Expertise Competition Law

In today’s digital world, competition law and policy are constantly evolving. How competition rules are applied and enforced in practice on a national, EU and international level is becoming increasingly complex.

Our specialists each have over 20 years of experience advising on all aspects of EU and UK competition law, including anti-competitive agreements, merger control, abuse of dominance, state aid, competition litigation, market investigations as well as audit and compliance. Our work advising clients in connection with a range of EU legislative initiatives such as the Digital Services and Digital Markets Acts means that we are on the cutting edge of developments affecting competition law and policy.

We’re true experts on competition issues in the media, brands and technology sectors thanks to our unrivalled experience, gained both in private practice in leading firms and in-house at top global organisations including BT, Apple, 3 and the MPA.

Our time spent working as in-house counsel means we understand the need to provide advice that goes beyond the purely legal. We offer practical, commercially relevant advice that’s jargon-free and provided in a real-world context.

We work closely with a global network of partner firms with expertise that matches our own to ensure you get the advice you need in all key jurisdictions. Our network means we aren’t hamstrung to using local offices with mixed abilities and skills and can select the best lawyer for you based on our extensive experience of working with them.

Commercial agreements and competition law

Competition law issues can arise in the course of ordinary commercial agreements or when a company is putting in place a commercial strategy, such as a licensing or distribution agreement, cooperation arrangements, an R&D agreement or a joint venture. We have extensive experience working on a wide range of commercial agreements and assessing the competition law implications and how to amend these agreements to adapt to the competition law framework.

Dominance and unilateral conduct

We’ve advised extensively on abuse of dominance cases, with unrivalled expertise in the TMT sector. We’ve acted on behalf of both sides in such cases: for companies with leading market positions and on behalf of complainants impacted by anti-competitive behaviour.

We’ve advised on investigations and cases in front of the European Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union and the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) as well as other UK sectoral competition authorities, particularly Ofcom, and several national competition authorities globally, working with expert local counsel.

Competition litigation

We have an excellent track record in complex antitrust litigation both in the UK and elsewhere. We’ve worked with clients involved in appeals against the European Commission to the European Courts, on appeals against decisions by UK competition authorities to the Competition Appeals Tribunal and on appeals in other jurisdictions, working with expert local counsel.

We’re also experienced when it comes to follow-on damages cases and on remedies and commitments in settlement of disputes where we have secured major wins for clients in competition follow on cases and in commercial disputes where settlement of competition issues has provided material sums for our clients. We can even help you find funding solutions, drawing on our unique experience of deploying the first ever UK funded litigation portfolio for a FTSE 20 player.

Mergers and market investigations

Competition law is key in the context of mergers and acquisitions and in market investigations. If you’re involved in a merger, acquisition or joint venture, we’ve got the expertise to help.

Our specialists advise on all aspects of EU and national merger control and are experienced at acting for both merger parties, as well as for third parties wishing to complain against a merger. We also advise on filings related to mergers, including national security and other regulatory filings. We’ll work closely with you to devise a notification strategy that best fits your commercial and operational needs.

We’ve also worked on sector inquiries and market investigations in the media and technology sectors, for example the E-commerce Sector Inquiry as well as the Cross-border access to pay-TV case.

IP and competition law

Our award-winning IP team has a stellar reputation for managing your IP rights and helping you to maximise the value of your assets. We use this experience to provide innovative and pragmatic solutions when dealing with the competition law issues that frequently arise when securing and licensing IP rights.

In addition to guiding clients through the licensing process, our experience and multi-disciplinary expertise mean that we can help you with competition law matters concerning the assertion of IP rights, such as injunctive relief applications in respect of FRAND-encumbered SEPs, patent and ‘pay for delay’ settlements and other practices. We also have significant experience helping brand owners to navigate a safe course though competition law regulation when establishing selective distribution networks, particularly in the context of online retail channels.

We can also help you with complex cross-border issues and questions in relation to geo-blocking thanks to our experience of applying competition law to the exclusive territorial licensing of copyright content, and the application of EU law under the SatCab Directive as well as dealing with a myriad of matters in the collective management space.

State Aid

Our team advise both the private sector and public bodies on all aspects of State aid notifications and investigations, particularly in the Film & TV and technology sectors. We can help you to navigate the complex EU state aid rules and the post-Brexit UK regime. Equally, if you’re concerned about your competitors having benefitted from unlawful or misused aid, we can guide you through the complaint-procedure.