sector specific regulation other

The Spanish Property Insurance Cartel

Inherent Defects Insurance (“IDI”) for new housing buildings has been mandatory in Spain since 2000. The institution of this requirement prompted an upsurge in the IDI market in following years. Having been confronted with competition, major insurance carriers active in the property insurance market formed a cartel, which involved IDI reinsurers. This article examines the features of the Spanish IDI cartel, as uncovered by the National Competition Commission (“NCC”) in 2009. The companies involved in the cartel were punished with a fine of over €120 million, the largest fine ever imposed by competition authorities in Spain. This article describes how the cartel was organized and operated, and emphasizes the reinsurers’ key role in assuring and propagating the effectiveness of the minimum price agreement throughout the property insurance market. It also critically analyzes the Spanish NCC’s assessment of the cartel, and how it dealt with the arguments submitted by the reinsurers to defend their behavior.
Reference :

Connecticut Insurance Law Journal, vol. 18, issue 2, Spring 2012, pages 79-101.

When Competition is the last concern? The Battle for the control of Endesa

Competition law and regulation had played a prominent role in the process of construction and liberalization of the internal energy market in the EU. Several transactions in the last decade have shown the difficulties of the process and how Member States may occasionally make a political use of merger review rules and of regulation to benefit domestic firms. This chapter describes in all its complexity the ENDESA takeover contest (2005-2007). This case is a unique example of the mixture of legal issues that may be involved in takeovers requiring competition and regulatory approval. Several lessons can be learnt from the case, not only for the history of Spanish and European competition law (especially regarding merger review). Other relevant industrial policy, regulation and corporate law issues were also raised by this landmark case, though the case is mainly illustrative of how politics, at the end, may affect or shape the final outcome in some business transactions.
Reference :

in Landmark cases in competition law: around the world in fourteen stories, ed. B. Rodger, Wolters Kluwer, Alphen aan den Rijn, 2013, ISBN 978-90-411-3843-9, pages 287-318.

Reverse Payment Patent Settlements in the Pharmaceutical Sector Under EU and US Competition Laws: A Comparative Analysis

Within the tool-box developed by originator companies in order to prepare and respond to generic entry, a prominent position must be recognized to a category of patent strategies particularly controversial under antitrust scrutiny, i.e. patent settlement agreements, in particular in the form of reverse payment patent settlements (also called pay-for-delay settlements), due to the fact that they provide for the patentee to pay the alleged infringer, rather than the opposite, with the aim of delaying its market entry. It is a fact that reverse payment settlement agreements arise mainly in the pharmaceutical industry. The article firstly analyses US and EU regulatory frameworks in order to highlight similarities and differences between them. Then, it examines the relevant case law in both contexts with a view to conducting a comparative study. Finally, the article discusses the approaches to reverse payment patent settlements adopted by antitrust authorities and courts and their clashes with intellectual property law, and contains a final proposal for the assessment of these agreements.
Reference :

Colangelo, Margherita. ‘Reverse Payment Patent Settlements in the Pharmaceutical Sector Under EU and US Competition Laws: A Comparative Analysis’. World Competition 40, no. 3 (2017): 471–504.

Regulating Supermarkets: The Competition for Space

This paper shows how supermarket location, size and format are regulated privately by major supermarket chains and publicly by government planning and competition agencies. The inquiry is spurred by the tenacity of the competition policy prescription that public regulation of supermarket siting be wound back so that private regulation has a free hand. Having conducted case studies in the field, within a framework of regulatory studies, the paper finds that public regulation is often only a mild restriction on private strategies to site. Yet public regulation, and land-use planning law especially, remains a crucial point at which collective processes and social values may exert an influence over food provision and the social spaces of our suburbs and towns. The paper recommends that regulatory law reform be holistic rather than narrow minded.
Reference :

Christopher Arup, Caron Beaton-Wells and Jo Paul, 'Regulating Supermarkets: The Competition for Space' (2017) University of New South Wales Law Journal (forthcoming)

Problematising Supermarket-Supplier Relations: Dual Discourses of Competition and Fairness

The power asymmetryies that exists between major supermarket chains and suppliers, in Australia and abroad, have has been analysed largely through an economic-legal lens, focussed predominantly on consumer prices. This article takes a wider stance, considering the economic and then the social discourses that arise in response to the supermarket-supplier relationship, before examining how such discourses shape regulatory responses. We find that the two are not, as they appear on first blush, disconnected or in conflict. Rather, as with many socio-economic interactions, they are connected and interdependent. Applying a problematisation analysis, we interrogate the underlying assumptions and question the ways in which the issues relating to the imbalance in bargaining power between major supermarkets and suppliers are framed in mainstream policy debates, and then consider the implications. On our analysis, the problem that this imbalance is seen to pose has dimensions of both competition and fairness, creating challenges that require a range of responses. It is thus a problem that can be tackled by appealing to the traditional platforms of both the left and right of politics. A dual discourse also facilitates effective political risk management. While a neoliberal approach allows government to be seen as promoting competition to maximise efficiencies and consumer welfare, tough measures on socially unacceptable behaviour enables government to align with important social-cultural values.
Reference :

Caron Beaton-Wells and Jo Paul, 'Problematising Supermarket-Supplier Relations: Dual Discourses of Competition and Fairness' (2017) Griffiths Law Review (forthcoming)

Access Barriers to Competition

While data were always valuable in a range of economic activities, the advent of new and improved technologies for the collection, storage, mining, synthesizing, and analysis of data has led to the ability to utilize vast volumes of data in real-time in order to learn new information. Part I explores the four primary characteristics of big data: volume, velocity, variety, and veracity and their effects of the value of data. Part II analyzes the different types of access barriers that limit entry into the different links of the data value chain. In Part III, we tie together the characteristics of big data markets including potential entry barriers, to analyze their competitive effects. The analysis centers on those instances in which the unique characteristics of big data markets lead to variants in the more traditional competitive analysis. Our analysis suggests that the unique characteristics of big data have an important role to play in analyzing competition and in evaluating social welfare.
Reference :

Rubinfeld, Daniel L. and Gal, Michal S., Access Barriers to Big Data, forthcoming Arizona L. Rev (2017), available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2830586

Entertainment made in Spain : competition in the bullfighting industry

Controversial for many reasons, bullfighting is probably one of the most typical entertainment activities in Spain. Bullfights are an idiosyncratic spectacle belonging to the Spanish cultural tradition, but which has also a meaningful economic significance. This paper will look at the role of market forces and competition in the bullfighting industry, describing the peculiarities of its organization and looking at the many anticompetitive features that characterize it. Spanish local authorities are strongly involved in the organization of bullfights and strict and detailed public rules govern the intervening actors and the performance during the shows. Thus, the institutional framework of bullfighting heavily constrains competition conditions in the industry, setting the scenario for a limited role of market forces. Furthermore, history shows that the collective organization of different players involved (promoters, breeders, bullfighters and subordinates) in order to exert their market power has occasionally lead to anticompetitive actions and reactions. Thus, unsurprisingly, the Spanish Competition authorities have dealt with some anticompetitive behaviour by some of the players participating in the bullfighting industry.
Reference :

Competition Law Review Volume 11 Issue 1 pp 61-81, July 2015