14.06.2023 - Alliance: The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD)

The directive on sustainability reporting (EU) 2022/2464, Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive, abbreviated “CSRD”) leads to an expansion of the reporting obligation for thousands of companies throughout Europe, starting from financial year 2024, for reports published in 2025. The CSRD amends the existing directive on non-financial reporting and establishes both more detailed reporting obligations, on the one hand, and a larger circle of companies required to issue such reports on the other.

12.06.2023 - Alliance: Transfer Pricing - General Overview 2023

Transfer pricing plays an essential role in all jurisdictions, as it determines a large part of the profits of related parties, which entails a significant amount of income taxes that may be imposed on them. In this first Schindhelm Alliance tax newsletter we give you a general overview of the subject and then report on the specifics in some of the main jurisdictions in which our Alliance operates.

19.05.2023 - New regulatory hurdles in M&A transactions

In the case of M&A transactions, all participants strive for a quick closing and thus legal certainty in the future. Previously, an M&A transaction was checked ex ante by the responsible competition authorities if certain turnover thresholds were exceeded to determine whether the project would create or strengthen a dominant position. However, this legal certainty is now lost due to the most recent practice and case law of the European Court of Justice (hereinafter referred to as “ECJ”), since, even if the turnover thresholds are not met, there is the possibility of an ex post content review and, if necessary, a reversal obligation.

03.04.2023 - Turkey: Holiday Properties - Taxes & Inheritance: Turkey

The decision to purchase a holiday home is often made on a wave of emotion, with the exuberance of great memories of a beautiful summer holiday. But however enthusiastic you are about the beauty of your home and its area, it is important to also keep an eye on the costs in order to avoid unpleasant surprises later on leading to “buyer’s remorse”. These start with the ancillary costs of the actual purchase and can continue until the inheritance tax in the case of an inheritance.

In the following article, we review the costs you need to take into account for Turkey as they occur on the purchase of the property, during its ongoing use, on its sale or transfer as a gift, or even in the event of inheritance.

03.04.2023 - Spain: Holiday Properties - Taxes & Inheritance: Spain

The decision to purchase a holiday home is often made on a wave of emotion, with the exuberance of great memories of a beautiful summer holiday. But however enthusiastic you are about the beauty of your home and its area, it is important to also keep an eye on the costs in order to avoid unpleasant surprises later on leading to “buyer’s remorse”. These start with the ancillary costs of the actual purchase and can continue until the inheritance tax in the case of an inheritance.

In the following article, we review the costs you need to take into account for Spain as they occur on the purchase of the property, during its ongoing use, on its sale or transfer as a gift, or even in the event of inheritance.

03.04.2023 - Italy: Holiday Properties - Taxes & Inheritance: Italy

The decision to purchase a holiday home is often made on a wave of emotion, with the exuberance of great memories of a beautiful summer holiday. But however enthusiastic you are about the beauty of your home and its area, it is important to also keep an eye on the costs in order to avoid unpleasant surprises later on leading to “buyer’s remorse”. These start with the ancillary costs of the actual purchase and can continue until the inheritance tax in the case of an inheritance.

In the following article, we review the costs you need to take into account for Italy as they occur on the purchase of the property, during its ongoing use, on its sale or transfer as a gift, or even in the event of inheritance.

13.03.2023 - Alliance: Legally compliant whistleblowing in your company - country update

“Whistleblowing” describes the uncovering of abuses, such as corruption, money laundering, and environmental hazards, by whistleblowers who have acquired insider knowledge due to their professional activity. Whistleblowers must usually accept serious personal or professional disadvantages as a result of their reports.

To protect whistleblowers, the EU already issued the Whistleblowing Directive in 2019. This directive stipulates that enterprises have the obligation to establish channels and procedures to enable reports of abuses and breaches of the law.

13.02.2023 - Alliance: Foreign Subsidies Regulation: How will new regulation impact and reshape the M&A and public tender offers market?

On 12 January 2023 the Regulation (EU) 2022/2560 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 December 2022 on foreign subsidies distorting the internal market (hereinafter: the “FSR Regulation”) has entered into force.

The FSR Regulation, which will apply from 12 July 2023, equips the European Commission (hereinafter: the “Commission”) with new tools preventing distortion in competition of the internal (EU) market resulting from “foreign subsidies” meaning subsidies granted by the non-EU states to the entities operating on the internal market.

31.01.2023 - Alliance: The end of trust-based working hours? Practical effects of the decision of the BAG dated 13/09/2022

With a judgment from 2019, the ECJ had clearly set the direction: From the Working Hours Directive in conjunction with Art. 31 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (CFR), there is the obligation of the Member States to ensure that employers introduce an “objective, reliable and accessible system that can be used to measure the daily working hours worked by employees”; this follows from the right of employees to effective health protection and compliance with the legally prescribed (weekly and daily) maximum working hours. However, the ECJ had not set a specific deadline for the Member States.

Over three full years, the requirements of the ECJ then remained without any significant practical consequences, with a few exceptions that we will present below on a country-specific basis. And it was probably generally assumed that legislative intervention would be required for the practical implementation of the judgment. However, the German Federal Labour Court has now taken the ball directly and formulated directly from existing law specific obligations incumbent on the employer even without legislative measures.

17.11.2022 - Alliance: Is your company a "Gatekeeper"? Digital Markets Act News

The applicable e-commerce policy is over 20 years old. That is why the European Union launched a regulatory package for online platforms a few years ago.

19.10.2022 - Alliance: Remote Work: Revolution in the labour market through hybrid forms of working

Working from home, New Work, flexibility, self-organisation, trust-based working hours. These (and other) terms describe what is no longer a vision of the future or a mere phenomenon. Day-to-day working life has fundamentally changed in the last two and a half years at the latest since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, which acted as a catalyst in this respect.

22.09.2022 - Alliance: A bird's eye view of the law: The commercial use of unmanned aircraft

The development and commercialisation of drones is making relentless progress. Due to the wide range of applications and the rapid technical advances, unmanned aircraft – or “UAS” (=Unmanned Aircraft System) for short – are predicted to be a promising future.

05.07.2022 - Alliance: What to do if the company is hacked? Actions from a legal perspective.

In case of a hacking attack, unauthorised attackers attempt to access external PCs, notebooks, smartphones, tablets or even entire corporate networks. Since the frequency of such attacks has increased massively in Europe over the past year, in this article we look at the successful hacker attack from the outside, which encrypts the affected systems in such a way that the company can no longer access its system at all.

19.06.2022 - New opportunities and threats in sales: revised Vertical Block Exemption Regulation 2022 in force.

The European Commission’s Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (“VBER”), which was previously potentially applicable to distribution, whereby agreements between manufacturers or suppliers and retailers are exempt from the ban on cartels, ceased to be in force on 31/05/2022, because the original period of validity of 12 years was reached.
These new versions bring some changes which relax requirements compared to the previous legal situation, but also tighten requirements, which primarily take into account the area of tension between online/offline sales.

23.05.2022 - Alliance: Digital Revolution & Legal Evolution – copyright and related IP rights in the digital domestic market

Cryptocurrency, big data, artificial intelligence, data theft, cloud, virtual, augmented, or mixed reality, cyber warfare, telemedicine, social media, autonomous driving, Industry 4.0, Criminal Law 4.0, NFTs – these are not the only issues that are bringing about the era of the fourth so-called digital revolution. Each of these digital changes is bringing new challenges to all facets of society – the link between law and technology is one of the biggest. An example that illustrates the special relationship between legal and digital technologies very well are NFTs (non-fungible tokens).

14.04.2022 - Alliance: The current turning point – Force Majeure and loss of the basis for business

The "current turning point" in connection with the Russian war of aggression on Ukraine has not only a political but also perhaps an even greater economic dimension. The sharp rise in the price of raw materials and energy has led to a dramatic increase in costs for companies. The interruption of supply chains often causes production downtimes in industry. Despite all the harmonisation of laws that has taken place in the last 20 to 30 years, especially in the European legal sphere, this issue has remained untouched by efforts at legal standardisation. The reason for this was apparently a lack of topicality. Therefore, with this article, we provide an overview of how this topic is handled legally with regard to three key questions in the respective countries of our partner law firms.

09.02.2022 - Alliance: The Digital Service Act and the upcoming reform of the digital services

Already in 2020, the European Commission presented the draft for a new EU regulation on a single market for digital services, through which the latest developments in the field of digital services are to be incorporated and regulated at EU level. The proposal aims at better protection of consumer rights in the digital environment and at the joint internal market-related enforcement potential of the EU Member States.

11.11.2021 - Luxembourg: General Court confirms billion-dollar fine for Google

On November 10, 2021, the General Court upheld the fine of EUR 2.42 billion that was imposed by the European Commission (EC) on Google in 2017.

At the time, the EC found that Google had abused its dominant position in the market for general online search services in 13 countries of the European Economic Area, by favouring its own price comparison service, specifically a dedicated search service, over competing price comparison services.

04.11.2021 - German Competition Register – Obligation to notify and possibility to query as of 1 December 2021

The notification and query obligations in relation to the competition register will enter into force on 1 December 2021. This means that electronic data transmission to the competition register may start. The nationwide competition register provides public contracting authorities, sector contracting authorities and concession grantors with information on whether a company is to be excluded or can be excluded from a public procurement procedure due to economic offences committed.

12.04.2021 - Revival of the European Commission's previously dormant superpower in Merger Control

On March 26th 2021, the European Commission ("Commission") published guidance on the application of the referral system set under Article 22 of the EU Merger Regulation ("EUMR").

11.03.2021 - Risk of Antitrust Liability for Private Equity Companies

Private equity firms could face significant fines for violations of EU-Antitrust laws committed by their portfolio-companies. At the end of January, the European Court of Justice upheld a fine of more than €37 million against The Goldman Sachs Group Inc (“Goldman Sachs”) for the involvement of its indirect investment company, Prysmian SpA (“Prysmian“), in a global undersea-cable cartel  (C-595/18 P, The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. v European Commission).

17.12.2020 - Europe fit for the Digital Age: Commission proposes new rules for digital platforms

On Dec. 15, 2020, the European Commission proposed new rules in form of two laws: (i) the  "Digital Services Act" and (ii) the "Digital Markets Act". Main reason for these proposals is the impact of digitalization on fundamental rights and on competition.

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 - 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 - 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 - 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 - 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 - 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 - 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 - 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.

22.11.2018 - 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 - 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.

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 - 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 - 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 - 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 - 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 - 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 - 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 - 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 - 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 - 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 - 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 - 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 - 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 - 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...

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 - 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 - 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.

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.

22.01.2018 - 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.

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.