On November 2, FDA and the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Office of Health Affairs signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that formally establishes the framework under which the DoD and FDA will implement Public Law 115-92, which was enacted in 2017. The law gives the DoD new opportunities to advocate to FDA for expedited development,
On October 18, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced it settled charges against California-based Regenerative Medical Group, Telehealth Medical Group, and the founder of both companies, Dr. Bryn Jarald Henderson, based on deceptive stem cell therapy claims. In its complaint, the FTC alleged Henderson and the companies made unsupported claims, including that “amniotic stem cell
In a big win for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the D.C. Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals reinforced FDA’s position on what constitutes a “meaningful difference” between prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) versions of a drug product. Under FDA’s longstanding interpretation, section 503(b) of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) “does
After the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) had issued its landmark judgment in the Coty case on reference for preliminary ruling, the Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt (HRC Frankfurt) has issued its now published final ruling on 12 July 2018.
Price algorithms are clearly the “talk of the town” in the European competition law community these days. Just last week, the German Monopolies Commission published a report in which it discusses potential anti-competitive effects of price algorithms and proposes far-reaching amendments to the competition law enforcement framework. Meanwhile, the European Commission has announced a consultation
The European Commission is looking into several parallel imports cases, including in the life sciences industry, with a view to opening formal antitrust investigations, which may eventually lead to fines being imposed. The pharmaceutical sector is understood to be under scrutiny in at least one of the current informal investigations, according to a leak in
The UAE Competition Committee has become operational and therefore mergers and acquisitions may be subject to review in the near future. The UAE Competition Committee held its first meeting of the year last month (on 26 March 2018) in which it discussed the development of guidelines and standards related to the implementation of UAE competition
Since 2017, new merger control thresholds have been in effect in Germany and Austria which do not depend on the revenues generated by the parties but, rather, on the value of the transaction.
Competition law questions are increasingly raised in the public debate about the blockchain technology. While there is yet to be any investigation in this field, the policy debate about applying competition law instruments to this disruptive, decentralised technology is heating up. The latest and probably most comprehensive approach to structuring the discussion comes from the
With the New Year only a few days old, we want to present a short outlook what to expect from European antitrust enforcement in 2018, with a particular focus on Germany. One theme that is likely to feature even more than last year is the impact of antitrust law on digital markets. Antitrust law has become a force for disruption in the world of tech. Multi-billion fines for online platforms which are considered not to be sufficiently neutral. Dawn raids for denied access to data. Transactions blocked or unwound if a unicorn is acquired by the wrong player.
In the first major transaction approval under Ajit Pai’s Chairmanship, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) recently approved, subject to targeted, transaction-specific conditions, license and authorization transfers in connection with CenturyLink’s $34 billion acquisition of Level 3. The FCC’s recitation of its merger review standard in its order (the “CenturyLink-Level 3 Order”) differed somewhat from the description
First come, first served. That’s not the principle behind the clearance of Bitcoin transactions. Equally for other blockchain technology networks, the relevant factor to get a transaction on the next available block is not time, but often: money. “Paid prioritization” is a reality. Miners will first pick and clear those transactions which will most highly
On 6 October, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) launched its new series of papers on “Competition and Consumer Protection in the Digital Economy”. The first paper deals with “Big Data and Competition”. The same day, a “real-life example” of competition enforcement in Big Data became public. The EU Commission confirmed unannounced inspections in “a few
The simple fact is that the Chinese antitrust regulators are determined to up their enforcement activities in the life sciences industry. Almost immediately after drug pricing was liberalised in 2015, an antitrust enforcement decision was announced against a government entity, a local health commission, for breaching a number of provisions in the Anti-Monopoly Law (AML).
On 12 July 2017, the German Federal Government significantly reinforced the barriers for the acquisition of German companies by non-EU companies. The new Regulation for the Amendment of the Foreign Trade and Payments Regulation (“AWV”) will impose new reporting obligations for M&A transactions. There are now concerns about the openness of Germany to foreign investment and the additional burden that the new rules will impose on companies.
Instagram recently rolled out a new feature to a select group of its users who use the social media platform for promotional purposes.
“Friends forever? Joint and several liability for cartel damages”
“Good friends can never be separated; good friends are never alone; for there’s one thing in life they know how to do, be there for one another…” This timeless classic was sung by Franz Beckenbauer on the occasion of the 1966 FIFA World Cup in England. And he is right: friends show consideration for each other and they are sincere to one another. As delightful as these virtues are for interpersonal relationships; as troublesome they are for intercorporate ones. If companies are too friendly with one another, they may breach antitrust law. Yet, what about friendship, when the cartel is over and third parties are eager to claim their cartel damages?
So it has begun. However, when will the new provisions of the 9th amendment of the GWB actually apply? Aside from a number of exceptions, the 9th amendment will come into force on the day following its promulgation. But, a number of not insignificant provisions will have retroactive effect. This sounds as if it could be exciting.
The legislature has determined a time of entry into force for the 9th amendment of the GWB pursuant to Article 82(2)(1) of the German Fundamental Law. According to that provision, certain provisions regarding cartel damages claims entered into force already as of 27 December 2016 (Article 8 S. 1 of the amendment). The other provisions entered into force on the day following the promulgation, i.e. on 9 June 2017. Beyond that, there are a number of questions as to when certain provisions will apply and whether transitional rules will apply in some cases. The present contribution offers a short overview in this regard.
Provisions on consumer protection account for only a small part of the 9th amendment of the German Act Against Restraints of Competition (ARC), which recently came into force. However, the introduction of the reform has led to a highly controversial debate in the press and literature.
Consumer protection in Germany
Traditionally, private enforcement is the main means of protecting consumer rights in Germany. This involves consumers or, more probably, recognised consumer protection associations bringing private law actions to ensure that consumer protection provisions are applied. Unfair competition law plays a central role here. For example, consumer organisations issue cease and desist letters in response to breaches of general terms and conditions of business. If unsuccessful, they then take legal action.
Unlike previously, the debate about the 9th amendment of the ARC focused on strengthening public enforcement. Not that public enforcement of consumer protection law is completely unknown in Germany: the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht – BaFin) and the German Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur – BNetzA) already have powers to enforce consumer rights. BaFin is responsible for the protection of all consumers in the area of financial services, while the BNetzA monitors the misuse of phone numbers. As a result of the 9th amendment of the ARC, the German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) now also has powers to protect consumers.
Current legislative changes in the German Competition Act and the Federal Forest Act bring a set of new antitrust exemptions. We briefly present them in our blog:
1. Cooperation between press companies
2. Mergers within cooperative or savings bank associations
3. Cooperation in the timber industry
With the amendments to the cartel fine procedure introduced by the 9th amendment of the GWB the legislator intends a harmonization with EU-law and significantly extends the liability for cartel fines.
With the 9th amendment of the GWB, the legislator again attends to the closing of the so called “sausage gap”. This sanctioning gap in the German competition law derives its name from the sausage manufacturer Tönnies who was able to evade a three-digit million fine imposed by the Federal Cartel Office (FCO) by a clever corporate restructuring of his sausage empire. The essential assets of the legal entities responsible under antitrust law were transferred to other group companies and the legal entities ceased to exist.
Digital is trump! – Market definition and new dominance criteria for digital markets
On 9 June 2017, the 9th amendment of the German Act Against Restraints of Competition (ARC) entered into effect introducing important amendments for companies to German competition law. The reform deals with two main issues: the implementation of the European Cartel Damages Actions Directive (for a comprehensive coverage of the various new regulations) and the adaption of German competition law to the challenges of the digital economy.
The new provisions amongst others deal with merger control, the handling of “free” services, e.g. social media, and companies with the assessment of market power, in particular in the digital industry. This reform is likely to shape the competition law practice in Germany and Europe over the next years.
On 9 June 2017, the 9th amendment of the German Act Against Restraints of Competition (ARC) entered into effect introducing important amendments for companies to German competition law (please see the highlights of the 9th amendment of the ARC here). The reform deals with two main issues: the implementation of the European Cartel Damages Actions Directive (for a comprehensive coverage of the various new regulations, please see here) and the adaption of German competition law to the challenges of the digital economy.
The new provisions amongst others deal with merger control, the handling of “free” services, e.g. social media, and with the assessment of market power, in particular in the digital industry. This reform is likely to shape competition law practice in Germany and Europe over the next years. Many questions remain open, especially in the practical handling of the newly introduced size-of-transaction test in German merger control. This will lead to an increased need for coordination between companies and the Federal Cartel Office (FCO).
The Middle Ages are regarded as the golden age of the kin liability (Sippenhaft) in Germany. According to the principle of kin liability, family members had to stand up for the actions of their relatives, regardless of whether they were involved or not. Thus, kin liability was a form of collective liability. A family member was liable even if it had done nothing wrong. This principle was so far unknown to the German law of regulatory offences and law of torts. In these areas of law it was undoubtedly the principle of separation of legal entities (Trennungsprinzip) that ruled. Pursuant to such principle, a legal entity is only liable for such antitrust violations that have been committed by its organs or employees in an attributable manner. Not for more. The 9th GWB-amendment now applies the ax to this basic principle. Is there a relapse into dark medieval times? This blog post is devoted to the question what the new German law has to say on the issue of corporate collective liability in the field of competition law.