News

22.11.2019 - Europe: Implementation of the EU trade secrets directive

The new “Law on Trade Secrets” now implements the so-called “EU Trade Secrets Directive”. This adopts the European legal requirements for the protection of confidential know-how and secret business information. Moreover, the new legal provisions contain limitation periods and important procedural provisions for the protection of trade secrets in court proceedings.

22.11.2019 - China: Effects of the “Social Credit System” on foreign companies

The Chinese “Social Credit System” (SCS) is an autonomous credit rating system based on “Big Data” with the purpose of regulating economy and society. It is to be introduced nationwide by the end of 2020 as a centralised control instrument. The declared aim of the SCS is to persuade all market participants to behave in accordance with the law and regulations through self-regulation.

22.11.2019 - Europe: New entrepreneurial obligations under the EU single-use plastics directive

The flood of single-use plastic must be stopped. Recently, therefore, the EU directive “on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment” entered into force. As a result, the use of plastics as consumer packaging and goods will change massively in the future. Manufacturers and dealers will clearly be held accountable for the sustainable use of plastics. What is new?

22.11.2019 - Europe: Liability of the operator of a website for the Facebook “Like Button”

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) recently ruled on the long-discussed question of whether and how website operators can integrate the Facebook Like button (so-called “social plug-in”) in accordance with data protection requirements.Th ECJ’s investigation results from a legal dispute between the Consumer Association of North Rhine-Westphalia and a subsidiary of Peek & Cloppenburg KG.

22.11.2019 - Germany: Ban on Facebook fan page permitted

Almost every company has not only a homepage, but also a Facebook page. However, a legally safe operation of a Facebook fan page is hardly possible from a data protection point of view and the data processing of Facebook is too opaque. If the operators of a Facebook fan page do not want to take any risks, the only option is to deactivate the social media page. If this is not desired from an entrepreneurial point of view and the associated risk is accepted, at least as much information as possible about the data processing processes should be provided.

22.11.2019 - Italy: The new law on corporate crises as a “work in progress”

A new law on company crises has significantly changed the rules applicable to limited liability companies in this respect Among other things, the liability of the company’s management was tightened. Furthermore, the tasks of the supervisory body were expanded. The reform’s true impact remains to be seen: Will there be a change in corporate culture or will there be an increase in corporate crises?

22.11.2019 - Austria: On the termination of the lease due to considerably detrimental use

According to Sec. 1118 ABGB (Austrian Civil Code), the lessor can terminate a lease unilaterally prematurely if the lessee makes a “considerably detrimental use” of the leased object. The scope and content of these legal provisions is a constant source of discussion. The mere performance of structural alterations by the lessee without the consent of the lessor does not in itself justify a good cause for the termination of the lease.

22.11.2019 - Austria: Even more transparency for transparent companies

State and corporate compliance obligations to combat money laundering and terrorist financing remain an utmost priority for EU member states. Companies (“legal entities”) have therefore been obliged to disclose their “beneficial owners”, among other things, for quite some time. In Austria, a separate database - the “Beneficial Owners Register” - was set up for this purpose. In course of the implementation of the 5th EU Money Laundering Directive, further tightening measures have now been adopted.

22.11.2019 - Poland: Electricity price subsidies for companies

In 2018, the prices for CO2 emission certificates increased sharply. A direct effect of this was the rapid increase in electricity prices. Despite promises to the contrary, the government did not prevent this price increase. However, compensatory measures have been proposed for 2019. For some companies, these interventions are to apply beyond that date, but up to a maximum of 2028.

22.11.2019 - Poland: New VAT obligations for foreign companies

Entrepreneurs who do business in Poland and are registered there for VAT purposes will face new obligations as of November 2019. All companies registered in Poland as VAT payers must submit their bank accounts for inclusion in the list of taxpayers. If it is not possible to audit foreign banks via the STIR system, foreign entrepreneurs registered in Poland for VAT purposes are required to open such a special account in Poland.

22.11.2019 - Romania: Ban of bearer shares from corporate law

In July 2019, new legal measures were introduced to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. The Romanian Companies Act was also significantly amended as a result of this. The core of the reform: In order to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing, bearer shares have been completely abolished. This means that only registered shares can be issued.

22.11.2019 - Slovakia: New law on whistleblowing

“Whistleblower” - people who point out violations of the law - will be protected even more in the future. This is the aim of a new law that came into force a few months ago. The new regulation adds to already existing provisions on the protection of whistleblowers in the employment relationship.

22.11.2019 - Slovakia: Important changes in the register of public sector partners

As of November 2019, new legal regulations will bring even more transparency into the structures of companies that make use of public tenders or state aid.The definition of a “public sector partner” is new.

22.11.2019 - Spain: Corrections to the share capital of a limited liability company

In June 2019, the General Directorate of Registries and Notaries’ Offices (“DGRN”) confirmed the decision of a commercial register refusing to register a shareholders resolution. This resolution had provided for the cancellation and invalidation of a capital increase carried out shortly before and already entered in the commercial register.

22.11.2019 - The Czech Republic: Amendment of the Investment Incentives Act

The current unemployment rate in the Czech Republic is 2.7%. This corresponds to the lowest value in the EU. In view of this, the Czech government is seeking to focus the system of investment incentives on promoting projects with higher added value, in addition to combating unemployment. The “Investment Incentives Act” has therefore been substantially amended.

22.11.2019 - Turkey: Changes in subsidy law

State aid is granted on the basis of various criteria. The region or the economic sector in which the investment is made is decisive, but also the strategic importance of the investment and the level of the investment volume. Investments in structurally weak regions receive higher subsidies than investments in industrial areas. For the award of grants, a distinction is made between six different regions.

22.11.2019 - Hungary: The new legal regulation of drones

Unmanned aircraft is a new component of the global aviation system. A new EU-Regulation on the common rules of civil aviation therefore aims on establishing rules for the use of unmanned aircraft. This Regulation is directly applicable in all Member States. Beyond the Regulation a Government Decree from 1998 on the use of the Hungarian airspace also applies to the use of drones. According to the Decree, the operation of an unmanned aircraft is permitted only on a case-by-case basis.

22.11.2018 - billions in penalties against Google due to misuse by Android

Throughout Europe, approximately 80% of smartphones are equipped with the Google oper-ating system, Android...

22.11.2018 - Poland: higher wage and incidental wage costs from 2019

In the budget planning for 2019, companies should prepare for the expected increase in Po-lish labour costs.

22.11.2018 - Poland: withdrawal as sole managing director will be slightly more difficult from 2019

In the business world, situations often arise in which the only existing managing director wants to leave the company.

22.11.2018 - Romania: implementation of the GDPR – law no. 190/2018

In Romania, law no. 190/2018, and thus the national implementation of the GDPR, took effect as of 31/07/2018. In comparison with other EU countries, law no. 190/2018 was rather short.

22.11.2018 - Slovakia: new conditions for the employment of foreigners

Due to the low unemployment rate in Slovakia, employers have recently been confronted with a lack of available workers.

22.11.2018 - Spain: Residual debt discharge for natural persons

The residual debt discharge (RDD) was introduced in 2015 as an exception from the princip-le of general asset liability of the debtor in the insolvency code.

22.11.2018 - The Czech Republic: changes in the payment of sick leave and consequences for the employer

In the Czech Republic, as of 01/07/2019, employees should already be entitled to sick leave from the first day of their inability to work.

22.11.2018 - Turkey: the decree to protect the value of the Turkish currency – limitation of foreign currency and foreign currency indexed contracts

The presidential decree no. 32 issued on 12/09/2018 to protect the value of the Turkish cur-rency ("Decree") sets the limitation of foreign currency and foreign currency indexed contracts and stipulates that these contracts must be converted within 30 days into Turkish Lira (“TL”).

22.11.2018 - Bulgaria: new developments in the use and reclassification of agricultural areas

Since May 2014, ownership rights for land and soil can only be acquired by natural and legal persons who have resided or been established in Bulgaria for longer than five years.

22.11.2018 - China: e-commerce law – impact on cross-border online business

In view of the rapid growth of online trade, the Chinese government adopted the first e-commerce law on the comprehensive regulation of online business on 31/08/2018, which will enter into force on 01/01/2019.

22.11.2018 - Europe: softening of the primacy of application of community law by the ECJ decision "Taricco II"?

At the end of 2017, in the legal case C-42/17, the ECJ issued a much publicised decision on the question of the primacy of application of Community Law.

22.11.2018 - Europe: EUGH for the trade acceptance of European Union trademarks

Nestlé is a holder of a 3D EU trademark that corresponds to the "KitKat" bar marketed by it and protects its design.

22.11.2018 - Italy: new rules for small limited liability companies

With the large-scale reform of the company law from the year 2003, Italian legislators had simplified the regulations on the Governance of limited liability companies.

22.11.2018 - Germany: no d&o protection for gmbh managing directors for payments after maturity of insolvency

If a Gmbh makes payments after it becomes insolvent, the Managing Directors are personal-ly liable vis-à-vis the company, regardless of the internal allocation of responsibilities.

22.11.2018 - Germany: news on the shareholder list

When a new shareholder list must be submitted in the commercial register due to a change, it must satisfy the requirements of § 40 I GmbHG [Limited Liability Companies Act] in the version of 23/06/2017 according to the decision of the BGH [Federal Supreme Court] dated 26/06/2018 – II ZB 12/16.

22.11.2018 - Austria: legal uncertainty in the charging of rental contract fees

Tenancy agreements are subject to a statutory fee of 1% to be paid to the tax office.

22.11.2018 - Hungary: new law concerning the protection of know-how – implementation of the know-how directive

The EU Directive on the regulation of confidential know-how and business information (know-how directive) was implemented in Hungary in July 2018.

28.06.2018 - Bulgaria: new requirements for company sale and insolvency

As in the past, in the case of company sales, the seller has repeatedly neither paid salaries due nor paid social security contributions due for employees, the Bulgarian Commercial Code was amended accordingly by three successive amendments in December 2017, February and March 2018.

28.06.2018 - Fairness and transparency in online trading

Online platforms and search engines dominate Internet trading. Unilateral business conditions, non-transparent algorithms and rankings are unfortunately not uncommon.

28.06.2018 - Germany: first experiences with the new transparency register introduced in October 2017

In July 2017, the Money Laundering Act (Geldwäschegesetz, GWG) was completely revised in Germany in the implementation of the Fourth Directive (EU) on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing (2015/849).

28.06.2018 - Germany: ECJ on the technical conditionality of designs

Technical solutions can be protected by patents and utility models under certain conditions. By reserving commercial exploitation exclusively to the inventor for a limited period of time, technological progress should be promoted.

28.06.2018 - Europe: European court of justice declares restrictions on the transfer of the registered office as unlawful

Until today, the legislation of some Member States of the European Union is very restrictive with regard to the transfer of the company headquarters in other Member States. It is often required that the company in the country of origin must be completely liquidated before the change of domicile.

28.06.2018 - Italy: End of the improper insolvency settlements?

In Italy, insolvencies can be settled through composition proceedings between the insolvency debtor and its creditors, the so-called Concordato Preventivo. So far, the assessment of economic feasibility has been the sole responsibility of the creditors concerned.

28.06.2018 - Austria: E-allocation and safe linking by means of hash value

The electronic transmission of tenders in the award procedure is nothing new and was already standardised in the Federal Procurement Act 2006 both for the classical area and for the area of sector contractors.

28.06.2018 - Poland: Effects of the GDPR on the employer's obligations

The EU GDPR came into force on 25/05/2018. The Polish draft law implementing the Regulation leads, among other things, to changes in the area of labour law.

28.06.2018 - Poland: Changes in the special economic zones

In Poland, a law to promote new investments is to enter into force in June 2018. The law is intended to create new framework conditions for companies operating in special economic zones (“SEZ”).

28.06.2018 - Romania: Legal changes to the regulations for the payment of social and health insurance contributions for employees

The Romanian government has substantially changed the obligation to bear the costs of social security and health insurance contributions.

28.06.2018 - Slovakia: Amendments to the law on the prevention of money laundering

The Fourth Directive (EU) on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing (2015/849) has been implemented in Slovakia by the amendment to the Act No. 297/2008 of the ECR on the prevention of the legalisation of the proceeds of crime and terrorist financing.

28.06.2018 - Spain: new obligations to identify the beneficial owner of a legal entity

The Fourth Directive (EU) on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing (2015/849) requires Member States to keep a register containing the information provided by the beneficial owners of companies registered in their territory.

28.06.2018 - The Czech Republic: evidence of the actual owners

In the Czech Republic, the Fourth Directive (EU) on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing (2015/849) has been implemented by Act No. 368/2016 of the ECR.

28.06.2018 - Hungary: Fintech Regulation – Implementation of the PSD2 Directive

The PSD2 Directive (EU) 2015/2366), an EU directive on the regulation of payment services, was implemented in Hungarian law in October 2017. Law No. 145/2017 entered into force on 13/01/2018 in accordance with the Directive.

24.05.2018 - New EU data protection law: Data transfer to third countries

International business transactions often involve cross border transfer of personal data. This is the case for instance where the data is stored on a server located in a third country (a country outside the EEA) or a third country IT service provider has access to the data processed by a company within the EU. If personal data is to be transferred to a third country specific provisions of the GDPR will apply.

25.04.2018 - New EU data protection law: Data breaches

As of 25 May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) introduces harsh sanctions for data breaches with extended scope of applicability.Companies and other data processing entities become potential subjects not only to the data subjects’ claims for damages, the enforceability of which has been enhanced, but also to increased administrative fines to be imposed by supervisory authorities.

12.03.2018 - New EU data protection law: Data Protection Officer

The General Regulation on Data Protection (GDPR) which will apply from 25th May 2018, introduces the position of the Data Protection Officer (DPO).The DPO shall be the contact person for and shall be involved in all data protection related issues of the given entity. The DPO is an organ within the company which liaises with the authority, the company and the data subjects.

15.02.2018 - New EU data protection law: Sanctions and liability

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) adopted by the EU Parliament in 2016 provides a higher standard of protection of personal data for EU citizens. The GDPR will have direct effect in all member states as of May 25, 2018 and it will affect businesses all around the world that are engaged in activities with individuals in the EU.

22.01.2018 - New EU data protection law: Principles on the processing of personal data (copy)

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) adopted by the EU Parliament in 2016 provides a higher standard of protection of personal data for EU citizens. The GDPR will have direct effect in all member states as of May 25, 2018 and it will affect businesses all around the world that are engaged in activities with individuals in the EU.

11.12.2017 - New EU data protection law: compliance check

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the EU will come into force on 25 May 2018 and it will affect organisations worldwide working with or within the EU. The GDPR promotes accountability and governance. Organisations are required to put into place comprehensive governance measures to ensure compliance. Non-compliance can lead to heavy fines up to EUR 20 million or 4 % of the global annual turnover, whichever is higher.

17.11.2017 - New EU data protection law: Fines up to EUR 20 million

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) adopted by the EU Parliament in 2016 provides a higher standard of protection of personal data for EU citizens. The GDPR will have direct effect in all member states as of May 25, 2018 and it will affect businesses all around the world that are engaged in activities with individuals in the EU.

28.07.2015 - ECJ: Advocate General stresses distancing from competition law infringements

On June 7, 2012 the Lithuanian Competition Council fined over 30 tour operators and travel agents for an anti-competitive concerted practice in the package tours sales market throughout Lithuania for an amount of EUR 1.5 Mio.

20.07.2015 - ECJ: Abuse of dominance by bringing an action for a prohibitory injunction

According to European Law a proprietor of a patent is usually allowed to bring an action for infringement seeking a prohibitory injunction or the recall of products as well as actions seeking the rendering of accounts and award of damages. Such are considered part of the rights of the proprietor. However, an abuse of a dominant position through exercising these rights is possible.

13.07.2015 - ECJ confirms decision of the Commission

The European Court of Justice (“ECJ“) confirmed on 09.07.2015 in its case C-231/14P InnoLux Corp vs. Commission that the turnover of vertically-integrated companies outside of the European economic area (“EEA”) may be taken into account by the European Commission (“Commission”) for the calculation of the fine to be imposed on cartel participants.

23.05.2015 - ECJ: Jurisdiction of courts in antitrust damage actions

The jurisdiction of a court for damage claims by victims of a competition law infringement is basically determined by Regulation (EC) NO. 44/2001 of 22.12.2000 ("Brussels I Regulation"). Accordingly, the jurisdiction of the court results from the domicile of the defendant. In cases that include several defendants with different domiciles, the plaintiff may choose a court within the different domiciles.

23.05.2015 - General Court sets Cartel Settlement Procedure

The European Commission (“Commission”) can usually close cartel cases through either infringement or settlement decisions. The latter are generally shorter and less detailed, but can only be applied if a company cooperates with the Commission and is willing to acknowledge its participation and role in the relevant competition law infringement.

15.05.2015 - Federal Cartel Office: Fine imposed for resale price maintenance

The German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) imposed a fine of EUR 300,000 on 12.05.2015 against United Navigation GmbH (“United”) for enforcing resale price maintenance on its retailers from July 2009 until May 2014.

24.04.2015 - Statement of Objections against Gazprom for abuse of dominance

The European Commission (“Commission”) sent a Statement of Objections to OAO Gazprom (“Gazprom”) on 22.04.2015 for the alleged abuse of its dominant position on the Central and Eastern European gas markets. Thus, Gazprom allegedly committed an infringement against Article 102 TFEU.

09.03.2015 - ECJ: Recidivism in antitrust infringements

The European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) reconfirmed the application of the principle of economic continuity in the joined cases C-93/13 P, European Commission vs Versalis SpA and Eni SpA and C-123/13 P, Versalis SpA and Eni SpA vs European Commission. Moreover, it mainly clarified the criteria for establishing the liability of repeat offenders as such.

09.03.2015 - General Court confirms the prohibition of Deutsche Börse and NYSE Euronext merger

Am 09.03.2015 bestätigte das Gericht in der Rechtssache T – 175/12 Deutsche Börse AG gegen Kommission den Beschluss der Europäischen Kommission („Kommission“) COMP/.6166 Deutsche Börse / NYSE Euronext vom 01.02.2012, welches einen Zusammenschluss von Deutsche Börse AG („Deutsche Börse“) und NYSE Euronext („NYSE“) verboten hat.

22.12.2014 - ECJ sets criteria for the application of the principle of economic continuity

The European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) elaborated on the principle of economic continuity on 18.12.2014 in its case C-434/13 P, European Commission vs Parker Hannifin Manufacturing Srl and Parker-Hannifin Corporation (together “Parker”).

06.11.2014 - ECJ confirms application of EU rules on jurisdiction and recognition of judgments for damage claims resulting from competition law infringements

In its decision of 23 October 2014 in Case C-302/13, a dispute between Lithuanian Airlines and the airport operator in Riga, the ECJ dealt with legal issues in relation to a damage claim resulting from a competition law infringement.

30.09.2014 - ECJ: Restriction of competition „by object“

„Groupement des cartes bancaires“ („Grouping“) is a French economic interest grouping of the main banking institutions which created the interoperability of payments and withdrawals made with bank cards issued by the members of the Grouping (“CB-cards”). At the end of June 2007 the Grouping already had 148 members. The Grouping introduced in 2002 three pricing measures which included: (1) a mechanism for regulating the acquiring function (“MERFA”), whereby members who issue more CB-Cards than affiliate new trade members to the payment system have to pay certain fees; (2) a reform of the membership fee for new members as well as an additional fee for members, whose CB-Cards in stock exceed a certain threshold; and (3) a fee for issuing CB-Cards to be paid by inactive members.

30.09.2014 - ECJ confirms prohibition on multilateral interchange fees applied by MasterCard

On 19 December 2007 The European Commission (“Commission”) published a decision regarding multilateral interchange fees (“MIF”) within the card payment system MasterCard for private clients. Only MasterCard’s MIF for cross-border transactions within the European Economic Area (“EEA”) and within Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxemburg, Malta, Greece and the Czech Republic were subject to this decision, in which the fees were considered as anti-competitive and therefore prohibited. However, no fine was imposed on MasterCard for the application of the MIF.

08.09.2014 - ECJ: Italian regulation regarding minimum prices infringes European law

The European Court of Justice („ECJ“) decided on 4 September 2014 that the Italian regulation regarding the price of haulage services infringes European law.

08.09.2014 - ECJ defines limit of fines

On 19 September 2007 the European Commission (“Commission”) imposed a fine of more than EUR 300 Mio on seven companies for the involvement in anticompetitive agreements concerning zip and other fasteners.

28.07.2014 - Fine of EUR 20 Mio for breach of the standstill obligation

On 23 July 2014 the European Commission („Commission“) imposed a fine of EUR 20 Mio. on the salmon farmer and processor Marine Harvest ASA (“Marine Harvest”) for a breach of the standstill obligation.

22.07.2014 - ECJ confirms abuse of dominance in case of potential anti-competitive effects

In 2008 the European Commission (“Commission”) issued a decision to the Greek government ordering the implementation of measures to put an end on anticompetitive effects resulting from the dominant position of the public electricity undertaking and sole owner of all power stations operating on lignite Dimosia Epicheirisi Ilektrismou AE (“DEI”).

10.07.2014 - European Commission imposes fines for “pay for delay” agreements

On 09 June 2014 the European Commission (“Commission”) imposed fines totaling an amount of EUR 427.7 Mio. on six pharmaceutical companies for being involved in anticompetitive agreements aiming the delayed market entry of generic medicine.

30.06.2014 - „New“ de minimis Notice: hardcore restrictions apply to any company!

The European Commission („Commission“) adopted a revised version of the de minimis Notice (“Notice”) on 25 June 2014. The Notice evaluates when agreements, that are usually prohibited, do not fall under the scope of the general prohibition of anticompetitive practices due to its minor impact on competition. The principle purposes of this Notice are (i) to simplify the evaluation of restrictive conducts of small and medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”) in order to act within the legal boundaries and (ii) to enable the Commission to focus on those cases that involve a higher risk of distorting competition in the Single Market.

27.06.2014 - ECJ confirms the duty of product description in decisions of the European Commission

As part of the investigation of the high-voltage cable cartel, the Court ordered in Case T-135/09, Nexans France and Nexans v. European Commission that Nexans SA (“Nexans”), including explicitly its subsidiary Nexans France SAS (“Nexans France”), had to tolerate inspections of the European Commission (“Commission”). According to Nexans the decision of the Commission lacked a precise description of the product- and geographical market. Moreover it stated that the Commission did not provide sufficient evidence to justify an inspection.

23.06.2014 - ECJ confirms Court in industrial bags decisions

On 30 November 2005 the European Commission (“Commission”) imposed fines for an amount of EUR 291 Mio. on sixteen companies involved in the industrial bags cartel. Trioplast Wittenheim SA (“Trioplast Wittenheim”) and its parents companies were fined and prosecuted for their involvement in anticompetitive agreements regarding industrial bags in Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands between 1990 and 1999. The agreements aimed at price fixing, pricing methods, allocation of markets, quotes and customers, bid-rigging and the exchange of information.

10.06.2014 - ECJ: Liability for damages of customers of competitors not involved in a cartel

In 2007 the European Commission (“Commission”) imposed fines of EUR 992 Mio. on several companies for their involvement in the escalators cartel which concerned the installation and maintenance of elevators and escalators in Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. In addition, the Austrian cartel court imposed fines of EUR 75.4 for the same companies involved in the cartel regarding the same product but for the Austrian territory in 2008.

04.02.2014 - German Federal Cartel Office determines “best price clause” as anticompetitive

February 2014 the German Federal Cartel Office („FCO“) published in its decision B9-66/10 the prohibition of the so-called most favoured treatment clause (“MFT-clause”) of the hotel provider HRS-Hotel Reservation Service Robert Ragge GmbH (“HRS”).

27.01.2014 - Court confirms joint and severe fine for parent companies involved in the calcium carbide cartel

The European Commission (“Commission”) imposed fines of EUR 61 Mio. on nine companies for their involvement in the calcium carbide cartel. Parent companies Gigaset AG (“Gigaset”, formerly Arques Industries AG) and Evonik Degussa GmbH (“Degussa”) were amongst the ones fined for the direct involvement of their subsidiary SKW Stahl-Metallurgie GmbH (“SKW”) in the cartel.

17.12.2013 - Confirmation of joint and several liability of parent companies by Court

On 22 June 2009 the European Commission (“Commission”) had imposed fines in total of EUR 61 Mio against manufacturers of calcium carbide and magnesium based reagents for their participation in the calcium carbide cartel. The manufacturers concerned agreed between April 2004 and January 2007 on prices, quota- and customer allocation and exchanged information regarding prices, customers and sales volumes.

16.12.2013 - Appeal against the acquisition of Skype by Microsoft dismissed

On 07 October 2011 the European Commission (“Commission”) approved the acquisition of Skype Global Sàrl (“Skype”) by Microsoft Corporation (“Microsoft”).

13.12.2013 - Commission fines parent companies Johnson & Johnson and Novartis

On 10 December 2013 the European Commission (“Commission”) imposed fines of a total amount of over EUR 16 Mio against two companies in the pharmaceutical industry for delaying the introduction of the generic analgesic Fentanyl into the market.

10.12.2013 - Merger simplification package of the Commission

On 05 December 2013 the European Commission (“Commission”) adopted the package to simplify its procedures for reviewing concentrations und the European Merger Regulation (“ECMR”), which has been applicable since 01.01.2014. The Commission also reduced the scope of required documents for all the notification procedures.

20.11.2013 - Higher Regional Court confirms group privilege

Alpenmilch Salzburg Gesellschaft mbH (“Alpenmilch Salzburg”) and Käsehof GmbH (“Käsehof”) notified on 09 February 2012 the acquisition of 51% of shares of Käsehof by Alpenmilch Salzburg to the Austrian Federal Competition Authority (“BWB”).

02.10.2013 - ECJ confirms liability of parent companies – also for Joint Ventures

On 20 October 2004 the European Commission ("Commission") imposed a fine of EUR 2.59 mio jointly and severally against the US company Dimon Inc. ("Dimon") for the participation in a cartel in the Spanish raw tobacco market by its subsidiary Agroexpansión SA ("Agroexpansión"). The cartel had started in 1996 and concerned fixing of delivery rates and territorial agreements. Both companies objected the Commission’s decision requesting either the annulment or at least a reduction of the fine.

23.09.2013 - ECJ - Advocate General: Joint and several liability of parent companies dependent on duration of control

In 2007 the European Commission (“Commission”) imposed fines on eleven companies totaling EUR 750 Mio for bid rigging gas insulated switchgears sold to public utility companies.

20.09.2013 - Exchange of information between companies operating on different markets does not constitute per se an infringement

In 2010 the European Commission (“Commission”) fined 17 bathroom equipment manufacturers for price fixing in six European countries for at least 12 years. The fine totaled an amount of EUR 622 Mio.

17.09.2013 - General Court confirms joint and several fine for parent company

In 2008 the European Commission (“Commission”) imposed a fine of over EUR 675 Mio. on nine companies for participating in a cartel lead by Sasol Ltd. from 1992 to 2005. The illegal agreements involved price fixing, market allocation and exchange of sensitive information regarding paraffin wax.

17.09.2013 - General Court confirms rejection of access to the confidential version of a decision of the Commission

On 13 September 2006, the European Commission (“Commission”) imposed fines in the amount of EUR 267 million to companies for their antitrust infringements regarding road bitumen in the Netherlands.

13.07.2013 - ECJ confirms again parental liability

On 11 March 2008 the European Commission (“Commission”) imposed several fines on Belgian moving companies on their participation in a cartel of direct and indirect price fixing and bid rigging (see in Case COMP/38.543 – International Removal Services). One of the cartel participants was the Gosselin Group NV (“Gosselin”), whose shares were held to 92% by Stichting Administratiekantoor Portielje (“Portielje”) and to 8% by Vivet en Gosselin NV, in which Portielje in turn holds 99.87%.

12.07.2013 - European Consultation Process on more effective merger control

On 20 June 2013, the European Commission launched another consultation process on its merger control regime, this time focusing on two main topics: (i) minority shareholdings and (ii) case referrals between the European Commission and national competition authorities

28.06.2013 - No protection of fines in case of wrong legal advice or wrong decisions of competition authorities

In 1994 the freight forwarder conference (“FFC”) of carriers was established to promote competition by creating equal conditions amongst its members. Two years later, the FFC was qualified both by lawyers and by the Austrian Cartel Court as a de minimis cartel according to Austrian competition law. The application of European competition law was supposed to be not applicable due to the lack of interstate trade.

17.06.2013 - Draft directive for damage actions and compensation claim

On June 11, 2013 the European Commission („Commission“) published a draft directive regarding compensation claims for victims of antitrust infringements.

01.06.2013 - Consultations

Currently, the European Commission ("Commission") conducts consultation processes regarding (i) the field of unfair trading practices...

23.05.2013 - Brussels: solar panels imports from China - EU imposes provisional anti-dumping duties

Im Sommer 2012 haben sich mehr als 20 europäische Hersteller von Solarpaneelen und Schlüsselkomponenten zum Ad-hoc-Branchenverband EU ProSun zusammengeschlossen...

20.05.2013 - Ongoing preliminary rulings in antitrust law

Within the last six months, the European Court of Justice ("ECJ") has dealt with preliminary rulings concerning (i) whether wrong legal advice...

15.05.2013 - Microsoft - EUR 562 million fine for non-compliance with commitments

Within the last few months, the most significant case in antitrust law concerned Microsoft. The European Commission ("Commission") fined the software...

- General Court grants reduction of fine in Spanish bitumen cartel

In 2007 the European Commission (“Commission”) imposed fines on participants of the bitumen cartel in Spain totaling EUR 183 Mio. The infringements involved the establishment of market quotas, allocation of sales for volumes and customers, monitoring of market sharing agreements by exchange of sensitive market information, mutual compensation for deviations from the market sharing agreements and price fixing. The Spanish subsidiaries of the Portuguese Galp Energia (“Galp Energía”) and Swedish Nynäs Petroleum (“Nynäs”) were members of the cartel and decided to appeal the Commission’s decision.