Robert Bell

Robert Bell

Bryan Cave

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Retailers - can you be liable for cartel behaviour for using pricing software and algorithms?

A key issue regulators are grappling with is what antitrust liability can attach to retailers who use price matching software or other algorithms to match competitors’ online prices? In a speech made on 16 March 2017,...more

3/23/2017 - Algorithms Antitrust Provisions Cartels Corporate Counsel Digital Single Market EU Pricing Retailers

Distribution Problems for US Companies in Europe and How To Avoid Them

Many US (and EU) companies operate in Europe with pricing and distribution policies which may breach EU competition rules. EU regulators are taking an increasingly tough line on pricing and online market place access. Robert...more

3/20/2017 - Contract Drafting Contract Terms EU Geo-Blocking Global Marketplace Most-Favored Nations Product Pricing Sales & Distribution Agreements

Claimants' Guide to Antitrust Competition Litigation in EU

Recent years have seen a significant increase in the number of private competition claims in the European Union. The Claimants' guide to Antitrust/Competition Litigation in the European Union provides an overview of the...more

2/23/2017 - Abuse of Dominance Calculation of Damages Cartels Competition Authorities EU Jurisdiction Price-Fixing Private Right of Action TFEU UK UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)

EU Competition Newsletter – February 2017

Portugal Asks European Court to Determine the Criteria Required for Discriminatory Pricing to Be an Abuse Under Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union - Portuguese Court has asked the...more

2/22/2017 - Antitrust Provisions BMW CJEU Cross-Border E-Commerce EU Internet Retailers Merger Controls Samsung TFEU UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) Unfair Pricing

UK begins to Reshape its World Trading Relationships following Brexit with Parliamentary Inquiry into Potential US/UK Trade Deal

One of the advantages of Brexit is that the UK will be free to agree its own trade deals with the rest of the world for the first time in nearly 50 years. However, until the UK formally leaves the European Union the EU...more

2/13/2017 - EU ITC Popular Trade Agreements UK UK Brexit

EU Commission Gets Serious About Geo-Blocking

On 2 February 2017, the EU Commission simultaneously launched three investigations into the e-commerce sector. What is significant about this latest development is that it shows that e-commerce is a clear priority area in...more

2/10/2017 - Anti-Competitive Cross-Border E-Commerce EU European Commission Geo-Blocking TFEU

Reverse Cross Border Merger Could Become Popular as UK Companies Restructure in Advance of Brexit

Reverse cross border mergers could become a popular device for UK companies seeking to maintain and preserve “passporting” or other EU rights. The mechanism of a reverse cross-border merger (in this context whereby a UK...more

2/3/2017 - Corporate Restructuring Cross-Border Transactions EU EU Directive Limited Liability Company (LLC) Reverse Mergers UK UK Brexit

BMW reverses its policy on internet selling restrictions for dealers following CMA action

In 2016, Carwow a new car portal, which introduces customers to dealers for the purchase of cars, complained to the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) that BMW UK was prohibiting its dealers from listing their new BMW...more

1/31/2017 - BMW Car Dealerships Portal TFEU UK UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)

January EU Competition Newsletter

Digital and Pharma Merger Cases Raise Worry of Enforcement Gap in EU Merger Control - On 7 October 2016, the EU Commission launched a public consultation ("the Consultation") on the functioning of certain procedural and...more

1/25/2017 - Competition Authorities E-Commerce EU France Germany Italy Merger Controls Mortgage Lenders Payment Systems Pharmaceutical Industry

UK Supreme Court declares Government must pass Act of Parliament to trigger the process of leaving the European Union

The UK Supreme Court (the “Court”) in its most important and far reaching judgment to date decided that the UK Government has to seek the approval of the UK Parliament before issuing an Article 50 notice to begin the process...more

1/25/2017 - Article 50 Treaty of the EU EU Referendums UK UK Brexit UK Parliament UK Supreme Court

Portugal asks European Court to determine what criteria are required for discriminatory pricing to be an abuse under Article 102...

A Portuguese Court has asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to provide guidance on when “discriminatory pricing applied to equivalent transactions” amounts to an abuse of a dominant positon under Article 102 (c)...more

1/23/2017 - Abuse of Dominance CJEU EU Portugal TFEU Unfair Pricing

UK to leave EU Single Market!

On 17 January 2017, the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, gave a historic speech regarding Brexit and the UK’s negotiating position. For the first time since the Brexit vote in June 2016, the UK Government has officially...more

1/18/2017 - EU EU Single Market Free Trade Agreements Theresa May Trump Administration UK UK Brexit

Financial Conduct Authority probes competition in the mortgage sector

On 12th December 2016 the Financial Conduct Authority (the “FCA”) launched a market study into the residential mortgage market to ascertain whether competition in that market is working as well as it could and to identify...more

1/9/2017 - Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) FSMA Mortgage Lenders Regulatory Agenda UK UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)

EU Competition Newsletter - December 2016

Single Market Withdrawal: A New Challenge to Brexit for the UK Government - Should Parliament have a say over whether Britain could remain in the European Economic Area?...more

12/22/2016 - Abuse of Dominance Competition Authorities Contractors Dairy Farmers EU Single Market Fashion Industry France Germany Italy Telecommunications TFEU UK Brexit

EU Retail News - December 2016

In 2010, two business school graduates launched Birchbox; a monthly subscription service to a box filled with sample-sized beauty products from over 309 brands. Birchbox has solved one of the most significant barriers to...more

12/21/2016 - EU Fashion Branding Generic Instagram Internet Retailers Mobile Apps Price-Fixing Retailers Social Networks Subscription Services Trademarks UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)

UK Competition Regulator Targets Big Pharma Over Excessive Pricing

Compare and contrast the current excessive pricing debates occurring in the US with those in the UK. In both markets, pharmaceutical firms are being berated for double, triple and even quadruple digit rises in the prices of...more

12/20/2016 - Competition Act Drug Pricing Pfizer Pharmaceutical Industry Prescription Drugs UK UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)

Auction service providers under investigation for suspected anti-competitive practices in UK

On 22 November 2016, the Competition Market Authority (CMA) announced the opening of an initial investigation into suspected breaches of competition law in relation to the supply of auction services in the UK. The CMA...more

12/9/2016 - Auction Cartels Expedia Online Travel Vendors UK UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)

The CMA obtains its first disqualification undertaking from a director for competition law infringement

Businesses that breach competition law can face serious financial and reputational consequences. Certain serious breaches of competition law may also put individuals at risk of criminal prosecution. In addition, the CMA may...more

12/9/2016 - Anti-Competitive Board of Directors Criminal Prosecution Disqualification UK UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)

Single Market Withdrawal : a new legal challenge to Brexit for the UK government

Should Parliament have a say over whether Britain could remain in the European Economic Area? Introduction - The UK Government faces yet another challenge over its determination to take the UK out of the EU and the...more

12/1/2016 - Article 50 Treaty of the EU EEA EU EU Single Market Referendums UK Brexit UK Parliament

Will the Scots scupper Brexit?: Scotland given permission to intervene in landmark UK Supreme Court case on triggering of Article...

The UK Supreme Court on 18th November 2016 gave permission to the Lord Advocate of Scotland, on behalf of the Scottish Government , to intervene in the UK Government’s forthcoming appeal against the English High Court’s...more

11/22/2016 - Article 50 Treaty of the EU EU Member State Referendums Scotland UK UK Brexit

Court confirms no right of correction for tender proposals after deadline

On 19 October 2016, the Scottish Court of Session in the Renfrewshire Council case [ 2016 ] CSOH 150 CA 78/16 (Dem-Master Demolition Ltd V Renfrewshire Council as lead authority for Scotland Excel) confirmed that a...more

11/18/2016 - Public Projects Scotland Tender Offers UK

EU Competition Newsletter - November 2016

The European Commission issues Statement of Objections against Brussels Airlines and TAP Portugal over “anticompetitive” codesharing arrangements - The European Commission have expressed concern over the possible...more

11/18/2016 - Airlines Anticompetitive Behavior Burden of Proof CJEU EU Freight Forwarding French Competition Authority Germany Gun-Jumping Internet Retailers Italy Monopolization Price-Fixing Sanofi UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)

CMA continues crackdown against price fixing online

On the 7th November 2016, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched a campaign to remind online sellers that agreeing and discussing price level with competitors is illegal and can result in serious penalties....more

11/15/2016 - Internet Retailers Price-Fixing Retailers UK UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)

UK Government must seek Parliamentary approval to trigger Article 50 notice to leave EU

On 3rd November 2016 the UK High Court today ruled that the Government must seek Parliamentary approval before it gives notice to leave the European Union under Article 50. The decision - The Government had...more

11/4/2016 - Article 50 Treaty of the EU EU European Communities Act UK UK Brexit

EU Retail News – October 2016

Can retailers find the perfect mix? Retailers are increasingly under pressure to evaluate their business models and, in particular, the mix of their in-store, online and mobile offerings. Just as there are few pure-play...more

10/26/2016 - Business Model Commercial Use Cross-Border Transactions Drones E-Commerce EU Geo-Blocking Internet Retailers Millennials Retailers Supply Chain

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