Posts Tagged Antitrust
Vestel v HEVC Advance (Delaware) and Philips (NL). High Court denies stand-alone competition law damage both on the basis of Article 7(2) BRU Ia and residual CPR rules.
In  EWHC 2766 (Ch) Vestel Elektronik v HEVC Advance and Koninklijke Philips NV, Hacon J found no jurisdiction in a stand-alone competition law damages case (no finding of infringement yet; claim is one of abuse of dominant position). He rejected the existence of jurisdiction against Philips NV (of The Netherlands) on the basis that no damage existing or potential could be shown grounding Article 7(2) Brussels Ia tortious Jurisdiction. Against the Delaware defendant, the relevant CPR rules applied per Four Seasons v Brownlie did not lead to jurisdiction either.
(Handbook of) EU Private International Law, 2nd ed. 2016, Chapter 2, Heading 18.104.22.168
ECJ confirms AG’s Opinion in Otis: EC can sue for damages itself after having acted as antitrust enforcer
The ECJ has today, 6 November 2012, confirmed Cruz Villalón AG’s Opinion in Case C-199/11, European Union v Otis et al. The EC’s role in antitrust enforcement does not rule out future action in damages by the same institution, also on behalf of others, provided safeguards are met. For my earlier post on the AG’s Opinion, see here.
European Commission’s role in antitrust enforcement does not rule out future action in damages – Cruz Villalón AG in Otis
Cruz Villalón AG’s Opinion in Case C-199/11, European Union v Otis et al, suggests that the EC’s role in antitrust enforcement does not rule out future action in damages by the same institution, also on behalf of others, provided safeguards are met.
The impact of the case should probably not be overestimated, as it is one of those ‘peculiar’ cases: the European Commission (‘EC’), representing the EU, is suing Otis et al for damages in a Brussels Court (the seat of the EU), damages sustained following cartel behaviour in the elevator market, which the Commission itself had previously found to be illegal under EU antitrust rules. Defendants argued in Brussels (subsequently referred to the Court in Luxembourg) that the EC’s prior involvement meant that it could not be both judge and party in the ‘same’ case. Reference was made in particular to the ‘equality of arms’ principle and the principle of right to a fair trial, under the Charter of Fundamental Rights, and the European Convention on Human Rights – ECHR.
The AG’s view, perhaps not surprisingly, is that the Commission’s decision in the anti-trust case is of course subject to judicial review with the European Courts (and indeed it is being appealed), hence safeguarding the companies’ right to fair trial etc.: the Belgian court may be well advised (although not necessarily obliged) to halt proceedings until the Court of Justice has ruled on that appeal. He also suggest that no data obtained by the EC in their competition investigation, and which have not been openly communicated to the companies, are being relied upon in the damages action (consequently arguably also suggesting a bar on such use): both parties are hence equally armed.
Postscript: the ECJ in November 2012 confirmed the Opinion. See here.