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Cartels

We are Stibbe Cartels specialists

We have expertise in helping corporations develop coordinated cross-border strategies should they become the subject of national or multi-jurisdictional investigations.

Cartels

In recent years, antitrust authorities have stepped up their action against national, European and worldwide cartels. We advise corporations on how they could avoid procedures and assist them should they become subject to investigation. 

Our international team consists of specialists in cartels, criminal & civil litigation and labour law. Working together on antitrust cases as one cohesive team, they develop coordinated cross-border strategies and advice in many legal areas.

They have first-hand experience in numerous antitrust investigations including dawn-raids and the immediate tactical assessment of a corporation’s position to the fact finding, administrative processes and subsequent appeals. Swift action is taken in situations where time is of the essence, such as ‘whistleblowing’ cases.

As a firm we place great emphasis on avoiding cartel procedures by providing regular training and advice on competition law compliance with clients.

On a cross-border level, we maintain strong relationships with leading law firms in jurisdictions around the world enabling us to provide sound judgment in all cartel cases.

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Related news

04.02.2021 NL law
ECJ clarifies limits of antitrust limitation periods

Short Reads - Companies confronted with antitrust investigations and fines may find safeguard behind the rules governing limitation periods (often termed ‘statutes of limitation’). However, two preliminary rulings by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) show that those rules are not necessarily set in stone. According to the ECJ, national time limits relating to the imposition of antitrust fines may require deactivation if these limits result in a ‘systemic risk’ that antitrust infringements may go unpunished.

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07.01.2021 NL law
Commission evaluates Antitrust Damages Directive: to be continued

Short Reads - On 14 December 2020, the Commission published a report on the implementation of the Antitrust Damages Directive (the Directive). The Commission observes a significant increase in antitrust damages actions since the adoption of the Directive. However, there is insufficient experience with the new Directive to properly evaluate its application. Instead, the Commission provides a concise overview of the implementation of some key aspects of the Directive.

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07.01.2021 NL law
Amsterdam District Court puts a halt to unlimited forum shopping

Short Reads - On 25 November 2020, the Amsterdam District Court (the Court) declined jurisdiction over all non-Dutch defendants (the foreign defendants) in proceedings for compensation of damage based partly on an infringement of Article 101 TFEU. The proceedings were initiated by four public utility companies from the Gulf States (claimants) against both Dutch and foreign defendants.

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03.12.2020 NL law
The next 5 years: European Commission launches New Consumer Agenda

Short Reads - Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the European Commission is already looking ahead to set its consumer protection priorities for the next five years. Key points in the New Consumer Agenda include equipping consumers with better information on product sustainability, digital transformation, effective enforcement, safety concerning products ‘made in China’ and protecting particularly vulnerable consumers such as children, older people or those with disabilities. The New Consumer Agenda is a follow-up to the 2018 New Deal for Consumers.

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04.02.2021 NL law
Game over? Gaming companies fined for geo-blocking

Short Reads - The Commission’s cross-border sales crusade seems far from over. The EUR 7.8 million fine imposed on distribution platform owner Valve and five PC video games publishers for geo-blocking practices is the most recent notch in the Commission’s belt. Food producer Mondelĕz may be next on the Commission’s hit list: a formal investigation into possible cross-border trade restrictions was opened recently.

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07.01.2021 NL law
ACM study calls for regulation of Big Techs on payment market

Short Reads - The ACM’s market study, published on 1 December 2020, provides an overview of recent and upcoming developments concerning the role of Big Tech companies in both online and offline payment markets in the Netherlands. Although Big Tech companies currently have a relatively limited presence in these markets, the ACM expects significant expansion in the near future given these companies’ ability to leverage existing market power on other (platform) markets.

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07.01.2021 NL law
Do the math: ACM publishes strategy on monitoring use algorithms

Short Reads - The ACM worries that the use of algorithms may lead to the creation of cartels, or nudge consumers towards a purchasing decision that is not in their best interest. Therefore, on 10 December 2020, it published a new policy document (in Dutch) setting out what businesses can expect when the ACM checks their algorithms. On the same day, the ACM also launched a trial with online music library Muziekweb to improve the ACM’s knowledge about the categories of data that are likely to be relevant in such investigations. All signs indicate the ACM’s intention to become more active in this area.

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03.12.2020 NL law
On the right track? GC sends mixed messages with Lithuanian Railways

Short Reads - The essential facilities doctrine imposes on holders of indispensable facilities a duty to deal with their competitors. While a railway track may seem essential, a track’s removal does not fall under this doctrine if carried out by a monopolist manager of a state-developed facility bearing a statutory obligation to grant third parties access to its facilities. According to the General Court, the Commission was therefore correct to use the general framework for abuse of a dominant position to assess the Lithuanian railway operator’s removal of a railway track.

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07.01.2021 NL law
(Geo)blockbuster: Canal+ ruling annuls commitment decision

Short Reads - A heads-up for companies seeking to settle in antitrust proceedings: commercially-affected third party complainants are not to be ignored. The Canal+ judgment marks the first time a commitment decision has been successfully challenged since the adoption of Regulation 1/2003. The European Court of Justice annulled the commitment decision on the ground that the Commission failed to take into account the rights of contractual parties affected by the commitments.

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05.11.2020 NL law
Belgian prohibition on abuse of economic dependence comes into force and new fining guidelines

Short Reads - In 2019, Belgium introduced legislation banning abuse in relationships between companies where there is no dominant position, but rather a position of economic dependence. The act entered into force on 22 August 2020. This category of restrictive practice applies alongside the existing prohibitions on cartels and abuse of a dominant position. It opens up new opportunities but also new threats for companies that are not in a dominant position.

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