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Abuse of dominance

Market conduct which would ordinarily pose no competition law concerns can be problematic when pursued by companies that have a dominant market position. Examples include adoption of certain types of pricing and rebate schemes, where dominant companies need to be particularly careful about the effects these schemes may have on emerging competitors. If you are a dominant company, you need attentive advisers who can guide you through the additional legal constraints to which you are subject.

Is yours a dominant company?

It is vital to ensure that your market has been correctly defined. This can be particularly difficult in fast moving industrial sectors such as technology or pharmaceuticals. We have extensive experience in examining complex markets and working closely with economists to establish a sensible working market definition. This can cut short prospective action by competition authorities and claims by competitors.

Taking the right approach with competition investigations

When a potentially dominant company investigation takes place, it can be a fraught experience. Internal investigations need to be conducted quickly. These can include lengthy document review exercises and extensive employee interviews.

We have considerable experience in representing clients being investigated by competition authorities and offer clear, timely and commercial advice to help you get the best possible results.

Settlement is also an important option in some cases. Sometimes the best solution is to draw a line under a particular matter and negotiate. We have assisted our clients in achieving ground-breaking early settlement agreements. This includes acting on the first settlement agreement with the Office of Fair Trading (now the Competition and Markets Authority) in a United Kingdom abuse of dominance case, and securing a similarly ground breaking case closure in an investigation by the water sector regulator, Ofwat, following the offering of commitments by our client.

We have also represented clients in UK High Court proceedings brought by competitors for alleged breaches of abuse of dominance law.

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