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Follow-On Civil Litigation

We are Stibbe Follow-On Civil Litigation specialists

With follow-on civil litigation becoming increasingly prevalent, we offer the sound legal advice and guidance our clients need and assistance in court, including economic analysis.

Follow-On Civil Litigation

With the recent campaign by the European Commission to facilitate antitrust damage claims, we have seen a significant rise in the volume of follow-on civil litigation cases. We help to identify the risks and guide our clients to a swift conclusion.

To ensure the highest level of service, specialists from our litigation and competition law practices collaborate to form an integrated Antitrust Litigation Group that specialises in defending clients against antitrust damage claims. With proven experience in cooperating with economic experts, their combined experience makes them one of the strongest groups in the Benelux.  

We are involved in many national disputes, some of which have led to preliminary procedures before the European courts in Luxemburg. Furthermore, competition law infringements often have a cross-border element resulting in civil litigation in multiple jurisdictions occurring more or less simultaneously. Our Antitrust Litigation Group has successfully represented clients in disputes connected with almost all Western and Northern European jurisdictions.

Through strong working relationships with top-tier law firms in other jurisdictions around the world, we can, at very short notice, advise on appropriate strategies to deal with both national and international dimensions of follow-on litigation.

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01.04.2021 NL law
Slovak Telekom: ECJ on essentials of the ‘essential facilities’ doctrine

Short Reads - Only dominant companies with a “genuinely tight grip” on the market can be forced to grant rivals access to their infrastructure. According to the ECJ’s rulings in Slovak Telekom and Deutsche Telekom, it is only in this scenario that the question of indispensability of the access for rivals comes into play. In the assessment of practices other than access refusal, indispensability may be indicative of a potential abuse of a dominant position, but is not a required condition.

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01.04.2021 NL law
Collective action stopped due to lack of benefit for class members

Short Reads - On 9 December 2020, the Amsterdam District Court (the “Court”) declared a foundation inadmissible in a collective action regarding alleged manipulation of LIBOR, EURIBOR and other interest rate benchmarks. The foundation sought declaratory judgments that Rabobank, UBS, Lloyds Bank and ICAP (the “defendants”) had engaged in wrongful conduct and unjust enrichment vis-à-vis the class members.

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04.03.2021 NL law
Amsterdam Court of Appeal accepts jurisdiction in competition law damages case concerning Greek beer market

Short Reads - On 16 February 2021, the Amsterdam Court of Appeal (the Court of Appeal) set aside a judgment of the Amsterdam District Court (the District Court) in which the District Court declined jurisdiction over the alleged claims against Athenian Brewery (AB), a Greek subsidiary of Heineken N.V. (Heineken), in a civil case brought by competitor Macedonian Thrace Brewery (MTB).

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01.04.2021 NL law
Pay-for-delay saga ends with nothing new; but pharma quest continues

Short Reads - On 25 March 2021, the ECJ ended the Lundbeck pay-for-delay saga by dismissing the appeals from Lundbeck and five generic manufacturers against a European Commission ‘pay-for-delay’ decision. Following its recent Paroxetine judgment, the ECJ found that Lundbeck’s process patents did not preclude generic companies being viewed as potential competitors, particularly since the patents did not represent an insurmountable barrier to entry. In addition, the patent settlement agreements constituted infringements "by object".

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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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01.04.2021 NL law
ECJ in Pometon: beware of too much info in staggered hybrid proceedings

Short Reads - In hybrid cartel proceedings (in which one party opts out of settlement), settlement decisions should not pre-judge the outcome of the Commission's investigation into non-settling parties. When the Commission publishes the settlement decision before the decision imposing a fine on the non-settling party, it must be careful in its drafting, the European Court of Justice confirmed. Furthermore, differences in the fining methodology applied to (similarly placed) settling and non-settling parties will have to be objectively justified and sufficiently reasoned.

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04.03.2021 NL law
Net(work) closing in on cross-border cartels?

Short Reads - A heads-up for companies with cross-border activities. The ECN+ Directive’s transposition deadline has expired and its provisions should by now have found their way into the national laws of the EU Member States. In the Netherlands, amendments to the Dutch Competition Act giving effect to the ECN+ Directive came into force recently, together with a new governmental decree on leniency.

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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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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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