Author Archives: Ravi S. Mehta

About Ravi S. Mehta

Junior Barrister at Blackstone Chambers

Multi-speed Europe and the unitary patent: taking the first steps

A landmark recent judgment of the Grand Chamber of the CJEU was the first occasion on which the CJEU has considered the validity of a decision authorising enhanced cooperation. This is particularly topical given the flurry of initiatives relying upon this mechanism, some of which are now being challenged (such as the UK’s proposed proceedings against the Financial Transactions or “Tobin” Tax). However, it also calls for a post in this blog as it raises a number of interesting practical and legal issues for competition practitioners. Continue reading

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Filed under IP, Policy

Anyone for another round? The Court of Appeal’s nuanced approach to the duty of “sincere cooperation”.

The duty of “sincere cooperation” set out in Article 4(3) TEU requires Member States to take appropriate measures to “ensure fulfillment of the obligations arising out of the Treaties or resulting from the acts of the institutions of the Union” as well as to “refrain from any measure which could jeopardise the attainment of the Union’s objectives“. When and in what way are Member State authorities required to act – or desist from acting – in order to comply with this duty?

This was the key issue in two cases decided this year regarding EU and national merger control (Ryanair Plc v OFT [2012] EWCA Civ 643 and Ryanair Plc v Competition Commission [2012] EWCA Civ 1632). Continue reading

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Filed under Mergers

A Bitter Pill: AstraZeneca in the CJEU

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)’s much anticipated early Christmas present for generic producers has arrived in the form of its judgment in the AstraZeneca case (Case C-457/10 P AstraZeneca AB and AstraZeneca plc v European Commission, 6 December 2012). The decision upheld that of the General Court and the Opinion of Advocate General Mazák, and suggests that the pharmaceutical industry may soon be faced with emboldened competition authorities.

At issue was the Commission’s finding of abuse of dominance (under Article 102 TFEU) for two abuses of the patent system by AstraZeneca (AZ). Firstly, the Commission found that AZ had made “misleading representations” to national patent offices in several Member States which enabled it to extend patent protection of one of its headline gastrointestinal treatments longer than should have been possible. Secondly, the selective deregistration of an older form of the drug had deprived generic producers of the simplified procedure for obtaining a marketing authorisation for their products under Article 4(3)(8)(a)(iii) of Directive 65/65. Continue reading

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Filed under Abuse, Pharmaceuticals

“Imprecise legal concepts” are no excuse

The second chapter of the Microsoft saga unfolded on 27 June 2012, when the General Court largely upheld the €899 million periodic penalty payment imposed on Microsoft for failing to share adequate interoperability information with its competitors. However, it also offered some comfort to proprietors of intellectual property rights, with the Court seemingly retreating from some of the more expansive views expressed in Microsoft I.

See Case T-167/08 Microsoft Corp. v European Commission.

The case follows the Commission’s 2004 decision that Microsoft had abused its dominant position by withholding interoperability information, upheld by the General Court in Microsoft I. As part of the remedy, Microsoft was required to provide access to the information on reasonable and non-discriminatory (“FRAND”) terms, to allow interoperability between the dominant Windows architecture and rival servers. It failed to do so, and in February 2008 the Commission imposed the penalty which is the focus of Microsoft II.

The judgment is important for two reasons. Continue reading

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Filed under Abuse, Penalties