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The European Commission has imposed fines of €49 million on Express Interfracht, part of the Austrian railway incumbent Österreichische Bundesbahnen, and Schenker, part of the German railway incumbent Deutsche Bahn, for operating a cartel in breach of Article 101 for cargo 'blocktrain' services. Kühne+Nagel of Switzerland also took part in the cartel but was not fined as it was granted immunity for revealing the existence of the cartel. The Commission found that the three companies fixed prices and allocated customers for their "Balkantrain" and "Soptrain" services in Europe for nearly eight years. Click here.
The European Commission has opened two formal investigations into possible abuse of dominance by Qualcomm in the field of baseband chipsets used in consumer electronic devices. The first will examine whether Qualcomm offered financial incentives to customers on condition that they buy the baseband chipsets exclusively or almost exclusively from Qualcomm. The second will look into whether Qualcomm engaged in 'predatory pricing' by charging prices below costs with a view to forcing its competitors out of the market. Click here.
The European Court of Justice has issued its judgment in the Huawei/ZTE case. The judgment confirms that it can be an abuse of a dominant position for a company holding a standard essential patent to seek an injunction against an alleged infringer, where the dominant company has undertaken to a standard body to grant a licence for the patent on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. However, it will not be an abuse where, prior to seeking the injunction, the dominant company alerted the alleged infringer of the infringement and, where the alleged infringer wished to conclude a licensing agreement, the dominant company offered a licence on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. Click here.