In an order published on August 23, 2021, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) penalised Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) to the tune of INR 2 billion (approx. USD 27 million) for restricting and controlling the discounts offered by its dealers to the end consumers. Such conduct by India’s leading passenger vehicle manufacturer was held to be anti-competitive resale price maintenance (RPM), and thus violative of the provisions of the Competition Act, 2002 (as amended) (Competition Act).
Continue Reading Penalty for penalty: CCI penalises Maruti Suzuki for indulging in resale price maintenance
Partner in the Competition Practice at the Mumbai office of Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas. Anshuman advises on the full range of competition matters, including merger control, abuse of dominance and cartel enforcement. He can be reached at email@example.com
In an interim order dated 9 March 2021, the Competition Commission of India (“CCI”) has asked MakeMyTrip India Private Limited (“MMT”) and Ibibo Group Private Limited (“Ibibo”) to relist the hotels of Casa2Stays Private Limited (“FabHotels”) and Rubtub Solutions Private Limited (“Treebo”) on their platforms.
The CCI granted interim relief while adjudicating the applications filed by Treebo and FabHotels. The Competition Act, 2002 (as amended) (“Act”) gives power to the CCI to grant temporary injunction restraining any party from carrying on acts which are in contravention of certain provisions of the Act, until the conclusion of such inquiry or until further orders.…
Continue Reading CCI issues interim order to relist FabHotels and Treebo
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has introduced updated guidance notes for drafting the short form merger filing i.e., Form I. The guidance lists the scope of information and documents required to be submitted as part of the Form I notification that one files with the CCI. Some of the key changes to the guidance notes and their implications have been discussed below:
In a recent judgement, the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi (Delhi HC) clarified that the absence of a judicial member did not preclude the Competition Commission of India (CCI) from performing its adjudicatory function until such time the judicial member was appointed by the Central Government.
On 17 July 2018, the Delhi HC passed this judgement in respect of a writ petition filed before it by Cadd Systems and Services Private Limited (Petitioner). The petition challenged two orders of the CCI for contravention of the law laid down by a division bench of Delhi HC in Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. & Ors. v. Competition Commission of India & Anr. (W.P. (C) 11467/2018 & connected matters) (Mahindra Judgment).…
Continue Reading Delhi High Court Clarifies the Scope of Directions Passed in Mahindra Judgment Re Appointment of Judicial Member
In a recent order, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has granted Panasonic Energy India Co. Ltd. (“Panasonic India”) and its office bearers, a 100% penalty reduction under the leniency regime provided by the Competition Act, 2002 (Act). This is the second time Panasonic India has been granted full immunity under the leniency regime in India.
Recently, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) published advocacy material in the form of a competition assessment toolkit intended for policymakers, researchers, analysts, and competition stakeholders; and a diagnostic toolkit for procurement officers. This furthers the CCI’s mandate of taking suitable measures for the promotion of competition advocacy, creating awareness and imparting training about competition issues.
Continue Reading CCI Diagnostic Toolkits for Competition Assessment and Procurement Officers in Competitive Tenders
In a notification dated July 4, 2018, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has granted an additional three year extension to the Vessel Sharing Agreements Exemption (VSA Exemption) in the liner shipping industry. This exempts VSAs from scrutiny under Section 3 (i.e., anti-competitive agreements) of the Competition Act, 2002 (as amended) (Act). This extension, which is a furtherance of international best practice, has come as a source of relief to the liner shipping industry, given that the last extension of the VSA exemption expired on June 19, 2018. The expiry of the previous exemption had led to speculation regarding the status and future of the VSA exemption.
Continue Reading Extension of Competition Law Exemption to Vessel Sharing Agreements
* This piece was first published in the February 2018 issue of the Practical Lawyer (2018) PL (Comp. L) Feb 75
The boom in the technology and internet arenas has globally accelerated the growth of the digital economy. This has significantly aided the mechanism of collecting, processing and commercially exploiting the data in the hands of large corporations and even start-ups. Commonly referred to as ‘big data’, the concept refers to large volumes of a variety of data which is collected at high velocity and is then processed by computing softwares to produce unique datasets which has significant commercial value. While the collection and use of personal data falls under the domain of data protection laws, a question that is now being examined by several competition law regulators is whether the use of big data can impact competition in the markets.
Before we delve into this question, it is pertinent to consider the advantages and efficiencies which result from the commercial exploitation of big data. Consider the modus operandi of any frequently used search engine. It would use self-learning computing algorithms which would observe, record and analyze search terms keyed in by the users, the websites ‘clicked on’ and combine it with data collected from its other applications and services such as e-mail or data processing services to create detailed user profiles. It would then use, and maybe even sell, these unique and individualized information assets to various online advertisers and retailers for targeted advertising. Consider also the personalized recommendations of products and services that a user receives on various e-commerce platforms or on social networking websites based on the purchasing history, the keywords typed, and the general and personal information provided to these websites. Therefore, by closely tracking and analyzing the users’ needs and studying the consumer demand pattern, big data immensely assists in improving the quality of goods and services and their targeted advertising. It also improves the decision-making on the supply side by improving market predictions and the operational efficiency of manufacturers.
* This piece was first published in the January 2018 issue of the Practical Lawyer (2018) PL (Comp. L) Jan 75
With the USD 130 billion merger between global agrochemical giants – Dow Chemicals and E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) being granted a green chit by the European Commission (EC) and the Competition Commission of India (CCI), the significance of innovation in merger assessment has witnessed a renewed focus. The extent and role of innovation in the concerned market is one of the factors that antitrust regulators are required to consider while evaluating a proposed transaction. Ordinarily, this exercise is undertaken to study the impact of the transaction on future innovation and any competitive harm which may result from reduction in the incentives to innovate as also the pro-competitive outcomes emanating from operational synergies which enhance innovation.
In the Dow/DuPont merger, the relevance of innovation was discussed at length by the EC which observed that the merger would not only significantly impede competition in the pesticides and petrochemical industries, at a global level, but would also reduce future innovation in the global pesticides industry. It was noted that the development of effective and environment friendly pesticides required large scale investments and continuous research and development (R&D) and globally, only five players were engaged in R&D in the field of pesticides. The Dow/DuPont merger therefore, would further consolidate market power in an already highly concentrated industry with significant entry barriers and would substantially reduce the parties’ incentives to innovate in the pesticides sector.
* This piece was first published in the December 2017 issue of the Practical Lawyer (2017) PL (Comp. L) Dec 76
This century is continually being marked by the convergence of this goliath world into a global village. While this phenomenon is attributable to a number of factors, inter-operability of technology and adoption of common standards have acted as important catalysts in this process. As such, this convergence perforce requires that common standards are available on fair terms to all. However, a number of components of these essential standards are patented, i.e., are standard essential patents (SEPs), thereby implying the exclusive right of the patentee to use and exploit the SEP. It is at this juncture that a complex yet interesting legal wrestle between the competition law and intellectual property rights (IPR) regimes emerges.
In essence, SEPs encompass those patented technologies which have become essential to a standard. From an antitrust perspective, an SEP holder enjoys substantial, almost monopolizing market power due to lack of substitute alternative technologies. The SEP holder is susceptible to engaging in abusive practices, such as refusal to license the SEP to other manufacturers, or charging exorbitant royalties. In order to balance this one-sided bargaining power, standard setting organizations (SSOs) across all jurisdictions obligate SEP holders to license the their intellectual property on fair reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms. However, the multi-jurisdictional decisional practice elucidates that mere affirmation by SEP holders to SSOs does not preclude them from engaging in abusive practices, thereby necessitating an interaction between competition laws and IPR.