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Home » Services » Competition Law

Competition Law

All aspects of competition law, including compliance advice, investigations, and dispute resolution.

Competition law impacts in all areas of a business’s commercial operations. It provides a legal framework to help ensure that businesses compete on a level playing field and offers protection for those that suffer from others acting unfairly. Competition law also aims to encourage businesses to innovate and improve for the benefits of their customers.

At TupperS Law we support clients in understanding competition law – both to be compliant in their activities, but also to identify non-compliance in others and challenge it as appropriate. If you find yourself on the wrong end of an allegation of anticompetitive behaviour, or the focus of a dawn raid by a regulator, we can assist you in assessing the risk, developing a strategy and help you resolve the issue.

The penalties for non-compliance can be significant: civil fines, regulatory infringement decisions, private damages actions, reputational harm and, in certain circumstances, criminal prosecutions.

  • Commercial advisory – the impact of competition law on day-to-day operations, business decisions, growth strategies and IP licensing
  • Supply chain and distribution – distribution models (franchising, agency, selective and exclusive), pricing policies, disputes and relationship management
  • Competitor cooperation – supporting legitimate interactions between competing companies, including guidelines for trade associations, information exchanges and R&D collaboration
  • Abuse of dominance – understanding when a company is ‘dominant’ and how that impacts on its conduct
  • Compliance programmes – carrying out compliance audits and designing and implementing tailored compliance policies and procedures, including dawn raid defence systems, and delivering compliance training
  • Regulatory investigations and complaints – support throughout all stages of an investigation, or making a complaint, including leniency applications, dawn raids, disclosure exercises, settlement discussions and appeals
  • Civil litigation and damages actions

Cases worked on by the TupperS Law team* to date include:

  • Access control/systems: advising in relation to a Competition Act investigation into suppliers of access control and alarm systems to retirement homes
  • Advertising: advice concerning the clearance of a joint marketing arrangement in the outdoor advertising market
  • Agricultural chemicals: undertook the first data-compensation “mediation” in Europe
  • Airport parking: advice to companies providing airport parking in competition with the airports themselves
  • Biocides: using competition law to assist a client to gain access to a data pack needed for the authorisation of wood treatment chemicals
  • Bottled Water: representing a supplier of bottled water in a dispute with a distributor regarding termination of the distribution arrangement
  • Bristol Water: representing Bristol Water as an intervener before the Competition Appeal Tribunal in a case lodged by the Lanara Group
  • Bristol Water: representing Bristol Water before the Competition Commission regarding its PR09 price determination
  • Bristol Water: representing Bristol Water with regard to an Ofwat-led investigation into the self-lay sector
  • Bus transportation: assisted a bus services operator obtain improved access to a bus station in Wales
  • Burberry: advising this major manufacturer of top quality garments and clothing accessories in the application of EU competition law to its Europe-wide business activities
  • CGL and anor v E&R and ors, Competition Appeal Tribunal: Acting for nascent suppliers to the academic dress market in a claim against the incumbent suppliers for abuse of dominant position.
  • Charities: advice to a peer-to-peer donations service provider regarding the activities of a “dominant” competitor
  • Chemicals: advice regarding arrangements between competitors in a so-called “failing market”
  • Chemicals: assisting with the compilation and filing of a complaint to the European Commission
  • Commercial trucks: assisting with follow-on damages actions
  • Common Carriage: advising various water companies with regard to the operational aspects of their network access code regime
  • Competition Law Pro Bono Scheme: establishment and administration of the world’s first pro bono scheme for the provision of “free” advice on competition law issues
  • Compliance programmes: assistance with the establishment and management of compliance programmes for companies in various sectors, including: banking; water utilities; builders merchants; chemicals; telecommunications; etc.
  • Computer reservations: advice to a provider of a computer reservation service to airlines regarding the activities of a “dominant” competitor
  • Computer software: advising a leading global technology services company in relation to a supply agreement with major software manufacturer
  • Construction industry: assistance with an application for leniency from the OFT with regard to a cartel in the construction industry
  • Construction products: assisted a “whistle blower” with an approach to the CMA regarding a constructions products cartel
  • Consumer goods: advice concerning the pricing, etc., of products supplied to supermarkets
  • Consumer goods: advice re multi-level distribution policies, internet sales and franchise models
  • Credit referencing: advice concerning gaining access to credit data in the hands of a large mail order company
  • Credit referencing: advice concerning the establishment of a joint venture with various financial institutions concerning a new financial health check service
  • Credit referencing: supporting a provider of credit referencing services with regard to the activities of the two largest and longest established suppliers of credit referencing services
  • Data analysis: advice to a data analysis business regarding restrictive covenants contained in a share purchase agreement
  • Diagnostic services: advising a diagnostic service provider in relation to a possible joint venture with a national health service provider
  • Distribution: competition advice on various distribution models and market entry strategies as regards cars, chemicals and soft plastics, capital goods, medical devices, cosmetics, spirits, steel products, a learn-to-paint system, etc.
  • Divestments: advice as regards acquiring divestments ordered by European Commission
  • E-books: advice to a publisher regarding the agency model for the distribution of e-books
  • Electricity supply: advice to an electricity supplier with regard to the legality of provisions contained in electricity distribution agreements
  • Energy: representing a small energy supply company in a dispute with the owner of pre-payment meters regarding the need for maintenance
  • Environmental reporting: advice to a new entrant into the environmental reporting market concerning the activities of a dominant competitor
  • Flowers: successfully defended a flower relay service against allegations of anti-competitive activity in the UK and Ireland
  • Football: advising and representing a major world-wide soccer apparel and equipment manufacturer in relation to an investigation undertaken by the European Commission into alleged anti-competitive activities on the part of FIFA
  • Fuel additives: advised the licensor of intellectual property rights and know-how with regard to the legality of a world-wide commercialisation licence
  • Gases for industrial use: advising on a distribution agreement covering the EU and some neighbouring countries
  • GISC: involved in a successful challenge to the first ever notification decision of the OFT under the Competition Act, 1998, on behalf of an insurance broker.  The decision concerned the creation of an insurance industry watchdog
  • Golf balls: reviewed the online selling policy of a major golf equipment supplier
  • Ground-handling: advice concerning ground-handling arrangements at Singapore’s international airport
  • Home furnishings: advising a leading carpet manufacturer at the centre of a resale price fixing investigation headed by the OFT
  • Hospitality: review of a distribution agreement for the sale of hotel rooms
  • Hotels: advice regarding restrictive covenants contained in agreements ancillary to an asset sale
  • Hotels: advice regarding restrictive covenants contained in exploitation agreements
  • Hotels: assistance with regard to European investigations and US class actions into alleged resale price maintenance arising out of the online selling of hotel room inventory
  • Hotels: assisting an intermediary in the hospitality industry with regard to the sales tactics of a leading distributor
  • Hotels: advice on hotel franchises
  • In Vitro Diagnostic Devices: advising a global manufacturer of IVDs in relation to freedom to operate with a dominant position in certain IVD markets
  • International Rugby Football Board: advising the International Rugby Football Board (IRFB) in relation to the European Court of Justice’s ruling in “Bosman”, concerning the transfer fee system in operation in European professional soccer, and the rules of the EC Treaty on the free movement of workers and competition law
  • Lady Navigation: advising a reefer ship owner in relation to a pooling and capacity-sharing agreement
  • Maritime transport: advice concerning the exchange of information between competitors in a tanker market
  • Maritime transport: advice concerning the formation of pools, joint ventures, consortia, etc.
  • Maritime transport: full competition law compliance programme for a major international shipping pool
  • Medical equipment: advice with regard to a complaint filed with the European Commission concerning the anti-competitive activities of an American medical equipment supplier
  • Medical equipment: advice with regard to multiple distribution and licensing agreements as regards medical devices
  • Mining: reviewed the compliance of a database intended to provide information regarding insured loses/accidents in the sector
  • Modelling agencies: advised three modelling agencies regarding a potential appeal against a cartel decision adopted by the CMA
  • Motorcycles: advice to a client with regard to the warranty policy of a major motorcycle manufacturer as concerns the fitting of alarm systems
  • Music: acted on behalf of a music publisher with regard to a complaint filed with the European Commission
  • Office fit-out: assisted a company being investigated by the CMA for cartel-like activity
  • Oil shipping: advice in relation to the possible creation of a joint venture, active in oil and petroleum shipping from Africa to the EU
  • Oil trading: advising the main Italian oil company on a distribution agreement relating to the Italian domestic markets
  • Petrol: advised a large petroleum products producer concerning cartel allegations made by independent petrol wholesalers during the petrol crises in 2000
  • Ports: assisting an international ports operator with a compliance programme
  • Ports: advice on a grant of exclusivity as an ancillary restraint for the creation of new port facilities
  • Ports: advice to a major international port operator regarding the provision of towage and pilotage services
  • Ports: advice to a major international port operator with regard to the application of new competition rules to its operations
  • Potash: assistance with the creation of a joint venture company for the sale of potash
  • Power washers: advice to an online retailer regarding the legality of a supplier’s distribution policies
  • Product promotion: advice to a newly formed industry group set up to promote a new product range in the televisual sector, including advice on information exchanged and other related trade association activities
  • Replica shirts: advice concerning allegations of resale price fixing in the football replica shirts market
  • Running shoes: design of a compliant distribution structure in the athletic shoe market
  • Satellite navigation systems: assisting an undertaking controlled by the Italian Government on several competition aspects relating to a public tender launched by the EU Commission and the European Space Agency (ESA)
  • Satellite: advice concerning allegation of anti-competitive behaviour against an international corporation
  • Selective distribution: vetting moves to selective distribution undertaken by companies in the following sectors: apparel; carpets; sportswear; and agricultural chemicals
  • Smart energy meters: advice regarding a challenge to the so-called SMETS1 “end-date”
  • Socrates Training: assistance to a legal training services provider with a claim against the Law Society
  • Software services: advice to a provider of third party maintenance services regarding the actions of the supplier of business software aimed at preventing customers from employing independent maintenance businesses
  • Southern Water: defended, successfully, a complaint filed by Mid-Kent Water with Ofwat regarding an alleged abuse of a dominant position
  • Thames Water: represented Thames Water as an intervener before the Competition Appeal Tribunal in a case lodged by Albion Water
  • The Net-book Agreement: successfully representing a major UK supermarket chain before the European Commission and United Kingdom authorities in the dismantling of the so-called net-book agreement whereby an association of book publishers artificially supported retail prices of certain books thus creating distortions of competition in the marketplace
  • UK Supermarket enquiry: advised a major national retailer in relation to the Competition Commission enquiry into the UK supermarket sector
  • Ultra: advice to a reseller of bathroom fixtures in the context of a CMA resale price maintenance investigation
  • University A v. SGL, Court of Session Edinburgh: Acting for SGL in defending claims by the university for trademark infringement and passing-off and counterclaiming for breach of competition law in relation to retail of undergraduate gowns.
  • Utilita: representing Utilita regarding achieving change to the rules regarding the allocation and pricing of wholesale gas
  • Utilities: advice to a major UK utility on the creation and clearance of e-marketplaces
  • Veterinary treatments: assistance with restrictive covenants contained in a distribution agreement covering the sale of an agricultural anti-biotic
  • Waste Water: advice to a statutory water undertaker concerning the supply of waste water to industrial customers for cooling purposes
  • Water companies: advice concerning inset appointment applications
  • Water companies: advising five water companies and the UK’s water industry federation on the application of the Competition Act, 1998
  • Water: advice concerning the long-term provision of sewerage services and the constraints flowing from competition law
  • Water: advice regarding an industry-wide licence modification proposal
  • Water: advice to a water company regarding an interim determination of price arising out of revenue shortfall issues
  • Water: advice to a water company regarding an interim determination of price arising out of an upgrade to a treatment works
  • Water: advising a water company concerning the pricing of meter reading services provided by neighbouring water companies
  • Water: assistance with regard to the design of a discount scheme to apply to the sale of water infrastructure data
  • Water: representing the water industry in the context of the market investigation launched by the OFT into the property search sector
  • Wing Zone: providing advice in relation to a UK franchising arrangement in the convenience food sector

*Some of these are matters worked on by the team prior to joining TupperS Law

Contact us

If you have any questions please contact us and a member of the team will be happy to help.

TupperS Law

22 Disraeli Road, London W5 5HP

stephen@tupperslaw.co.uk

0203 637 4660