As part of our global antitrust offering, we have a strong and well respected European competition practice comprising a seamlessly integrated, multinational team based in Brussels and London. We have been involved in many ground-breaking and complex cases in recent years across all areas of EU competition work. Our lawyers are known for providing practical advice that gets straight to the heart of the matter, for understanding the political and regulatory challenges involved in competition law cases, for their business sense, for excellent knowledge of cutting-edge issues and for a team spirit that makes them a pleasure with which to work. For more on what others say about us, click here.
Our work covers merger control, commercial practices (such as cooperation, research and development, licensing, and distribution), intellectual property, cartels (including leniency applications and damages actions), abuse of dominance, sector inquiries and state aid. Our lawyers have extensive knowledge of the EU institutions, regularly counselling clients on matters before the European Commission in Brussels and the European Courts in Luxembourg (the General Court and the Court of Justice). In fact, we have a unique insight into the workings of the European Commission through representing the Commission in a recent appeal before the General Court. Our lawyers are accustomed to appearing before the UK’s Office of Fair Trading and Competition Commission, as well as before the UK courts. Utilising good contacts with local counsel, we often coordinate multi-jurisdictional merger control advice and other types of competition law advice as more and more countries around the world increase their enforcement activity.
Our lawyers counsel companies in a wide range of industries, including aerospace, automotive, chemicals, financial services, internet and e-commerce, manufacturing, metals, publishing, retail and utilities. Sidley also has leading global life sciences, sports, communications and technology practice teams, all of which include competition lawyers with in-depth sector industry experience.
A distinguishing feature of our practice is that we work as often with in-house public affairs and government relations teams as with legal teams. Another added value for our clients is that our European competition practice is closely integrated with our regulatory and trade practices in Brussels and Geneva, with a number of lawyers spanning more than one of these disciplines.
Examples of the type of recent work in which we have been involved include:
- European Commission merger control clearance for the combination of two leading global consulting companies;
- UK Office of Fair Trading merger control clearance for a transaction in the insurance sector combining the first and third of the world’s four leading providers;
- Securing a significant reduction from a European Commission cartel fine based on our client’s inability to pay;
- Extricating a client (without formal charges or fine) from an Office of Fair Trading investigation into a so-called “A-B-C” (or “hub and spoke”) cartel;
- Representing a leading global electronics company in several EU investigations of alleged cartels;
- Advising two major sports federations on abuse of dominance claims before the European Commission;
- Acting for a technology trade association intervening in a European Commission investigation into a dominant company’s refusal to supply interoperability information and tying practices;
- Successfully advocating changes to the EU’s new vertical restraints regulation in the area of online sales during the European Commission’s 2009 and 2010 consultation;
- Advising a pharmaceutical trade association on an information exchange program;
- Advising major pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies on the antitrust implications of life-cycle management and patenting strategies, parallel trade, and licensing and distribution arrangements; and
- Representing an EU public utility company on state aid issues arising from power purchase agreements with foreign investors.