The Commission’s recent decision approving Microsoft’s acquisition of Yahoo!’s Search Business (including internet search and search advertising) contains an interesting application of the definition of a concentration under the Merger Regulation. In December 2009, Microsoft and Yahoo entered into a License Agreement and a Search and Advertising Services and Sales Agreement. Microsoft will acquire a…

One of the inevitable facts of life in the U.S. after a government antitrust investigation becomes public – especially if it is a cartel investigation with an amnesty applicant or guilty pleas – is customer class actions. U.S. class action plaintiffs’ lawyers frequently bring “follow-on” cases on behalf of purchasers of the affected products within days (or at least weeks) of public disclosure of a cartel or other antitrust investigation.

Recent U.S. federal judicial decisions, however, have now placed significant hurdles in front of consumer antitrust plaintiffs in the form of stricter requirements for joining plaintiffs from multiple states together into a single class.

On March 11, 2010, the Court of Justice of the European Union (the “ECJ”) rendered a judgment (preliminary ruling) in response to two State aid questions referred to it by the French Conseil d’État (France’s highest administrative Court). The case involves French book and media exporter Centre d’exportation du livre français (CELF), which received non-notified…

A case involving Google confirms that the French Competition Authority is keen on using a combination of interim measures and commitment proceedings in order help it quickly resolve maters which it perceives as competition issues. This may remain a specific feature of the French system however: having regard to the very demanding standard of proof…

The FCO issued three cartel decisions in June 2010: it imposed a (second) fine on coffee roasters on June 9 (€ 30 million), on manufacturers of ophthalmic lenses on June 10 (€ 115 million), and on a manufacturer of cable fillings on June 24 (€0.4 million). All of these decisions involved settlements (and the ophthalmic…

On Friday 2nd July, Monty Widenius, founder of open source database company MySQL, owned by Sun, filed an appeal against the European Commission’s unconditional clearance of the merger between Oracle and Sun Microsystems. The main affected area in this case was the database market. This market is highly concentrated with the three main proprietary database…

Welcome to our blog! I thought I would start my postings on U.S. developments with a broader point about recent U.S. case law in the antitrust area. Many of the most important U.S. judicial decisions in antitrust have been driven by judicial concern with aspects of the U.S. litigation process that are perceived by some…

On June 29, the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) set aside the judgment of the General Court (GC) in the Alrosa case and dismissed Alrosa’s action on the merits. In the procedural economy/due process conundrum raised by negotiated procedures – Article 9 commitment proceedings in the case a quo – the ECJ decided in favor of the former: “the Commission has a wide discretion to make a proposed commitment binding or to reject it” (¶94). In that sense, Alrosa constitutes clearly a victory for the Commission, but one that raises more questions than it solves, I am afraid.