With the advent of a more effects-based approach to unilateral conduct, many practices once considered illicit per se are now assessed on a case-by-case basis. As a result, economics has moved to the forefront.
One of our experts, Anne Perrot, played an active role in this evolution. Together with other members of the Economic Advisory Group on Competition Policy, she was one of the authors of a report for the European Commission entitled "An Economic Approach to Article 82". This report paved the way for radical rethinking. It was followed by the issuance of a Guidance document by the Commission (2009), which lays out the principles underlying current policy.
The assessment of a unilateral practice requires one to check whether the facts of the case fit some precisely articulated 'theory of harm', and in particular whether harm to consumers is likely. Our approach to unilateral conduct cases therefore combines the use of economic theory with careful empirical analysis, including in some instances the econometric measurement of actual effects.
Our experience spans a wide variety of practices such as:
- 'margin squeeze' allegations;
- long-term contracts;
- predatory pricing allegations;
- bundling practices;
- refusal to supply by vertically integrated companies;
- price discrimination.