Competition law is a complex area of law, which has a number of clear prohibitions but also many grey areas.
For example, the ban on cartels prohibits making anti-competitive agreements, both with competitors and with suppliers and customers. The exchange of commercially sensitive information can be sufficient to violate this cartel prohibition.
In addition, undertakings in a position of economic power may not abuse that position in relation to other market parties. The relevant market, the position on it and the commercial behaviour require a combined assessment.
Also, certain mergers, takeovers and joint ventures must be submitted for prior approval to one or more competition authorities. Specific turnover thresholds apply.
Every company has to deal with these rules, in different facets of its business. Examples include cooperation agreements with competitors, joint purchasing or production agreements and distribution relationships.
The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) and the European Commission are in charge of enforcing the competition rules in the Netherlands. These authorities have far-reaching investigative powers, including carrying out raids on businesses and in private homes (ACM only) and examining digital files. We assist our clients in these matters.
In the event of violations of the competition rules, large fines may be imposed on the companies and persons involved. In addition, damages actions usually follow, but also exclusion from tenders. The damage to reputation is often considerable.
We advise clients on all facets of competition law, always keeping in mind the commercial and strategic aspects involved. In addition, we help clients increase their knowledge of the competition rules within the organisation. We do this by setting up and rolling out effective compliance programmes tailored to the organisation. We also provide regular interactive compliance training sessions with many practical tips and tricks.
• Advice on cooperations between competitors, including drafting and reviewing commercial contracts.
• Drafting, reviewing and negotiating distribution agreements, advising on the most appropriate form of distribution for your business.
• Advising on the prohibition of abuse of a dominant position for both companies with a possible dominant position and companies hampered by market players with a dominant position.
• Notification of mergers, takeovers and joint ventures to the competition authorities (ACM and European Commission) in order to obtain approval.
• Setting up compliance programmes in the field of competition law and providing appealing training courses.
• Conducting proceedings on competition infringements, including summary proceedings, proceedings on the merits and appeals.
• Assisting clients in investigations, during raids and enforcement proceedings at the ACM and the European Commission.