties involved in the German beer cartel are meeting in court again. The Cartel Senate of the Federal Court of Justice called for another round by overturning an acquittal of the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court in this case in 2020. Now other judges of the Düsseldorf Court have to take up the matter. Rupprecht Podszun, who had written about the first proceedings here, has followed the new start of the trial. “We are new! Let’s start again…

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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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The Car Cartel and the European Green Deal – Decision of the European Commission in the Car Emissions Cartel Case

The Car Cartel and the European Green Deal – Decision of the European Commission in the Car Emissions Cartel Case

What are the limits to cooperation between companies in areas of research and development under the rules of antitrust law? The European Commission had to rule on a case in which five German car manufacturers allegedly engaged in illegal collusion regarding the use of emission-reducing technologies (AT.40178). The decision has not yet been published. Leon Kümmel has already taken a closer look at the European Commission’s press release. What happened? On July 8, 2021, the European Commission published in a press…

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Jurisdictional issues in private antitrust enforcement – Advocate General Bobek sets a proper benchmark

Jurisdictional issues in private antitrust enforcement – Advocate General Bobek sets a proper benchmark

Do national courts have the power to fully apply Article 101(1) TFEU and Article 53(1) EEA‑Agreement with regard to anticompetitive practices? This question was referred to the European Court of Justice by the Rechtbank Amsterdam (District Court Amsterdam) on 6 November 2019 (Case C ‑819/19). Advocate General Bobek gave his opinion on the matter in his Opinion of 6 May 2021. Anna-Jacqueline Limprecht reports. Price agreements for air freight services trigger the proceedings As a warning, it should be mentioned that a large number of…

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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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Bundeskartellamt in action

Bundeskartellamt in action

On 23 June 2021, the Bundeskartellamt published its activity report for the years 2019/2020 and presented it at an online press conference. But there is also “explosive” news from the European Competition Network (ECN): The antitrust authorities of the member states demand in a paper to be involved in the enforcement of the DMA. Philipp Offergeld gives an overview of both papers. Every two years the Bundeskartellamt reports to the German Bundestag, the Parliament, on its activities in the previous…

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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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