EU Competition Law
In today’s increasingly global economy, many of our clients find themselves facing complex issues involving both EC competition law and the competition laws of EU member states.
Our competition lawyers in Brussels, Frankfurt, London, and Paris, as well as our U.S.-based authorities on European competition law, provide clients with the full spectrum of antitrust services.
Morgan Lewis’s European competition practice encompasses every kind of antitrust issue faced by clients involved in the European Union. We make merger and other filings with and obtain clearance from both the European Commission and national competition authorities, defend clients accused of antitrust violations, provide antitrust counseling, draft agreements, prosecute complaints against represented/third parties in merger proceedings, negotiate with antitrust authorities, and generally ensure that clients’ business operations comply with and are not unduly hampered by the applicable competition law requirements.
More specifically, the range of European competition law services we provide encompasses:
- Antitrust clearance of mergers and acquisitions (equivalent to Clayton Act § 7) from the European Commission and those national competition authorities that may require a premerger filing (in particular, the German Federal Cartel Office)
- Defense of cartels and other restrictive agreements between competitors, such as price fixing, market sharing, and production ceilings (equivalent to per se violations of Sherman Act § 1, agreements in restraint of trade), as well as the negotiation of leniency arrangements and fine reductions
- Vertical agreements, including exclusive/nonexclusive distribution, selective distribution, franchising, and agency agreements (equivalent to non per se violations or rule of reason cases under Sherman Act § 1)
- Patent, know-how, and copyright (software) licensing
- Abusive behavior by dominant companies, including discriminatory/predatory pricing, refusals to deal, and tying arrangements (equivalent to Sherman Act § 2, monopolization or attempts to monopolize)
- Litigation, including defense of alleged violations, complaints against violators, and negotiations with the appropriate antitrust authorities and courts at both the EC and national levels
- Other forms of unfair competition, including misleading/comparative advertising and illegal use of trademarks and trade names (equivalent to Federal Trade Commission Act § 5)
- Antitrust compliance programs
- International dimensions of EC competition law (e.g., the EEA and relations with the U.S., Japan, and Eastern European countries)
- Public enterprises and state monopolies
- State aid (subsidies) that may distort competition