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    Digital Markets Regulation

    Digital markets potentially face new regulation to deliver greater competition and innovation for the use of data, while protecting consumers’ rights. Social networks, search engines and eCommerce sites are just some of the digital platforms that will likely be most affected by these new potential Digital Markets Regulations. However, companies that act as market “gatekeepers” in the life sciences, pharmaceuticals and automotive sectors may also be impacted.

    These anticipated new regulations will complement existing antitrust, data protection and electronic communications laws to further protect consumers, and ultimately ensure digital markets players act responsibly and are accountable.

    Key issues that regulators around the globe are looking to address with new ex ante regulations include:

    • Economic dependency on a few companies who play a “gatekeeper” role in the market, through exclusive use of valuable data
    • Interoperability of data systems
    • Data mobility and portability
    • Transparency and fairness in customer contracts.

    We are trailblazers when it comes to serving the evolving needs of players in the digital markets, working at the forefront of legal and regulatory developments that are transforming this more-than-ever developing industry.

    Leveraging on our global network of lawyers and public policy advisors, spanning major capitals in four continents, we offer our clients unique solutions and unrivalled expertise:

    • Offering a seamless and coordinated approach through our unrivalled global platform
    • Advocacy through our top-tier public policy experience
    • Assessing risks and opportunities, as well as devising strategies to mitigate risks and maximize opportunities
    • Compliance counselling
    • Defending or bringing actions before regulatory agencies and courts

    We advise clients on the potential implications for their businesses of proposals, regulations and policy papers aimed at regulating digital markets and providing legal support with their advocacy and compliance efforts.

    Common themes include:

    • An increased focus on digital platforms and the collation of, and access to, data.
    • Some jurisdictions have changed, or considered changing, their merger control regimes to account for the impact of the digital era and to capture future key digital mergers that might otherwise fall outside current filing requirements.
    • Many jurisdictions have launched detailed market studies, or commissioned expert reports, relating to the digitisation of certain sectors and, more generally, the extent to which current competition laws and policies remain appropriate – in general, many authorities consider that the existing framework of competition law continues to provide a sound and sufficiently flexible basis for protecting competition in the digital era. However, some also consider that a “rethinking” of the traditional tools of analysis and enforcement is required to adapt to the challenges posed by the digital economy.

    Our platform covers the main proposals, regulations and policy papers aimed at regulating digital markets in certain jurisdictions.

    View a copy of our statement of capabilities.

    Australia

    • News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code Bill 2020
    • ACCC’s Digital Platforms Inquiry – final report
    • ACCC’s Digital Advertising Services Inquiry – interim report
    • ACMA’s Misinformation And News Quality – position paper

    EU

    • Digital Services Act Regulation Proposal
    • Digital Markets Act Regulation Proposal
    • Platform Regulation
    • Geo-blocking Regulation
    • IoT Sector Inquiry – preliminary report
    • E-commerce Sector Inquiry – report
    • Competition Policy for the Digital Era – report

    France

    • Competition Law and Data joint paper by the German Federal Cartel Office and the French Competition Authority
    • Contribution to the Debate on Competition and Digital Challenges policy paper by the French Competition Authority
    • Algorithms and Competition Working Paper by the German Federal Cartel Office and French Competition Authorities

    Germany

    • GWB Digitalisation Act
    • Competition Law and Data joint paper by the German Federal Cartel Office and the French Competition Authority
    • Green Paper – Digital Platforms by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy
    • German Federal Cartel Office Working Papers on:
      • Market Power of Platforms and Networks
      • Competition and Consumer Protection in the Digital Economy
      • Big Data and Competition
      • Innovations – Challenges for Competition Law Practice
      • Online Advertising
      • Competition Restraints in Online Sales After Coty And Asics – What’s Next?
      • Consumer Rights And Comparison Websites: Need For Action
    • Transaction Value Thresholds for Mandatory Pre-merger Notification, guidance published by the German Federal Cartel Office and the Austrian Competition Authority
    • Algorithms and Competition Working Paper by the German Federal Cartel Office and French Competition Authorities

    Italy

    • Proposed amendments to Italian Competition Law (Segnalazione S4143)
    • Big Data report of the Joint Inquiry being undertaken by the Italian Competition Authority, Data Privacy Authority and Communications Authority
    • Proposals to the Italian government for changes to Italian Competition Law (No. 287/90) by the Italian Competition Authority on 23 March 2021

    Spain

    • Proposed amendments to the Spanish Competition Law

    UK

    • Unlocking Digital Competition report (“Furman Report”)
    • Digital Markets Unit (DMU)
    • Digital Markets Taskforce
    • Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum
    • Regulating in a Digital World report by the House of Lords Select Committee
    • LEAR Report on ex-post assessment of merger control in digital markets, commissioned by the Competition and Markets Authority
    • Digital Markets Strategy policy paper by the Competition and Markets Authority
    • Pricing Algorithms and Consumer Harms – policy paper
    • Online Platforms and Digital Advertising – market study
    • Online Harms White Paper and related Ofcom guidance

    Japan

    • Fundamental Principles for Improvement of Rules Corresponding to the Rise of Digital Platform Businesses joint policy paper by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC), and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications
    • Medium-Term Vision on Competition in the Digital Market – Summary Report and Evaluation of Competition in the Digital Advertising Market – Final Report
    • JFTC guidelines concerning abuse of superior bargaining position in transactions between digital platform operators and consumers
    • JFTC amended merger guidelines focusing on business combinations in the digital market
    • Improvement of Transparency and Fairness in Trading on Specified Digital Platforms Act, 2020
    • JFTC final report regarding digital advertising
    • Report on Algorithms/AI and Competition Policy by the JFTC study group

    US

    • Investigation of Competition in Digital Markets: Majority Staff Report and Recommendations Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law of the Committee on the Judiciary
    • House legislative package consisting of six antitrust bills aimed at big tech firms

    China

    • Antitrust Guidelines for Platform Economy, published by China’s State Administration for Market Regulation, February 2021

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