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Cover Competition Law of the EU and UK

14. The elements of Article 102 TFEU  

This chapter discusses Article 102 TFEU, which applies to abusive conduct engaged in by undertakings in a dominant position. The dominant position must be held in a ‘substantial part’ of the internal market for EU competition law to apply. Abuses can take many forms, and include conduct designed to preserve or expand the power of the undertaking (‘exclusionary abuses’) and conduct aiming to exploit the power of the undertaking (‘exploitative abuses’). No exemptions are available, but the alleged abusive conduct may be defended on the grounds that it is ‘objectively justifiable’ or if there are efficiency justifications. A breach of Article 102 TFEU may incur penalties, damages, and a requirement of conduct modification.

Chapter

Cover Competition Law of the EU and UK

16. An analysis of the principal abusive practices  

This chapter focuses on the most important pricing and non-pricing practices, which together constitute the larger part of the anti-competitive and exploitative abuses of dominant firms. The types of conduct considered abusive of market power are similar under most competition regimes, and include both pricing and non-pricing practices. The ‘form-based’ analysis of abusive practices is progressively shifting to an ‘effects-based approach’. In the EU and the UK, both exclusionary and exploitative abuses may fall foul of the relevant competition law provisions. Exclusionary practices are usually considered abusive when they are likely to lead to ‘anticompetitive foreclosure’. The EU and UK law and practice in relation to all these potential abuses is and will remain aligned until the UK has formally left the EU.

Chapter

Cover Contract Law

19. Undue Influence  

This chapter discusses cases of alleged undue influence. Such cases have caused considerable difficulties for the courts in recent years, not in relation to the existence of the doctrine, but to its scope and its relationship with other doctrines, particularly duress, and other cases in which courts have intervened to protect the vulnerable or those who have been exploited by those in a position of influence over them. Recent judicial exposition of undue influence has tended to take place in the context of three-party cases rather than two-party cases, that is to say cases in which a wrong has been committed by a third party and not the defendant. Two leading cases of undue influence are analysed: Allcard v. Skinner (1887) 36 Ch D 145 and Royal Bank of Scotland plc v. Etridge (No 2) [2001] UKHL 44, [2002] 2 AC 773 and they are used to illustrate the limits of the modern doctrine of undue influence and in particular the role of presumptions in this area of the law.

Chapter

Cover Jones & Sufrin's EU Competition Law

7. Article 102 TFEU: Conduct Which Can be an Abuse  

Alison Jones, Brenda Sufrin, and Niamh Dunne

This chapter discusses the difficult concept of what constitutes an ‘abuse’ of a dominant position for the purposes of Article 102. It considers the case law of the EU Courts, the decisional practice of the Commission, and the Commission’s Guidance Paper on enforcement priorities, and the problem of distinguishing competition on the merits from illegitimate conduct. The chapter looks at the different classifications of abuse, particularly exclusionary and exploitative abuses; the distinction between form- and effects-based approaches to types of abuse; the leveraging of market power between distinct markets as a theory of harm; the objective justification defence; and general issues in respect of abuses concerning prices, including the ‘as efficient competitor’ test. The chapter then examines the application of Article 102 to various forms of conduct, including: price discrimination; predatory pricing; selective low pricing; margin squeeze; exclusive dealing; tying and bundling; refusal to supply; self-preferencing; malicious pursuit of legal proceedings; ‘regulatory gaming’; discrimination abuses; unfairly high and low pricing; and hindering inter-Member State trade.

Chapter

Cover Jones & Sufrin's EU Competition Law

7. Article 102 TFEU: Conduct Which Can Be an Abuse  

This chapter discusses the difficult concept of what constitutes an ‘abuse’ of a dominant position for the purposes of Article 102 and whether conduct should be condemned on account of the form it takes or only for its effects. It considers the case law of the EU Courts, the decisional practice of the Commission, and the Commission’s Guidance Paper on enforcement priorities, and the problem of distinguishing competition on the merits from illegimate conduct. The chapter looks at the different classifications of abuse, particularly exclusionary and exploitative abuses; the distinction between form- and effects-based approaches to types of abuse; the leveraging of market power between distinct markets as a theory of harm; the objective justification defence; and general issues in respect of abuses concerning prices, including the ‘as efficient competitor’ test. The chapter then examines the application of Article 102 to various forms of conduct, including: price discrimination; predatory pricing; selective low pricing; margin squeeze; exclusive dealing;; tying and bundling; refusal to supply; self-preferencing; malicious pursuit of legal proceedings; ‘regulatory gaming’; discrimination abuses; unfairly high and low pricing; hindering inter-Member State trade; and more novel claimed abuses within the digital economy.

Chapter

Cover Competition Law

5. Article 102  

This chapter discusses the main features of Article 102 of the Treaty of Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which is concerned with the abusive conduct of dominant firms. It begins by discussing the meaning of ‘undertaking’ and ‘effect on trade between Member States’ in the context of Article 102. It then considers what is meant by a dominant position and looks at the requirement that any dominant position must be held in a substantial part of the internal market. Thereafter it discusses some general considerations relevant to the concept of abuse of dominance, followed by an explanation of what is meant by ‘exploitative’, ‘exclusionary’ and ‘single market’ abuses. It then discusses possible defences to allegations of abuse, and concludes by considering the consequences of infringing Article 102.