Recent Developments in EU Competition Law

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The following is a summary of key developments in EU Competition Law from the last year.

Exploitative Abuses of a Dominant Position

Although the application of Article 102 the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which prohibits the abuse of a dominant position, has been concerned mainly with exclusionary abuses, two recent cases—concerning Qualcomm and Rambus—appear to indicate that the European Commission is shifting its focus from exclusionary abuses to exploitative abuses.

Qualcomm

In 2006, following a complaint filed by six mobile phone manufacturers, the Commission opened formal proceedings against Qualcomm, concerning allegedly abusive royalties Qualcomm was said to have charged in breach of its fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) commitments. However, as a result of a settlement between Nokia and Qualcomm, all the complainants withdrew their complaints and the Commission closed the proceedings without issuing a Statement of Objections. As a result, the Commission’s views on excessive prices in breach of a FRAND commitment remained unknown.

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