Antitrust issues may involve a potentially anticompetitive agreement between a group of competitors or between a supplier and its customer(s), and/or concerns about the behaviour of a large company. Whether it’s an investigation into such behaviour launched by a regulator or competition authority, or a lawsuit brought by another company, such issues can have far-reaching consequences for businesses involved and the market.
Oxera works closely with clients facing or making such allegations, and their legal advisers, providing economic inputs to assess the client’s case. We combine our economic expertise with sector insight to prepare expert reports and compelling testimony to courts and competition authorities. Where appropriate, we also help design remedies to suit the needs of our clients while satisfying the authorities.
‘‘We help our clients put forward robust, evidence-based arguments in front of competition authorities.’’
In this Q&A, a panel of Oxera economic experts discuss the success stories and key issues our clients face in such cases
Click here to read the article.

The skills we apply in antitrust cases
Oxera provides technical economic and quantitative skills to each case.

We apply our economic expertise and sector-specific knowledge in antitrust cases across industries. Some cases also require regulatory and financial analysis skills.

Excellent communication is also integral to our success in cases. Our vast experience of interacting with authority staff and courts ensures we always offer compelling advice.

Economic advice
Oxera’s Competition team provides comprehensive economic advice to clients across jurisdictions in all competition law matters, including investigations of agreements and abuse of dominance. We have a reputation for credibility and integrity among competition authorities and courts.

Testifying experience
We have extensive experience in testifying in front of courts across jurisdictions including Australia, Europe, New Zealand, South Africa and the USA, and our reputation for integrity helps us to deliver success for our clients.

Training
Our extensive training programmes include a two-day residential course on the economics of competition law, and bespoke seminars and workshops on specific issues that affect our clients. We’ve run these for the UK Financial Conduct Authority, Royal Mail, the NMa (the Netherlands competition authority), BT, Telefónica and bpost, as well as providing training to competition law judges from across EU member states.

Skyscanner

Freedom of movement

Client: Skyscanner
Case: Competition Appeal Tribunal, appeal on commitments
Result: Appeal won

Client: Skyscanner

Case: Competition Appeal Tribunal, appeal on commitments

Result: Appeal won

Oxera advised Skyscanner in its appeal against the Office of Fair Trading’s decision to settle with Booking.com, Expedia and IHG in a competition case.

The OFT was investigating restrictions between the three online travel agencies that prevented companies such as Skyscanner from offering customer discounts on hotel headline rates. The discounts would only be available to consumers who signed up to a special scheme. This meant they weren’t visible on sites like Skyscanner, which could show the headline rates but not the actual hotel price on its website.

Skyscanner lodged an appeal in March 2014, arguing that these closed groups of online travel agents and lack of transparency could harm the meta-search sector, as well as small online agencies, hotels and, as a result, consumers.

We quickly got to grips with Skyscanner’s case and the travel industry. We added valuable economic arguments to support it and ensure the right outcome.

Lupin Pharmaceuticals

Antitrust and IP

Client: Lupin Pharmaceuticals
Case: European Commission investigation
Result: Case on appeal/ongoing

Client: Lupin Pharmaceuticals

Case: European Commission investigation

Result: Case on appeal/ongoing

Oxera helped generic drug manufacturer, Lupin Pharmaceuticals, put up a strong defence against the European Commission’s allegations of anticompetitive behaviour in the context of the company’s settlement of a dispute with the patent holder.

The Commission alleged that the settlement agreements that resolved a patent litigation between Servier, a large pharmaceutical firm, and several other generic drug manufacturers including Lupin, were anticompetitive. Its primary concern was that the agreements delayed the entry of the generic (non-branded) versions of the drug into the market, thereby harming consumers by denying them access to cheaper generic products. One of the main assumptions behind its allegation was that there is a reasonable level of certainty that the generic firm would win the case and enter the market.

We developed an economic framework for Lupin to assess the likely effects of the agreements. This was used to show that their impact on market entry depends on the economic context in which they were concluded, including the generic firms’ expectations of success, expected profits from entry, and the costs of litigation. Our analysis showed that, under a range of assumptions on plausible market environments, the agreements would not have been anticompetitive because generic entry would not have occurred earlier (or at all) without the agreements. We also undertook a patent valuation exercise for the analysis.

Although still ongoing and on appeal, this is one of the seminal cases in the interface between competition law and intellectual property law in the sector, and the analysis of the economic context will be critical to the final outcome.