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Two-minute Recap of Competition Law Matters Around the Globe – May 2022

E-commerce platforms continue to be the “hot topic” in competition law around the globe

In May, the European Parliament—which recently reached a provisional agreement with the Member States regarding the Digital Markets Act (DMA)—met with several Big Tech companies including Google, Meta, Apple, Uber, PayPal, and eBay  to discuss developments in digital platforms. European Parliament representatives also met with academics and other authorities in Silicon Valley to discuss issues relating to digital markets and to exchange ideas, as well as to review the legislative studies carried out on this topic in the United States and to compare the policies and agendas in the EU with the US. The Silicon Valley meeting agenda included a comprehensive variety of topics, including but not limited to discussions on the DMA, taxation and data protection and control matters. Together with the DMA, the Digital Services Act (DSA) is another topic that was discussed, given that it seeks to ensure that digital platforms are responsible for the content they publish and that there are many parallel policies and legislative attempts in the US, such as in California, where lawmakers recently introduced bills that address online platform algorithms and other data privacy matters. It was noted that the EU's digital economy needs to be thoroughly restructured.

Dutch ACM plans new rules for online platforms

As online platforms continue to be the main discussion for competition authorities, an enforcement plan has been introduced by the Dutch consumer and competition regulator, the ACM. The ACM is working on new guidelines that will introduce new obligations and standards for online platforms. It is stated that these new guidelines will eliminate the ambiguity regarding the rights and obligations of online product/service providers and their consumers and set the ground for a healthier environment for online platform businesses. In this regard, a bill has been sent to the Dutch Council of State, which has proposed that the ACM will be in charge of the enforcement of the new guidelines. Considering that the standards in the Platform-to-Business (P2B) Regulation are being interpreted in different ways, the ACM aims to clarify the standards and how they will be applied by these guidelines.

EU continues its attempts to update legislation in order ensure cybersecurity standards are increased to the maximum

The NIS directive, which provides the current standard for cybersecurity in the EU, will be replaced by a new directive. This update is seen as a necessity, given the rapid developments in digitalisation and the malicious activities that are increasing together with technological benefits. A wide variety of measures will be included in the new directive, including but not limited to a stricter approach in enforcement, developing risk management and flagging measures and solving software issues that may arise. Penalties will also be imposed on undertakings that refuse to comply with the stated measures in the directive. The new directive also suggests a harmonisation effort regarding cybersecurity by the European Commission. These legislative developments were originally proposed by the Commission in December 2020, and all Member States will be required to comply in 21 months.

Canadian Competition Bureau seeks to prevent Rogers acquisition of Shaw

Canada’s Competition Bureau has sought to prevent a transaction concerning Rogers and Shaw (two Canadian telecommunication companies) and applied to the Competition Tribunal to stop the transaction, which is valued at CAD 26 billion, from closing on 9 May. The Competition Bureau seeks to prevent the transaction given that the market shares of Rogers and Shaw in the wireless services market in Canada are extremely high, and it is anticipated that such a merger will have significant anticompetitive effects in the market. It is especially noted that this transaction may (i) eliminate “an established, independent and low-priced competitor”, (ii) hinder the competition for wireless services, including 5G and (iii) prevent competition in wireless services for business customers in a significant part of the Canadian market. On 30 May, Rogers and Shaw agreed to refrain from closing the transaction and enforcing the agreement as a preliminary injunction until the decision of the Competition Tribunal.

Spanish football federation is found to be abusing its dominant position

The Spanish football federation, the Real Federación Española de Fútbol (RFEF), has been found to be in violation of Spanish competition law through the abuse of its dominant position. The Spanish Court held that RFEF has engaged in anticompetitive conduct by way of excluding a broadcaster, Mediapro, from its tender to supply VAR services and for the rights to the Copa del Rey football competition for the 2018–2021 period. The court ordered RFEF to pay EUR 1.25 million in damages, which was subsequently appealed by Mediapro, and the amount was increased to EUR 2.1 million. Spain’s National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC) also noted RFEF’s unjustified obligations and other requirements that are not backed by law. In addition to these obligations and requirements, CNMC stated that RFEF should terminate its anticompetitive conduct that reserves the right to broadcasting football games and that the duration of the contracts should be similar to the rest of Europe.

For further information please contact Bulut Girgin, Counsel, at bgirgin@gentemizerozer.com, Orçun Horozoğlu, Associate, at ohorozog@gentemizerozer.com or Sıla Dilaver, Associate, at sdilaver@gentemizerozer.com.