Our Global Antitrust & Competition and Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications Groups recently presented a webinar on the topics of e-commerce and e-collusion. The webinar looked at:
Antitrust enforcement focus on e-commerce: EU and globally
Following the e-commerce sector inquiry, the Commission has imposed fines of EUR 111 million on four manufacturers of consumer electronics products for resale price maintenance against online retailers. These are the first of a series of EU decisions which focus on vertical restraints (RPM, territorial restrictions, online sales restrictions) in e-commerce.
After years of absence from the verticals enforcement arena, the Commission’s message is very clear: vertical restraints and e-commerce restrictions are a political priority in the EU, and the Commission will not hesitate to open investigations and impose heavy fines. However, vertical restraints enforcement is not only on the rise in Europe: we see a growing number of antitrust investigations related to RPM and e-commerce in other parts of the world as well (e.g. China, Turkey, Russia, Australia LatAm, Comesa).
What is the enforcement risk in different parts of the world, and how can businesses best protect themselves against this risk?
Algorithms may well be used to facilitate RPM, price signaling and tacit collusion. From the detection of the infringement to the application of the existing legal framework to e-collusion, antitrust agencies need to tackle a number of questions. Are they equipped to detect problematic algorithms? Can a software create a "meeting of minds" and who is liable for the conduct of the "artificial mind"?