The European Commission’s Guidance paper has embraced a more economics-based approach to abuse of dominance, focusing on the effect rather than merely the form of behaviour. Practices such as bundling and discounts can strengthen rather than hinder competition, even when carried out by a dominant firm, so careful analysis of the effects of conduct is vital.
We use economic models that reflect the behaviour of firms and consumers in the sector to assess whether final consumers and not just competitors are adversely affected by the practice. We have worked on some of the most high-profile cases in recent years, including Microsoft, Tomra, Intel, Servier, and investigations on the enforcement of intellectual property rights in mobile standards. We also often advise on these issues outside the confines of an official investigation, working with the client’s legal team to assess whether existing or planned conduct might constitute an abuse.