European and UK competition rules impose a special responsibility on companies which have market dominance to prevent them from abusing their market power. Behaviour which would not be possible in an effectively competitive market will be found unlawful.
Being dominant is not just about size – small firms can be found dominant in niche markets.
We can advise on the likely approach to market definition to identify whether a company may be dominant in a particular market. We can also provide advice to you on your business practices, – for example selective distribution strategies or pricing issues (discount and rebate structures) – and assist if you are under investigation. If necessary we work with specialist economists to put forward your case in the most effective way to the authorities.
And if you believe you have been the victim of market abuse, we can help in challenging dominant competitors’ or suppliers’ abusive practices and guide you on how to best to use competition issues in your negotiating strategies with them. If a negotiated approach is not achievable, we can work with specialist litigators to seek to reach a resolution through the courts where it is necessary and desirable to do so.
In April 2011 the UK exemption in relation to land agreements was repealed leaving many restrictions over land subject to competition law for the first time. Restrictive covenants, such as those contained routinely in commercial developments for shopping malls and in outdoor advertising agreements are all likely to be affected. The review of land agreements to determine the enforceability of such restrictions (and their ability to attract fines) will be important exercise in understanding any risks posed by them for many businesses.