Expect firm enforcement in high-tech markets, says DG Comp official

14 March 2012

Per Hellström, head of the European Commission’s antitrust unit in charge of the IT industry, has defended DG Comp’s record in using antitrust enforcement to promote competition in the high-tech market, and said the commission will continue to use competition law to ensure interoperability is in place and standard-essential patents are not used to protect dominant positions. Stefano Berra in London

Leading in-house counsel at odds over standard-setting

14 March 2012

In-house counsel from leading high-tech companies today discussed at GCR Live's Antitrust and Technology conference in London how antitrust enforcement should deal with standard-setting organisations and FRAND licensing terms. Stefano Berra in London.


Thomas Vinje

Chair of Global Antitrust Practice, Clifford Chance

Keynote Speaker

Per Hellström

Head of Unit, Antitrust; IT, Internet and Consumer Electronics, DG Comp, European Commission


Jean-Yves Art


Oliver Bethell


Simon Citron


Miranda Cole

Covington & Burling

Maurits Dolmans

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

Christian Duvernoy

Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr

Amelia Fletcher

Office of Fair Trading

Matthew Heim


Jenni Lukander


Robert Mahnke

eBay, USA

Robert O'Donoghue

Brick Court Chambers

Miguel Odriozola

Clifford Chance

Jon Orszag

Compass Lexecon

Gunnar Pampel

German Federal Cartel Office

Dallis Radamaker


Alvaro Ramos

Cisco Systems Belgium BVBA/SPRL

Pierre Régibeau

Charles River Associates

Christian Riis-Madsen

O'Melveny & Myers

Scott Sher

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

Claudia Tapia Garcia

Research in Motion (RIM)

Craig Waldman

Jones Day


The conference has been accredited with 6.5 CPD hours from the SRA.


08.30 Registration and coffee

09.00 Chairman’s introduction

09.05 Keynote speech

09.30 Should antitrust authorities intervene in fast moving IT markets?

  • Is there too much attention spent on IT markets because they are attention-grabbing?
  • Do antitrust authorities intervene too quickly? Do IT markets really move that rapidly?
  • Have recent examples proven that antitrust authorities intervene too quickly, or not quickly enough?
  • How can the right balance be found?

10.30 Coffee break

10.50 Differences in EU and US IT antitrust enforcement

  • How has the Obama administration tackled the IT industry?
  • Are there important differences in approach between international antitrust enforcement regimes? Do those differences (if any) merely exist in theory or also in practice?
  • Does the recent enforcement practice suggest there is more common ground in antitrust enforcement or merger review?
  • How significant is cooperation between jurisdictions in the field of antitrust enforcement in the IT sector?

12.00 Antitrust standards for standards in the horizontal guidelines: the right approach?

  • Do the horizontal guidelines reflect the right approach to IP licensing in the context of standards organisations?
  • How can the horizontal guidelines be improved?
  • Do the horizontal guidelines try to offer an antitrust fix to what is really a problem of IP law?
  • Have the horizontal guidelines had any practical impact to date and if so how?

13.00 Lunch

14.10 Pricing and bundling of IT products – drawing the line between lawful and unlawful behaviour

  • Do antitrust rules related to pricing and discounting provide too restrictive a framework for the IT industry?
  • Which types of discounts present an antitrust risk?
  • What are the limits on bundling of IT products, and how do you distinguish bundling from product enhancement?
  • Do the existing antitrust rules provide sufficient guidance?
  • Do cases such as Microsoft and Intel take the right approach, and what is their value as guiding precedent?
  • How will antitrust rules on pricing apply to the evolving pricing models in the IT sector (pay as you go, subscription pricing of software and hardware)

15.10 Tea break

15.30 Merger review in the IT sector: too much or too little scrutiny?

  • Recent merger review in the IT sector
  • Perceived trends in IT M&A and how the Commission is responding
  • The relevance of remedies
  • Transatlantic cooperation
  • Are recent authority decisions in the field of mergers the right ones?
  • Are IT sector markets becoming too concentrated?
  • Is there too much interventionism and shortsightedness in IT merger review?
  • Issues presented by mergers wit state-owned IT entities

16.30 Apple, Google, IBM under the antitrust nanoscope

  • Apple, IBM, Google cases and others
  • Is there too much interventionism and shortsightedness in unilateral conduct enforcement?
  • Are the antitrust authorities appropriately equipped to tackle unilateral conduct cases in the IT sector?
  • Do IT sector cases move too slowly?
  • Do the current policies of antitrust enforcement in the IT sector vis-a-vis the industry giants threaten benefits to consumers and innovation?

17.25 Summing up and close


The King's Fund, 11-13 Cavendish Square, London, W1G 0AN, United Kingdom


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