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Antitrust law and law on competition -  horak Attorneys at law

What is antitrust law, what is „law on competition”?

Integrity law (commonly referred to as law on competition or advertising law) is supposed to protect competition in addition to antitrust law. Therefore, “antitrust law” is sometimes described as “law on competition”. However, in reality there are only few areas of overlap between both areas of law: Speaking in simplified terms, antitrust law provides for the avoidance of cartels, whereas integrity law attempts at regulating individual publicity negotiations between market participants.

The Federal Cartel Office (in cooperation with regional antitrust authorities) is responsible for the protection of competition in Germany.

Where is antitrust law regulated?

The German antitrust law is regulated by the Act Against Restraints of Competition, or Cartel Act, which entered into force as of 1st January 1958 and has been altered six times since then, the last time by means of a comprehensive supplementary law in 1999. Apart from German regulations, the European law on competition plays an important role and is implemented by the European Commission, being the competition law authority at the EU level.

What does cartels law comprise?

The fundamental aspects of the modern antitrust law include the enforcement of the prohibition of cartels, merger supervision and the control of abusive practices over the market dominating enterprises. Since 1st January 1999, this also includes protection of bidders placing public contracts.

What does the Federal Cartel Office do?

The Federal Cartel Office has the authority to prohibit mergers and improper practices, to set production limits and to impose fines. The Cartel Act places extensive power of investigation within the Federal Cartel Office. You can find further information on these matters on the website of the Federal Cartel Office.

How does the Federal Cartel Office make its decisions?

The decisions in the area of antitrust law are made by decision-making departments of the Federal Cartel Office by means of proceedings similar to court proceedings. The areas of responsibility of decision-making departments are delineated according to branches.

What do we need to handle your legal questions concerning the law on competition?

Usually we need details concerning advertising campaign (layout, publication dates, area of distribution, circulation, etc.), if they need to be checked. On the other hand, if your legal question concerns your competitor, we need information as comprehensive as possible on your advertising presentation, general information on your competitor as well as information on the advertisement queried. Moreover, we need to know when and how you acquired knowledge concerning your competitor’s actions.

What do we need to handle your legal questions concerning the antitrust law?

Antitrust law might concern the three aspects of the prohibition of cartels, merger supervision as well as the contracting law. Due to the typical complexity and usually – to the strictest confidentiality, all details have to be discussed and agreed upon individually..

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© German lawyer Michael Horak 2002-2018

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