The ‘Battle for the Soul of Antitrust’ Is Not Over Yet

December 16, 2009

(by Oles Andriychuk) In Pinar Akman’s post on the objective of competition policy as set out by the Court in GlaxoSmithKline (6 October 2009), she suggested the discussion in terms of ‘The Emperor is not Wearing Any Clothes’. I appreciate this metaphor, since to a large degree it indicates the situation with competition in present-day antitrust discourse. EU law has been preoccupied with the search for the appropriate benchmark of competition – so deeply that it has begin to forget the meaning of the word ‘competition’. Read the rest of this entry »

The Boundaries of Competition Policy and IPRs: What Have We Learnt From Qualcomm and Rambus?

December 10, 2009

(by Bruce Lyons) The European Commission today announced it has finally accepted undertakings from Rambus to more than halve the royalty rates on its patents embedded in an industry standard for DRAMs (computer memory chips).   Two weeks ago, the Commission quietly dropped its long-running case against Qualcomm whose patents are embodied in the 3G mobile phone standard.   Was this Neelie Kroes running out of time and tidying up tricky cases before incoming Commissioner Almunia starts rearranging her office furniture?  Or were these more significant deals setting out the economic principles underpinning competition law in relation to Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) in industry standards?  Read the rest of this entry »

German Regulator Tells Emirates To Stop Competing with Lufthansa

December 3, 2009

(by Bruce Lyons) Even in the arcane world of airline regulation, it was still surprising to hear last week’s announcement that Emirates would be fined if it continues “to engage in price leadership” and does not raise business class fares on routes out of Germany to non-EU destinations.  I think we can read this to mean “if Emirates continues to undercut national champion Lufthansa”. Read the rest of this entry »