Experience – Competition and Consumer Protection

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Selected experience of lawyers from the practice

  • We prepared notifications of intended concentrations in privatisation processes and coordinated proceedings before national and foreign competition authorities (including the European Commission), including in the privatisation of the steel-mill sector in Poland (acquisition of Polskie Huty Stali, 2003–2004).
  • We obtained unconditional consent to acquisition of large-format DIY stores of Castorama by Kingfisher (2002) and the LeaderPrice chain of discount stores by Tesco (2006).
  • We negotiated with the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection a conditional decision on acquisition by CRH of control of companies from the Schwenk group in Poland operating on the cement market, and then prepared an unprecedented appeal from that decision to the Court of Competition and Consumer Protection, challenging the definition of the relevant market (2007).
  • We obtained unconditional consent to acquisition of Polpharma, a Polish producer of medicines and active ingredients, by Hungarian drug manufacturer Gedeon Richter (2008).
  • We advised on the acquisition by Ströer Polska of its competitor News Outdoor Poland, obtaining unconditional consent to the concentration (outdoor advertising market, 2010).
  • We provided comprehensive advice to Mitsubishi Electric Corp. in acquiring joint control of Medcom (a Polish manufacturer of electrical devices for traction vehicles), obtaining the approval of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection to complete the transaction (2015) and on further operations of the joint-venture company established through that transaction in compliance with competition regulations.
  • We advised a professional publishing house on acquiring a competitor, represented the client in investigatory proceedings, and assisted the client during a dawn raid by the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, successfully defending the position that the transaction was not subject to the merger-control regulations (2013–2015).
  • We obtained unconditional consent for H+H to acquire a competitor (Grupa Silikaty) in the second phase of antitrust proceedings including a study of the market (2017).
  • We effectively persuaded the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection that there was no duty to make a merger-control filing in a transaction involving acquisition by a retail chain of a portion of the assets of a competing chain, obtaining the regulator’s written position on the matter (2019).
  • We represented a leading DIY chain in four antitrust proceedings and subsequent judicial proceedings (up to the Supreme Court of Poland) in which the client was the first company in Poland to obtain a reduced fine under the leniency procedure.
  • We represented a payment system operator in antitrust and judicial proceedings concerning banks’ setting of interchange fees paid by points of sale for conducting payment-card transactions.
  • We represented a bank before the Supreme Court of Poland and the court of appeal in proceedings concerning banks’ setting of interchange fees paid by points of sale for conducting payment-card transactions.
  • We represented a cement manufacturer in proceedings before the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection and the courts concerning a conspiracy to fix cement prices.
  • We represented a distributor of sports equipment in a proceeding before the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection concerning setting of resale prices, obtaining discontinuance of the proceeding.
  • We advised a telecommunications operator in a case involving exchange of information between competitors and failure to cooperate during an inspection.
  • We represented the CEO of a leading energy company in a proceeding before the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection concerning a suspected conspiracy.
  • We have represented and supported clients from many industries in inspections and searches by the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (e.g. a leading professional publishing house, a chain of building-supply markets, manufacturers of construction products, and an energy company).
  • We advised the owner of a chain of hypermarkets and a wholesale network in the process of building a purchasing platform, including consultations on the project with the president of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection.
  • We advised a leading producer of electronic equipment on introduction of a selective distribution system in Europe, including framing of the exclusive purchasing clauses with the aim of protecting the reputation of the brand, and also on the system for exchange of information between the manufacturer and the distributors. We conducted a legal audit to identify risks arising out of a previous inspection (combined with a search) by the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK). The audit included a review of the materials copied by UOKiK, such as emails, and discussions between management and employees.
  • We advised an international manufacturer of sports apparel and equipment on the rules for building a selective distribution system, including the criteria for selecting distributors.
  • We advised an outdoor advertising company in connection with the antitrust aspects of creating a consortium.
  • We prepared and conducted a mock dawn raid by the competition watchdog for a client operating on the liquid fuels market. The simulation included preparation of a report summarising the inspection and proposed changes in procedures in the event of a real inspection by the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK). The mock dawn raid had two aims: to assess the degree of preparedness of staff for a potential inspection by UOKiK, and to identify possible irregularities in the area of competition law, particularly prohibited horizontal or vertical anti-competitive arrangements.
  • We supported a foil manufacturer during a mock inspection by the European Commission conducted by another law firm.
  • We conducted a series of training events for a chain of building-supply markets involving inspections and searches, as well as broader aspects of antitrust law, unfair competition, and procedural rules related to product safety.
  • We conducted a series of training events for a manufacturer of construction materials covering issues of antitrust law, with particular attention to price arrangements, market division, information sharing, and dawn raids by the competition authority. We prepared and implemented procedures for a possible inspection by the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK), conducted a comprehensive legal audit of the activity of management, including review of email correspondence with representatives of customers and suppliers and analysis of commercial contracts for compliance with competition law, and then prepared a report and post-audit recommendations, as well as training on compliance with competition regulations.
  • We prepared and carried out a series of training events for a food producer covering vertical arrangements (particularly price arrangements, market division agreements and exclusivity clauses), horizontal arrangements, activity in industry associations, and sharing of information with competitors.
  • We prepared and constructed training for a company from the chemicals industry covering a broad spectrum of antitrust issues reflecting the specifics of the client’s operations and the duties of the training participants. The training included individual sessions with members of the management board.
  • We conducted a legal audit lasting several months of an FMCG supplier, including interviews with over a hundred staff, analysis of hundreds of documents and email correspondence for compliance with competition law.
  • We conducted a legal audit to identify risks connected with inspection and search by the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) at a publishing company. The audit included a review of materials copied by UOKiK, interviews with key employees, and drafting a final report with an assessment of the risk of commencement of antitrust proceedings and imposition of fines by UOKiK.
  • We represented a manufacturer of construction materials as the defendant in several trials involving civil claims connected with a suspected conspiracy; the claims were denied.
  • We advised an international automotive group in connection with claims by Polish customers involving a prohibited arrangement found in a decision of the European Commission, as part of advice in several jurisdictions coordinated by another law firm.
  • We represented a manufacturer of construction materials in a judicial proceeding concerning civil claims following with a legally final decision of the president of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection finding an anti-competitive arrangement.
  • We advised a manufacturer of rail products in judicial proceedings seeking damages exceeding half a billion zlotys against a competitor and infrastructure operator.
  • For a client from the postal sector, we prepared a statement of claim and applications for interim relief in connection with potential claims involving allegations of unfair competition.
  • For a major producer of foods, we prepared a statement of claim and applications for interim relief in connection with potential claims involving allegations of unfair competition.
  • We represented a leading producer of food and chemicals in a case involving allegations of unfair competition.
  • We advised a leading steelmaker on preventive measures against acts of unfair competition by competitors.
  • We represented a client from the tourism industry in a case involving unfair competition consisting of theft of trade secrets and a database.
  • We represented a beverage producer in a case of unfair competition involving non-competition in manufacturing of private-label products.
  • We represented a large bank in a proceeding before the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection concerning durable media for communications with clients.
  • We represented a large bank in a proceeding before the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection concerning assessment of interest on loans using the LIBOR rate.
  • We represented a large bank in a proceeding before the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection concerning fees for technical and administrative activities.
  • We have advised financial institutions and represented them in numerous proceedings before the president of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection concerning alleged abusive clauses and infringement of the collective interests of consumers.
  • We represented two financial institutions before the president of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection in proceedings concerning alleged infringement of the collective interests of consumers connected with refund of commissions in the event of early repayment of consumer credit.
  • We have drafted a comprehensive evaluation of the abusiveness of contract forms used by a number of banks, insurers, leasing companies, and brokerages in connection with M&A transactions (due diligence review of contract forms).
  • We have revised bank forms and other forms to comply with consumer law.
  • We have advised on interest limits and statutory limits on costs of consumer credit.
  • We have advised a number of banks on regulatory issues, including issues concerning protection of competition and consumers.
  • We have advised a number of clients in the e-commerce sector on provisions of terms and conditions of online stores.