Miranda Cole

Miranda Cole

Miranda Cole is a partner based in the firm’s Brussels office.  She practices competition and communications law and policy, and has more than 15 years of experience in the field.  Ms. Cole’s competition law expertise encompasses merger control, actions under Articles 101 and 102 TFEU, advisory work and actions before the European courts in Luxembourg.

She has particular expertise in advising companies active in the technology and communications sectors in complex and strategic regulatory and policy matters, with particular expertise regarding the impact of evolving regulatory frameworks on new technologies and services.  In the communications sector she has extensive experience advising in connection with all aspects of European and international regulation, policy and competition law, and counselling in connection with the impact of regulation on transactions.

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The European Commission Publishes its Final Report on the E-commerce Sector Inquiry

On 10 May 2017 the European Commission published its Final Report on the E-commerce Sector Inquiry (the “Report”).  The Commission’s E-commerce Sector Inquiry, launched on 6 May 6 2015 as part of the Digital Single Market Strategy, gathered evidence from nearly 1,900 companies connected with the online sale of consumer goods and digital content.  The … Continue Reading

ASICS’ ONLINE SALES RESTRICTIONS CONFIRMED AS ILLEGAL BY DUESSELDORF HIGHER REGIONAL COURT

On 5 April 2017, the Duesseldorf Higher Regional Court confirmed the August 2015 decision of the Federal Cartel Office finding that it is anti-competitive and therefore illegal to impose on distributors a general prohibition on the use of online price comparison portals. The Cartel Office had faulted Asics over imposing the following restrictions on its … Continue Reading

German Court sends online sales bans to ECJ

On 25 April, the German Higher Regional Court in Frankfurt filed a request for a preliminary ruling with the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) in a case that turns on the ability of branded goods manufacturers to protect the reputation of their brands by controlling online trade. Coty is suing one of its authorised distributors, … Continue Reading

UK CMA Opens Investigation into Online Sales of Licensed Sport and Entertainment Merchandise

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) has opened an investigation into suspected anticompetitive arrangements relating to online sales of licensed sport and entertainment merchandise and other consumer products. The opening of the investigation follows raids on December 1, 2015 at the headquarters of Trod Limited, a UK retailer of toys and sports products (doing … Continue Reading

French probe of Adidas’ online sales restrictions closed

On 18 November 2015, the French competition authority announced that it had closed its investigation into Adidas’ online sales terms, after the company changed the terms. The French competition authority carried out this investigation in cooperation with the German Federal Cartel Office (the Bundeskartellamt). Adidas operates a selective distribution system under which distributors were prohibited … Continue Reading

German Federal Supreme Court confirms successor liability for coffee roasters in spite of corporate restructuring

Early this month, the German Federal Supreme Court (BGH) published its judgment in the appeal filed by Melitta Europa GmbH & Co. (Melitta Europa) against the 2014 judgment of the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court (OLG). The OLG confirmed a 55 million euro fine imposed in 2009 by the German Federal Cartel Office on Melitta Kaffee, … Continue Reading

UK CMA launches Article 101 investigation into fashion markets

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has opened an investigation into suspected anti-competitive arrangements in UK fashion markets.  Little information has been released, but the case was opened on 24 March 2015 into anticompetitive agreements and concerted practices under Chapter I of the UK Competition Act 1998 and/or Article 101 of the Treaty on … Continue Reading

Germany’s Federal Cartel Office restricts duration and scope of radius restrictions on branded goods manufacturers

On 3 March 2015, the FCO issued a decision against the operator of the factory outlet centre Wertheim Village, VR Franconia GmbH. The operator of the outlet centre included a non-compete radius clause in its lease agreements, prohibiting most of the 100 tenants (branded goods manufacturers) from opening shops in other factory outlet centres or … Continue Reading

SodaStream fined by the FCO for abusive practices

On 22 January 2015, the German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) fined SodaStream € 225,000 for foreclosing its competitors’ access to the market for refilling of gas cylinders for carbonated drinks machines. In 2006 the FCO found that SodaStream (formely Soda Club), as a dominant company, could not foreclose its competitors from refilling the CO2 cartridges for … Continue Reading

French Competition Authority adopts broad view on online sales market

On 28 November 2014, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) dismissed an action against Vente-privee.com (“Vente-Privee”), a French “online sales” (or “online private sales”) site, opened following a complaint from competing e-commerce company, BrandAlley, regarding the alleged imposition of abusive exclusivity clauses in its contracts with its suppliers. Vente-privee.com offers products from multiple  brands to a … Continue Reading

Asics’ German online distribution structure may land in a different place to Adidas

In early 2013, the German competition authority (Bundeskartellamt) opened investigations into the German online distribution systems of sporting goods manufacturers Adidas and Asics.  Both companies operate selective distribution systems, and the Bundeskartellamt took the preliminary view that both companies were imposing on their distributors restrictions regarding online sales that went beyond what was justifiable to … Continue Reading

UK Competition Authority drops investigation into DB Apparel and retailers’ price-fixing allegations

On 13 June 2014, the Competition and Markets Authority (the “CMA”), the Office of Fair Trading’s successor, closed its investigation into allegations of illegal pricing agreements between sports bra manufacturer DB Apparel and three UK department stores.  Having carefully reviewed the evidence in the case, including the representations of the parties concerned, the CMA decided … Continue Reading

Successor liability for competition fines in cases of corporate restructuring confirmed by Higher Regional Court in Germany

In 2009, the Bundeskartellamt (FCO) imposed fines of approx. 159.5 million euros on three coffee roasters – Tchibo GmbH, Hamburg, Melitta Kaffee GmbH, Bremen, and Alois Dallmayr Kaffee oHG, Munich – and on six employees for price fixing.  The FCO found that in the period between early 2000 and mid 2008 the coffee roasters had … Continue Reading

Swiss court refuses to scrub toothpaste fine for import bans

Prices of branded goods in Switzerland have historically been higher than in neighboring countries.  As a result, measures that impede parallel imports into Switzerland have long been seen as preventing Swiss customers from purchasing cheaper products from the European Union (EU), and have triggered complaints to the Swiss competition authority (ComCo).  ComCo has actively investigated … Continue Reading

Closing a deal without competition clearance may be expensive

This is the message that the French Competition Authority (FCA) reinforced when it imposed a €4 million fine on Bordeaux-based wine maker Castel Frères group in December 2013 for failing to obtain pre-closing clearance for its acquisition of 6 companies that were part of the rival Patriarche group in 2011. The FCA became aware of … Continue Reading

Italian competition watchdog flexes its muscles against RPM and parallel trade

The Italian Competition Authority (ICA) may be ramping up its enforcement activities regarding branded goods distribution.  On November 26, 2013, it announced that it was launching an investigation into sport nutrition company Enervit’s distribution network.  The ICA alleges that certain arrangements between Enervit and its distributors may be anti-competitive, in particular: Resale Price Maintenance (RPM).  … Continue Reading

No general luxury exemption for internet restraints in selective distribution

Brand owners’ policies on internet distribution continue to sit squarely in the sights of competition authorities in the European Union.  Brand owners’ selective distribution policies that in effect prevent authorized retailers from selling via the internet are of particular interest. The French Supreme Court’s hard line approach in its September 2013 Pierre Fabre Dermo-cosmétique ruling … Continue Reading

Swiss competition commission closes antitrust investigation into cosmetic products distribution

On 21 October 2013, the Swiss competition authority (WEKO) decided to close its antitrust probe into the distribution of cosmetic products through beauty institutes.  In the course of its investigation, the competition authority identified a number of vertical restraints in the distribution agreements concluded between the manufacturers of the cosmetic products and the beauty institutes … Continue Reading

Germany: No dual pricing between online and off-line dealers

On 28 November 2013, the German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) announced that Gardena, a German-based manufacturer of gardening tools, had made a commitment to not discriminate between online and off-line dealers in its rebate policy. The FCO opened a case against Gardena after receiving complaints from Gardena’s online dealers alleging that its new rebate system … Continue Reading

Fashion label fined after TV broadcast alleges resale price maintenance – yet another RPM case from Denmark

So far this year Miele, SH White Goods and Unilever have fallen foul of Denmark’s Competition and Consumer Authority’s (“DCCA”) enforcement efforts against retail price maintenance (RPM).  On October 30, 2013, fashion brand Vila joined them.  Vila and the DCCA reached a DKK 1.6 million settlement after finding that Vila infringed Section 6 of the Danish … Continue Reading

The Jewelry Cartel – An illustration of China’s Activism against Resale Price Maintenance

In August 2013, China’s top economic planner, the National Development and Reform Commission (“NDRC”), fined five domestic jewelers and a trade association after finding that they had fixed prices for their gold and platinum products. According to the NDRC, the Shanghai Gold and Jewelry Trade Association (“the Trade Association”) and some of its main members … Continue Reading

Retail pricing of luxury goods remains a fashionable target for EU competition regulators

As previously reported, scrutiny of retail pricing in the luxury industry continues to be a priority for European competition authorities.  In addition to ongoing investigations of retail pricing of sportswear apparel in Denmark and luxury watches in Poland, the German competition authority (FCO) recently imposed  €6.5 million fines on natural cosmetics maker WALA and two … Continue Reading

IP rights enforcement at the EU border: Customs detained €1 billion worth of fake goods in 2012

The import of counterfeit goods into Europe continues to be a major concern for both brands and consumers. The EU Commission’s annual report on customs actions to enforce IP rights states that EU Customs detained almost 40 million products suspected of violating IP rights in 2012. The figure is lower than in 2011, but the … Continue Reading

Luxury watch pricing under Polish antitrust watchdog’s microscope

Scrutiny of retail pricing of luxury goods appears to continue to be a priority of European competition authorities.  The latest example is the Polish Competition Authority’s ongoing probe into the luxury watch sector. The probe became public through dawn raids, and targets three Polish importers of branded watches: The Swatch Group Poland; Przedsiębiorstwo Handlowo–Usługowe Jubiler; … Continue Reading
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