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Cover Competition Law

18. Abuse of dominance (2): pricing practices  

This chapter considers abusive pricing practices under Article 102 TFEU and the Chapter II prohibition in the Competition Act 1998. It discusses cost concepts used in determining whether a price is abusive and deals with excessive pricing; conditional rebates; bundling; predatory pricing; margin squeeze; price discrimination; and practices harmful to the single market. Price discrimination may be both exploitative and exclusionary and an excessively high price may be a way of preventing parallel imports or excluding a competitor from the market; but the division may provide helpful insights into the way in which the law is applied in practice. In each section the application of Article 102 by the European Commission and the EU Courts is considered, followed by cases in the UK. Where appropriate, reference is made to the Commission’s Guidance on the Commission’s Enforcement Priorities in Applying Article [102 TFEU] to Abusive Exclusionary Conduct by Dominant Undertakings.

Chapter

Cover Competition Law

17. Abuse of dominance (1): non-pricing practices  

This chapter considers abusive non-pricing practices under Article 102 TFEU and the Chapter II prohibition in the Competition Act 1998. It deals in turn with exclusive dealing agreements; tying; refusals to supply; abusive non-pricing practices that are harmful to the single market; and miscellaneous other non-pricing practices which might infringe Article 102 or the Chapter II prohibition. Reference is made where appropriate to the Commission’s Guidance on the Commission’s Enforcement Priorities in Applying Article [102 TFEU] to Abusive Exclusionary Conduct by Dominant Undertakings.

Chapter

Cover Competition Law

18. Abuse of dominance (2): pricing practices  

This chapter considers abusive pricing practices under Article 102 TFEU and the Chapter II prohibition in the Competition Act 1998. It first discusses various cost concepts used in determining whether a price is abusive. It then deals in turn with excessive pricing; conditional rebates; bundling; predatory pricing; margin squeeze; price discrimination; and practices that are harmful to the single market. This taxonomy is over-schematic, in that the categories overlap with one another: for example price discrimination may be both exploitative and exclusionary, and an excessively high price may in reality be a way of preventing parallel imports or of excluding a competitor from the market; nevertheless this division may provide helpful insights into the way in which the law is applied in practice. In each section the application of Article 102 by the European Commission and by the EU Courts will be considered first, followed by cases in the UK. Reference will be made where appropriate to the Commission’s Guidance on the Commission’s Enforcement Priorities in Applying Article [102 TFEU] to Abusive Exclusionary Conduct by Dominant Undertakings.

Chapter

Cover Competition Law

14. Horizontal agreements (2): oligopoly, tacit collusion and collective dominance  

Oligopoly exists where a few firms between them supply all or most of the goods or services on a market without any of them having a clear ascendancy over the others. The purpose of this chapter is to examine whether oligopoly presents a particular problem for competition policy and, if so, how that problem should be overcome. The chapter discusses the theory of oligopolistic interdependence and how oligopolies can lead to a well-known problem for competition law and policy: oligopolists are able, by virtue of the characteristics of the market, to behave in a parallel manner and to derive benefits from their collective market power without, or without necessarily, entering into an agreement or concerted practice of the kind generally prohibited by competition law. This phenomenon is known in economics as ‘tacit collusion’ and is the result of each firm’s individual and rational response to market conditions. The chapter identifies possible ways of dealing with the ‘oligopoly problem’, before considering the extent to which Articles 101 and 102 can be used to address that problem. The chapter also discusses UK law and, in particular, the possible use of the market investigations to address market failure that may arise in oligopolies.

Chapter

Cover Competition Law

17. Abuse of dominance (1): non-pricing practices  

This chapter considers abusive non-pricing practices under Article 102 TFEU and the Chapter II prohibition in the Competition Act 1998. It deals in turn with exclusive dealing agreements; tying; refusals to supply; abusive non-pricing practices that are harmful to the single market; and miscellaneous other non-pricing practices which might infringe Article 102 or the Chapter II prohibition. Reference is made to the case-law of the Court of Justice and the Commission’s Guidance on the Commission’s Enforcement Priorities in Applying Article [102 TFEU] to Abusive Exclusionary Conduct by Dominant Undertakings