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Michaelmas Competition EU Cases
Art 101(1) Case
Facts: 3 producers put up their prices by same amount, same time, three times Held: Too suspicious, must be concerted practice. Provided def of concerted practice
Para 177: A meeting where all they talk about is anti competitive plans, merely attending meeting is enough to be proof that they have participated in such concerted action. In theory, must publicly distance yourself if such thing happens.
CRAM and Rheinzink
Two companies, French and German. Supplied zinc products to a belgian company. Under terms of contract Belgian company could only use products for export, not resell products in common market. What happened: Belgian company started selling products in Germany, undercutting prices of German company. At that moment, both suppliers, German and French stopped delivering supplies. Court: there was perfectly rational reason of parallel behaviour. Held: If rational explanation for parallel behavior, then it's okay.
Scandinavian and american woodpulp producers had practice where they announced in advance the max prices they would charge for each quarter of the year, and done this between 1971-1981) Commission argued that there mustn't be any price fixing. Court disagreed:
1. Price announcements did not lessen each undertakings uncertainty as to future behaviour of its competitors. Ie, when they were announcing its prices, they couldn't be sure as to what the others would be doing. Held, they were acting independently.
2. Court was satisfied that there was an alternative and perfectly rational explanation for parallel behaviour. Explanation was that woodpulp market was a long term market where both seller and buyers trying to limit commercial risk. Buyers asked for these announcements.
3. Actually, wood pulp market was oligopoly.
AEG v Comm
AEG operates system of distribution throughout the EU, to be part of it, needed to accept charging the high prices. One company didn't and complained this was concerted practice. AEG thought would win easy because unilateral behavior Held: The tacit agreement of all other distributors made it a concerted practice. .
Ford v Commission 1985
Ford made cars and had distribution system. In UK charged higher prices. So what happened a company imported cars from Germany to UK. Ford then told german makers to stop selling right handed cars, and the moment german sellers agreed they were in tacit agreement and thus concerted practice.
Bayer v Commission
Facts: Bayer made and marketed medical drug intended to treat heart disease. As result of differences between national health authorities of MS, prices of these drugs were different across EU, lower in France and Spain. So spain and france exported great amounts of drugs to the UK. Bayer realized this was going on, but instead of giving any instructions, what they did, was, started reducing level of supplies that they provided to Spain and France, until they only supplied them with enough to cover national markets Held: This was real unilateral behavior. No tacit agreement
Volkswagen v Commission
Facts: After distribution agreements had been signed, Commission found that manufacturer had sent circulars to all distributors with intention to influence the discount policy. But no evidence that distributors had implemented this in practice. Held: No Concerted practice
Zanussi, made household items, and had practice whereby you are only able to get guarantee with Zanussi product if the product was bought and used in the same MS. Indirectly it discourages import. Enough to show that it might affect trade.
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