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Italy: Judicial review

Premium - 01 December 1997

The bottle-manufacturer case shows the need to find a system involving proportionality, in terms of the consideration of the issues, in the process of judicial review of the Autorità Garante’s decisions. This would allow a smooth enforcement of competition law. On the other hand the absence of judicial review would deprive companies subject to an investigation of their right of defence. These cases show that this delicate balance is still under review, allowing plenty of opportunity for successful appeal or delay, although in many cases TAR has upheld the decisions of the Italian competition authority.

Japan: New deregulation plan

Premium - 01 December 1997

The Japanese Cabinet has approved the Second Revised Deregulation Action Plan. Some of the Plan’s measures include the review of a variety of competition law systems; the deletion of a notice requirement for international contracts; and the submission of an omnibus bill to repeal, reform, or review many of the systems which provide exemptions from the Antimonopoly Act.

Spain: Competition law reform

Premium - 01 December 1997

Although details of the reforms are not yet available, the intention of the government is to introduce far-reaching changes to the Spanish competition law system. In principle, reform is welcome. Firstly, it will introduce a more independent and powerful competition authority by separating the current SDC from the Ministry of Economy and Finance. The new reforms will also align the domestic merger control system with the European trend of moving to compulsory regimes. While the TDC currently examines only two or three concentrations per year, the German or Italian authorities examine several hundred. Finally, the changes to the state aid rules (an area which traditionally has a very low rate of enforcement in Spain) will also be significant, allowing interested third parties to request the intervention of the competition authorities.

Sweden: Posten AB v Competition Authority

Premium - 01 December 1997

The Swedish court has examined the burden of proof on the Competition Authority in predatory pricing cases. It found that where the alleged infringer had utilised generally accepted accounting principles, answered the Authority’s questions and not concealed information, the burden of proof was on the Authority to prove that the alleged infringer had abused its dominant position.

United Kingdom: Common merger application form

Premium - 01 December 1997

As an attempt to simplify procedures, the move to a uniformly recognised questionnaire should be welcomed. As a practical matter, however, the benefits of the new system are limited. The new form reflects the difficulties involved in achieving effective simplification.

United States: Resale price maintenance

Premium - 01 December 1997

In Khan, the Supreme Court received briefs supporting the rule of reason approach from a wide variety of sources, including the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission, automakers, beer distributors and newspaper publishers. In contrast, a group of approximately 30 state attorneys-general opposed the overruling of the per se rule enunciated in Albrecht. In finding for State Oil, the Court implicitly rejected the argument of the Attorneys General that maximum price fixing 'displaces the free play of market forces'.

Fast-track failure threatens Latin American competition

Premium - 01 December 1997

Competition lawyers are concerned that US president Bill Clinton’s failure to achieve fast-track voting rights in Congress last week will impede the development of competition in Latin America.

FTC appoints new General Counsel

Premium - 01 December 1997

FTC Chairman Robert Pitofsky has appointed Debra Valentine as the Commission’s first female General Counsel in its 83-year history.

European-wide impact of TV soccer rights

Premium - 01 December 1997

The UK’s first test case on collective sale of exclusive rights by a major sports association has been scheduled to begin in January 1999 in the Restrictive Practices Court. BSkyB currently has exclusive live rights over Premier League football games in the UK, but Director General of Fair Trading John Bridgeman is challenging the deal on the grounds of public interest. 'This is a key case for competition in the broadcasting market, where rapid developments in technology are taking place,' he said.

Boeing’s point man lets off steam

Premium - 01 December 1997

Boeing’s point man in Brussels, Ivo van Bael, claimed at the IBA’s Delhi conference last month that there were no checks on the 'tremendous power' wielded by the EU in the merger field.

Microsoft limbers up for battle

Premium - 01 December 1997

Brussels cleared the way for Microsoft’s run-in with the US Department of Justice when it closed an important case against the software giant at the end of November.

Sentrachem/Dow Chemical

Premium - 01 November 1997

US-based giant Dow Chemical announced at the end of August that the board of directors of South African based chemical company Sentrachem had accepted its revised offer to acquire all the shares of Sentrachem. Dow’s revised offer is 11.75 South African rand per share (US $2.50).