Our team of experts understand the additional responsibilities given to companies with significant market power not to use that power in a way which reduces, restricts or distorts competition. We regularly advise companies that hold or may hold dominant market positions to determine whether the rules affect them and if so how they can ensure compliance with the minimal disruption to their commercial positions.
Whilst, cartels are arguably the most obvious and the most serious breaches of competition law, our experience has taught us that what sometimes amounts to cartel behaviour is not as straight forward as it may seem. We regularly guide clients through the confusing rules to ensure that they fully understand them and we are always on hand to defend them if anything goes wrong.
We are fully aware that companies involved in distribution or supply agreements, IP licensing or joint ventures are often subject to agreements which contain restrictive terms such as non-compete, MFN or exclusivity clauses. We work with these companies to review their agreements to ensure that these provisions continue to be lawful and enforceable. We fully understand that the new challenges arising from electronic trading raise additional competition issues which interface with licensing of digital rights, rules relating to on-line markets, geo-blocking, the use of price comparison sites as well as impacting models of selective distribution, and we regularly assist our clients in navigating complaint solutions while maximising our their commercial objectives.
Our team of competition law experts works closely with clients to ensure that competitors or suppliers do not breach their commercial arrangements and if necessary lodge complaints with regulators on their behalf. We have successfully resolved disputes and influenced commercial negotiations to the advantage of our clients; as well as influenced market investigations and complaints with the use of competition law arguments. We regularly tackle unlawful behaviour by our clients’ competitors or suppliers when they abuse the dominant market positions or other breaches of competition law in order to gain unfair commercial advantages.
We understand the full extent to a company if found guilty of breaching competition law. We work hand in hand with clients to develop customised compliance policies, and to identify areas of risk, training and review needs. We also have specific expertise in advising on specific practices and commercial agreements.
Our experts are adept to advising companies who are being acquired, merging or in the process of changing control, on UK, EU and multinational merger control requirements. We regularly advise on the requirements, make filings and instruct lawyers in other jurisdictions where necessary to arrange multinational filings. Our approach is always flexible, quick and responsive as we understand that in these circumstances time is of the essence. We also work with economists and other experts where complex substantive filings are necessary and engage at an early stage with competition authorities to ensure that the main issues are identified so as to help shape the merger strategy and deliver commercially viable results.
Our leading experts have specific industry sector knowledge in regards to pharmaceutical and healthcare regulation. We are fully aware of the particular scrutiny that the sector attracts from the lies of competition authorities. We have many years of experience dealing with the IP, regulatory and licensing issues which are central to the application of competition law in this field; and have advised on related pure regulatory matters such as labelling, advertising and borderline food/pharma issues as well as pricing and procurement.
Our lawyers understand that standardisation is an essential feature of many industries’ products and services and particularly important for interconnection in telecommunications, digital, IT and other high tech sectors. The standards process can be fraught with competition challenges due to the need for joint collaboration of competitors to create standard technical solutions. We have considerable experience in assisting clients with all aspects of these issues, and others that may arise, and we have worked to achieve competition compliant viable structures for both sides in the standardisation debate. Our team has also assisted standard bodies themselves in their corporate governance requirements when managing the standards development process.
Our lawyers regularly help clients to identify when they are receiving state aid and to determine any exemptions applicable or notify and seek approval where necessary. The need to avoid receiving an illegal state aid as part of any investment agreement is essential in order to have the security that funds provided will not be unlawful.
Our team is fully aware of the important interface between IP rights and competition in the media and technology sectors and this is a particular area of our expertise. We regularly advise clients in relation to competition and regulatory issues affecting e-commerce, digital rights, broadcasting, music, collecting societies, geo-blocking, rental rights and on-line distribution. We also have vast experience in a wide range of telecommunications regulatory and competition law matters including local loop unbundling, universal service provisions, interconnection agreements, standardisation and wholesale pricing margin squeeze.
Our experts are aware of the sector specific competition and regulatory issues applicable to travel and air transport which are complex and can be highly technical. Our team of leading specialists in this area has a very broad range of experience in advising clients through a number of issues including IATA licensing and bonding, code sharing agreements, GDS contracts and positioning, air ticket pricing, slot allocation, package travel regulations, passenger compensation, air space change and air navigation law and regulations, airline joint ventures and mergers and air operation licensing and ownership.