Abuse of dominance – when is an ‘excessive’ price ‘unfair’? Recent developments at EU and member state level

    View Author February 2009

    This article was written by Diarmuid Ryan, Tom Pick and Will Sparks and first appeared in the February 2009 edition of Competition & Antitrust Review 2009, Euromoney Yearbook

    A number of significant developments took place in 2008 which suggest that, despite the European competition authorities' and courts' historic reluctance to intervene in pure excessive pricing cases, dominant firms can no longer regard a finding of abuse only for unfair pricing as a purely theoretical risk. The decisions in cases such as Microsoft, Scippacercola,Attheraces and Albion Water provide useful guidance as to how competition authorities and courts at both EU and national level will approach investigations into alleged excessive pricing. All the same, this is still a highly complex area of competition law - applying the tests used to determine whether prices are excessive and unfair to actual pricing scenarios remains extremely difficult.

    In May 2008, international law firm Hammonds became a limited liability partnership. Hammonds LLP and its affiliated undertakings has offices in Birmingham, Leeds, London and Manchester in the UK, and in Berlin, Brussels, Beijing, Hong Kong, Madrid, Munich and Paris.