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Margin Squeeze and the Essential Facilities Doctrine

Peters, Katarina LU (2012) JURM02 20121
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Även om monopol eller en dominerande ställning på marknaden i sig inte anses utgöra ett missbruk i konkurrensrättslig mening, bär ett företag med stark marknadsposition ett särskilt ansvar för att inte begå konkurrensbegränsande handlingar. När konkurrensrätten ingriper i ett dominerande förtags handlingar bör så ske med åtanke av de underliggande överväganden som ligger till grund för konkurrensrätten. Det vill säga, å ena sidan, bevarandet av effektiv konkurrens och konsumentnytta på marknaden, och, å andra sidan, skyddandet av företagets handlingsfrihet och incitament att skapa innovationer och göra investeringar.

Marginalklämning och leveransvägran delar många likheter, handlingarna förekommer under samma typ av marknadsstruktur och... (More)
Även om monopol eller en dominerande ställning på marknaden i sig inte anses utgöra ett missbruk i konkurrensrättslig mening, bär ett företag med stark marknadsposition ett särskilt ansvar för att inte begå konkurrensbegränsande handlingar. När konkurrensrätten ingriper i ett dominerande förtags handlingar bör så ske med åtanke av de underliggande överväganden som ligger till grund för konkurrensrätten. Det vill säga, å ena sidan, bevarandet av effektiv konkurrens och konsumentnytta på marknaden, och, å andra sidan, skyddandet av företagets handlingsfrihet och incitament att skapa innovationer och göra investeringar.

Marginalklämning och leveransvägran delar många likheter, handlingarna förekommer under samma typ av marknadsstruktur och resulterar båda i liknande effekter på marknaden. Det är dock inte klart om de båda missbruken ska bedömas på samma vis konkurrensrättsligt. I frågan skiljer sig förhållningssättet i EU jämfört med USA. De två jurisdiktionerna kan sägas ha utvecklats i motstående riktning då EU- rätten erkänner marginalklämning som ett fristående missbruk medan man i Amerikansk rätt applicerar ett striktare förhållningssätt där marginalklämning ses som en konstruktiv form av leveransvägran.

När marginalklämning ses som ett fristående missbruk är det inte självklart vilka faktorer som är av betydelse för den konkurrensrättsliga bedömningen och till vilken grad. Eftersom både leveransvägran och marginalklämning kan uppkomma i situationer där ett vertikalt integrerat dominerande företag kontrollerar en nyttighet som är nödvändig för att kunna verka på nedströmsmarknaden, är det intressant hur oumbärlighetskravet för en sådan nyttighet ska bedömas. Då leveransvägran inte anses utgöra ett missbruk i de fall nyttigheten inte är oumbärlig, är frågan om samma bedömning gäller i fråga om marginalklämning.

I senaste EU- rättspraxis har konstaterats att de krav som i Bronner- fallet ansågs vara tillämpliga på leveransvägran, inte var tillämpliga på marginalklämningsfall. Trots detta verkar det dock som om liknande krav är av intresse vid bedömningen av marginalklämning. I TeliaSonera- fallet ansågs oumbärlighet för nyttigheten vara en viktig faktor i bedömningen av de konkurrensbegränsande effekter som marginalklämning kunde medföra, men oumbärlighet var inte ett krav för att sådana effekter skulle kunna uppstå. Det är svårt att avgöra i vilken omfattning EU- domstolen anser att en nödvändig nyttighet är en viktig faktor i bedömningen av marginalklämning som konkurrensbegränsande missbruk. Detta spörsmål kommer förmodligen bli en fråga för framtida rättspraxis att klargöra. Om ett missbruk i form av marginalklämning inte behandlas inom ramen för en strikt konkurrensrättslig bedömning, riskerar ett allt för långtgående ingripande av konkurrensrätten att vara sannolik, vilket kan resultera i obalans mellan underliggande konkurrensrättsliga överväganden. (Less)
Abstract
Even though competition law will not regard dominance and monopoly as abusive per se, an undertaking with strong market power carries a certain responsibility not to engage in anti- competitive conducts on the market. When competition law is interfering in the conducts of dominators, it is important to take into account the underlying considerations of, on one hand, preservation of efficient competition and consumer welfare on the market, and, on the other hand, protection of the dominator`s freedom of operation and the maintenance of its incentives to innovate and invest.

Margin Squeeze, regarded as a competition law violation, shares many similarities with an abusive refusal to supply. Both conducts may be observed to occur in the... (More)
Even though competition law will not regard dominance and monopoly as abusive per se, an undertaking with strong market power carries a certain responsibility not to engage in anti- competitive conducts on the market. When competition law is interfering in the conducts of dominators, it is important to take into account the underlying considerations of, on one hand, preservation of efficient competition and consumer welfare on the market, and, on the other hand, protection of the dominator`s freedom of operation and the maintenance of its incentives to innovate and invest.

Margin Squeeze, regarded as a competition law violation, shares many similarities with an abusive refusal to supply. Both conducts may be observed to occur in the same type of market structure and bring similar effects to the competitive climate on the market. However, whether these conducts should be considered under the same approach in terms of violations under competition law, is a disputed issue. In this question EU- and US competition law seems to have moved in opposite directions, whereas, US antitrust law applies a strict policy as it regards margin squeeze as a form or refusal to supply, while EU competition law considers margin squeeze as an abusive conduct in itself.

When considering margin squeeze as an abusive conduct independent from a refusal to supply, it is not obvious what elements that will be of importance for such determination, and to what an extent. As both conducts may occur in situations where the dominant undertaking is vertically integrated and controls an essential facility that is necessary in order to operate on the downstream market, the question of the importance of the indispensable input element is of certain interest. Since a refusal to supply will not be considered an abusive conduct if the product or service at issue is not indispensable, the question is if a similar assessment should be at hand in margin squeeze cases.

In recent EU case law, the refusal to supply criteria set out in the Bronner- case has been considered inapplicable to margin squeeze cases. However, it seems like similar criteria will still be of importance to such cases. In the TeliaSonera- case the indispensable input criteria was considered an important factor when determining the anti- competitive effects of the abuse, but it was not determined a necessary finding for such conduct to be considered abusive. It is hard to assess to what an extent CJEU considers the indispensable input element to be important. This will probably be a question for future case law to clarify and further determine. If margin squeeze as an abusive conduct is not considered under a narrow competition law approach, the risk of too far interference in this kind of cases is probable, which may result in unbalance regarding the underlying competition law considerations. (Less)
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author
Peters, Katarina LU
supervisor
organization
course
JURM02 20121
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Competition Law, Margin Squeeze, Essential Facilities.
language
English
id
2701649
date added to LUP
2012-10-15 11:22:09
date last changed
2012-10-15 11:22:09
@misc{2701649,
  abstract     = {Even though competition law will not regard dominance and monopoly as abusive per se, an undertaking with strong market power carries a certain responsibility not to engage in anti- competitive conducts on the market. When competition law is interfering in the conducts of dominators, it is important to take into account the underlying considerations of, on one hand, preservation of efficient competition and consumer welfare on the market, and, on the other hand, protection of the dominator`s freedom of operation and the maintenance of its incentives to innovate and invest.

 Margin Squeeze, regarded as a competition law violation, shares many similarities with an abusive refusal to supply. Both conducts may be observed to occur in the same type of market structure and bring similar effects to the competitive climate on the market. However, whether these conducts should be considered under the same approach in terms of violations under competition law, is a disputed issue. In this question EU- and US competition law seems to have moved in opposite directions, whereas, US antitrust law applies a strict policy as it regards margin squeeze as a form or refusal to supply, while EU competition law considers margin squeeze as an abusive conduct in itself. 

When considering margin squeeze as an abusive conduct independent from a refusal to supply, it is not obvious what elements that will be of importance for such determination, and to what an extent. As both conducts may occur in situations where the dominant undertaking is vertically integrated and controls an essential facility that is necessary in order to operate on the downstream market, the question of the importance of the indispensable input element is of certain interest. Since a refusal to supply will not be considered an abusive conduct if the product or service at issue is not indispensable, the question is if a similar assessment should be at hand in margin squeeze cases. 

In recent EU case law, the refusal to supply criteria set out in the Bronner- case has been considered inapplicable to margin squeeze cases. However, it seems like similar criteria will still be of importance to such cases. In the TeliaSonera- case the indispensable input criteria was considered an important factor when determining the anti- competitive effects of the abuse, but it was not determined a necessary finding for such conduct to be considered abusive. It is hard to assess to what an extent CJEU considers the indispensable input element to be important. This will probably be a question for future case law to clarify and further determine. If margin squeeze as an abusive conduct is not considered under a narrow competition law approach, the risk of too far interference in this kind of cases is probable, which may result in unbalance regarding the underlying competition law considerations.},
  author       = {Peters, Katarina},
  keyword      = {Competition Law,Margin Squeeze,Essential Facilities.},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Margin Squeeze and the Essential Facilities Doctrine},
  year         = {2012},
}