A round-up of recent developments

It is a relatively busy time in Canada for abuse of dominance enforcement. In just the last few months, the Competition Tribunal (the Tribunal) has decided an application brought by the Commissioner of Competition (the Commissioner) against a trade association in the real estate brokerage industry; the Commissioner has commenced new proceedings to prohibit allegedly exclusionary practices in the rental water heater industry; and the Commissioner’s staff at the Competition Bureau (the Bureau) are demonstrating an interest in patents and the pharmaceutical industry after a period of relatively muted activity in the area that had distinguished it from its peer agencies in the US and Europe.


The European Commission is looking for feedback on commitments offered by Google in relation to online search and search advertising.


The OFT has issued a statement of objections to GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and three smaller pharmaceutical undertakings, alleging that GSK entered into anticompetitive “pay for delay” deals with each of the companies.

The UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal awards damages for abuse of dominance

by Elaine Whiteford*

On 28 March 2013, the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) handed down its judgment in the action brought by Albion Water to recover losses resulting from an abuse of dominance that the CAT had previously decided had been committed by Dŵr Cymru.

The ACCC takes a swipe at Visa

On 4 February 2013, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) commenced proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia against Visa Inc, and a number of Visa affiliates (together, Visa), alleging contraventions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (the Act) in relation to dynamic currency conversion services (DCC).


In the provisional findings of its investigation into statutory audit services, the UK’s Competition Commission says that there are too many factors inhibiting companies from switching to new auditors and that the focus of those supplying audits is on pleasing management rather than telling shareholders what they need to know.

The EU Court of Justice reins in the General Court

The EU Court of Justice recently gave its much anticipated judgment in the long-running AstraZeneca litigation. Although the Court upheld the General Court’s judgment in its entirety, its dicta defuse some of the General Court’s most damaging statements.

The General Court overturns two key European Commission decisions

In two landmark rulings on 20 September 2012, the General Court of the European Union (GCEU) in Luxembourg annulled the two European Commission decisions on the Greek lignite case. Lignite is a soft brown fuel with characteristics that put it somewhere between coal and peat and constitutes (in the Commission’s opinion) the country’s cheapest available fuel.


The European Commission has sent Microsoft a statement of objections concerning the software giant’s failure to keep its promises to offer customers a choice of internet browsers.


The recent Cardiff Bus case highlights the importance of convincing factual and commercial evidence in competition-related damages claims

by Bruno Augustin*

The recent judgment of the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal in the case of 2 Travel Group Plc (in liquidation) v Cardiff City Transport Services Ltd represents the first time a final award of damages for an infringement of competition legislation has been granted by the CAT.


Exemplary damages are awarded for unlawful conduct pursued with cynical or outrageous disregard for the claimant's rights. They were awarded for the first time for a breach of competition law on 5 July (2 Travel v Cardiff City Transport [2012] CAT 19).


The UK’s Office of Fair Trading has referred Ryanair’s acquisition of a minority stake in Aer Lingus to the Competition Commission.


The Canadian Competition Bureau has brought MasterCard and Visa before the Competition Tribunal, alleging that the two credit card operators impose anticompetitive terms on retailers.


The competition commissioner Joaquín Almunia has given Google the opportunity to answer the Commission’s concern that it is abusing a dominant market position (see also Opinion / Ghosts from the Microsoft case haunt Google).