Water tank firms admit cartel and agree to pay £2.6 million fines to CMA
Three businesses have admitted participating in a cartel in relation to the supply of cylindrical galvanised steel tanks in the UK. In a settlement with the CMA, the companies have agreed to pay fines totalling more than £2.6 million for taking part in the cartel. This includes a discount to reflect the resource savings to the CMA generated by the companies’ admissions and their co-operation with the CMA’s investigation. Click here.
Ofgem closes investigation into exchange of information between price comparison sites
Ofgem has closed its investigation into whether price comparison sites have shared information on the commission rates they charge to energy suppliers. Ofgem considers that it would be more appropriate to devote its resources to other areas of work, and so has decided that it is appropriate to close the investigation on administrative priority grounds. However, it has, in accordance with the CMA’s practice, sent advisory letters to relevant companies. Click here.
European Commission confirms unannounced inspections in kraft paper and industrial paper sacks sector
The European Commission has confirmed that on 15 March 2016 Commission officials carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of several companies active in the sector of kraft paper and industrial paper sacks. The inspections took place in several Member States. The Commission has concerns that the companies involved may have infringed Article 101. Click here.
Articles 101 and 102
An Advocate General’s opinion has been handed down on a request for a preliminary ruling from the Court of Appeal of Paris, asking whether Article 101 precludes an obligation imposed on a licensee under a patent licence agreement to pay royalties for the entire duration of the agreement until its termination, notwithstanding the absence of infringement or the revocation of the licensed patent or patents. The Advocate General considers that Article 101 does not preclude such an obligation where the commercial purpose of the agreement is to enable the licensee to use the technology at issue while averting patent litigation, provided that the licensee is able to terminate the licence agreement by giving reasonable notice, is able to challenge the validity or infringement of the patents, and retains his freedom of action after termination. Click here.
The CMA has published its annual plan, setting out its priorities for 2016/17. Click here.
The CMA has outlined the actions it will take resulting from its review of the use of merger notice forms and initial enforcement orders in merger cases. Click here.
The CMA has announced that, at a Pre-Trial Preparatory Hearing on 21 March 2016, at Southwark Crown Court, Barry Kenneth Cooper pleaded guilty to one count under section 188 of the Enterprise Act 2002, the criminal cartel offence, in relation to suspected cartel conduct in respect of the supply of precast concrete drainage products. Click here.
The CMA has issued its provisional decision on remedies as part of its remittal investigation into the private healthcare market. It has provisionally concluded that likely changes in London’s private healthcare market mean that remedies would not be proportionate in this area. Click here.