European Competition Journal

Journal Information
ISSN / EISSN : 1744-1056 / 1757-8396
Published by: Informa UK Limited (10.1080)
Total articles ≅ 401
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European Competition Journal pp 1-61; https://doi.org/10.1080/17441056.2021.1935570

Abstract:
European soccer clubs tend to spend beyond their revenues, causing disruptions in their finances. To minimize these disruptions, UEFA enacted the Financial Fair Play Regulations (FFP). FFP achieves its objectives through the “break-even” requirement, which prohibits clubs from spending beyond their revenues. This article argues that FFP violates Articles 101 and 102 TFEU. While there has been scholarly interest in FFP’s incompatibility with competition law, the focus has been on Article 101. In addition to contributing to the scholarship on FFP’s violation of Article 101, this article presents arguments on how FFP violates Article 102. This article then explores UEFA’s interactions with European regulators as a backdrop for explaining why regulators have failed to address FFP’s violation of Articles 101 and 102. This article concludes by arguing that a change to FFP is imminent and suggests a novel method through which UEFA can maintain FFP’s objectives while complying with competition law.
Christophe Samuel Hutchinson, Diana Treščáková
European Competition Journal pp 1-24; https://doi.org/10.1080/17441056.2021.1936400

Abstract:
The development of smart electronic devices are enabling online businesses to collect any data related to the consumer's online activity. Such an extensive trove of consumer personal data can be used for “personalized pricing”. We have evaluated the challenges this form of price discrimination creates for competition and found that in jurisdictions such as the EU which prosecute exploitative abuses, the probability that personalized pricing might be assessed as an abuse of dominant position is high. Another issue raised by the collection and the processing of data for personalized pricing purposes is the growing invasion of privacy. In the EU, the General Data Protection Regulation foresees that personal data cannot be used without the consent of the consumer. As for online businesses processing personal data, they’d better stick to the provisions of the GDPR aiming to ensure greater transparency, if they are to avoid any risk of infringement of privacy law.
European Competition Journal pp 1-23; https://doi.org/10.1080/17441056.2021.1936398

Abstract:
The unanticipated global mass panic that has arisen as a result of the rapid spread of the COVID-19 has had a major impact on the functioning of many markets. Many competition authorities around the world have faced with excessive pricing practices due to the dramatic price hikes of essential items, ranging from personal and medical equipment to basic food products particularly at the onset of the pandemic. The crisis has not been just about pricing, whether the public or the state is willing to pay for certain products or not; at the heart of the problem, there has been a sudden sharp asymmetry between the supply and demand. Based on this asymmetry, this article, by acknowledging that Article 102 (a) fails to deliver a swift and efficient response to this crisis due to conceptual and practical difficulties in its application, addresses other ways that competition authorities and governments use to deal with the virus-profiteers.
European Competition Journal pp 1-20; https://doi.org/10.1080/17441056.2021.1935567

Abstract:
The paper analyses the legality of online sales bans in selective distribution agreements in the EU, focusing on the “luxury brand image” justification as per the CJEU judgements and the decisions of the EC and national competition authorities. The paper questions the criteria for determining what constitutes a luxury trademark, and whether it is fair to distinguish (or even discriminate) between luxury and non-luxury trademarks, considering that both should have effective control and choice of the distribution of their goods. The paper concludes that the success of the selective distribution system depends on the effective control the trademark owner exercises over it, irrespective of whether or not it is covered by the aura of luxury.11 The paper does not deal with the exhaustion of trademark rights. Although a selective distribution agreement is among the “legitimate reasons” which excludes the application of the exhaustion doctrine of the trademark after the goods have been put on the market, pursuant to Article 15 of the EU Trademark Regulation (see Regulation (EU) 2017/1001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 June 2017 on the European Union trade mark, OJ L 154, 16.6.2017, p. 1–99). The non-luxury brands currently may justify their restrictions on sales on third party platforms under the unfair competition grounds. The selective distribution system should aim at protecting trademark image, which may not necessarily be luxury.
, Damien Geradin
European Competition Journal pp 1-39; https://doi.org/10.1080/17441056.2021.1936401

Abstract:
Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon (the “GAFAs”) have been slow to disrupt the financial services sector, but they are likely to do so in the coming years by using their control of important customer access points such as mobile operating systems, search engines, app stores, and marketplaces. This paper discusses these issues in the context of competition law enforcement and the emerging UK and EU regulatory regimes aiming to curb the GAFAs’ market power. The new rules can ensure that consumers will benefit from the innovations of the GAFAs and others without suffering the long-run effects of their further accumulation of market power. The new rules can ensure that the GAFAs do not benefit from an asymmetry of regulatory obligations compared to their financial services competitors, and that the GAFAs cannot leverage their market power from core activities into financial services whereby their financial services competitors are hindered in reacting.
Damien Geradin, , Theano Karanikioti
European Competition Journal pp 1-65; https://doi.org/10.1080/17441056.2021.1930450

Abstract:
Now a multi-billion-dollar industry, online advertising is what funds free online content. At the core of this industry lies the ability to track users through various technical means, such as cookies, which has sparked privacy concerns, and is thus subject to a growing body of regulation. But the most important rules around tracking seem to come from a handful of large platforms who have assumed the role of a de facto privacy regulator. In this paper we explore in detail Google’s decision to phase out support for third-party cookies on Chrome, accompanied by a set of proposals known as the Privacy Sandbox proposals. We query whether this decision raises any antitrust concerns – and if so, how they can be reconciled with the objective of privacy. At a conceptual level, we use this opportunity to reflect on the relationship between competition law and privacy and the trade-offs regulators may have to make.
European Competition Journal pp 1-30; https://doi.org/10.1080/17441056.2021.1909234

Abstract:
The “competitive strength” of a company in the digital economy is becoming increasingly more reliant on the data it has at its disposal. As such, personal data has been described as “the new oil of the internet and the new currency of the digital world”. The emergence of personal data as “currency” has reinvigorated the development of privacy and consumer protection laws However, competition law has sought to maintain a strict level of separation between what falls within the “scope” of antitrust enforcement and matters deemed “wholly or partially” unrelated to competition. In highlighting the anti-competitive effects created by the vast databases of personal and often sensitive information (Big Data) being acquired by today's dominant internet platforms. this paper seeks to argue that a more refined and comprehensive analysis of the competitive effects of data in merger review is lacking and is required as a matter of urgency.
European Competition Journal pp 1-32; https://doi.org/10.1080/17441056.2021.1930451

Abstract:
Exploitative abuse of a dominant position is a long-recognized category of infringements of what is now Article 102 TFEU. Article 102’s prohibition originated in the EEC Treaty, which broke down barriers and prohibited restraints on competition so the free market could reign. But every exploitative abuse case is a breach of faith in the market. And punishing exploitative abuse weakens the rule of law: No rule or standard controls, so potential infringers have no way to know what is expected of them. Exploitative abuse should be abandoned, and this essay argues that doing so would not disrespect the text of Article 102, ignore the intentions of the EEC Treaty’s drafters, or undermine any stated goal of the Treaty.
European Competition Journal pp 1-31; https://doi.org/10.1080/17441056.2021.1930452

Abstract:
The European Commission has recently begun to reflect on whether competition law is a barrier to the formation of collective labour agreements between industry and atypical workers. The policy focus to date has been on whether and how to extend the antitrust labour exemptions to certain classes of atypical worker. This paper shows how efforts in this direction in the Netherlands and Ireland have revealed that this is a tricky path to pursue. As a result, the paper proposes four additional approaches: three of these indicate that even if atypical workers are treated as undertakings and collective bargains between them and employers fall to be assessed under competition law, many agreements will unlikely have anticompetitive effects and for those that may do so, exemptions are possible. A fifth approach is that active antitrust enforcement against employers imposing unfair terms on atypical workers may function to solve some of the concerns that collective bargaining seeks to address.
European Competition Journal pp 1-35; https://doi.org/10.1080/17441056.2021.1911730

Abstract:
This paper reports an assessment of horizontal ownership concentration, contingent on congeneric acquisitions, on firm-level strategic behaviour in the telecommunications sector. Consequent to deals, the change in the concentration index was over one and half times the value of the original ratio. An asset control Herfindahl Hirschman Index (AHHI) shot up from 1056 to 2747. Firms' strategic behaviour examined has been debt level in capital structure. Companies associated with a high value of the structural capital variable have had significantly lower debt, around 24% less than average, while companies associated with a low value of the structural capital variable have had significantly higher debt, of around 11% more than average. Companies identified as owned by horizontal ownership controllers with high market power have had significantly lower debt, of around 19% less than average. The behaviour of companies have been competitively aggressive, as an outcome of horizontal ownership concentration.
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