DOJ identifies potential antitrust risks associated with “no-poach” agreements

Recently, the DOJ has shined a spotlight on the potential antitrust risks associated with employers’ use of “no-poach” agreements, in which companies agree not to hire or solicit each other’s employees. Interestingly, in February of this year, the DOJ filed Statements of Interest in several civil antitrust cases brought against franchisors, taking the position that the no-poach agreements at issue in those cases were not per se unlawful and should be analyzed under the more forgiving rule of reason test. This insight into the DOJ’s position on no-poach agreements bears watching and could ultimately provide helpful guidance to franchisors, manufacturers who distribute through independent dealers, and other companies that may wish to use no-poach provisions in their vertical contracts. Our team explains what you need to know in our recent alert.

Groundbreaking cases shape UK collective actions

This year marks four years since significant statutory reforms regenerated the UK’s collective actions arena. Following a rocky start to this new regime, it appears that 2019 may finally bring some clarity to potential claimants navigating the first hurdle of competition class actions: the Collective Proceedings Order application. In this client alert, our London Competition and Commercial Disputes teams discuss four new important cases, which are the first of their kind, and offer insight into what we may expect to see for the rapidly-changing future of collective actions.

German FCO identifies potential consumer rights violations in recent investigation of comparison websites

On 11 April 2019, the German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) released the final report on its sector inquiry into comparison websites. The FCO’s report identifies areas of concern in various industries, including energy, telecommunications, insurance, finance and travel, which are particularly relevant for consumers. The findings indicate that in some cases consumers are being misled, that transparency obligations are not fully complied with, and that advertisements are not always identified as such by the relevant website provider. Read our alert for a full analysis of the report.

Dawn Raids: Essential tips for preparation and response

The EU Commission, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) or other sector regulators with competition powers may conduct unannounced onsite inspections of businesses if they suspect a breach of competition law through anti-competitive activity or conduct. These surprise inspections, often dubbed ‘dawn raids’, are employed to gather evidence in relation to suspected cartels. Such raids are often stressful as a company may be heavily fined in relation to its conduct as well as for the conduct of its employees during the inspection.

The purpose of this guidance is to assist companies and their employees with internal plans for dealing with a dawn raid. While this guidance focuses on the EU Commission, the basic principles are also applicable to national competition authorities, such as the CMA.

Download the PDF to read our full briefing.

This post was also written by Emily Daniels, trainee solicitor.