HomeExpertiseCompetition 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 and politically charged.

Our specialists are at the forefront of developments, and we are perfectly situated to help you and your organisation navigate the challenges that arise with confidence; delivering critical support and insights for your business. We’re focused on getting the best result for you, including in the most challenging and complex matters.

Using our in-depth legal and sector knowledge and first-hand experience of regulators, courts and policy-makers, we identify commercial solutions to competition problems to help you realise your strategic objectives. You can count on us to deliver clear, pragmatic and business-focused advice and assistance that’s individually tailored to your specific circumstances.

Our lawyers are experienced across the full range of EU and UK competition law issues. Our team also has extensive experience of the interface of competition law and sector-specific regulation, particularly telecommunications. Collette was previously the Senior Reféréndaire at the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal and worked on cases involving competition or economic regulatory issues, including termination charge and price control appeals.

Compliance, Investigations & Competition Litigation

Enforcement continues to increase. Failure to comply with competition rules can have serious implications for organisations and in certain jurisdictions, such as the UK, individuals.

Key clauses in your commercial agreements, or the agreements themselves, may be void and unenforceable. Severe financial penalties – up to 10% of annual group turnover – may be imposed and there is increased exposure to damages claims from injured parties in UK and across the EU.

Competition investigations divert resources away from your business activities and damage your reputation in the market. We work with you to identify and manage risk in a commercial way that right for your business. We devise bespoke compliance policies, as well as tailor-made training and e-learning programmes. We can also provide on-site simulation exercises – mock ‘dawn raids’ and carry out compliance reviews and internal audits.

Where problems do arise our specialist team can help your business handle the situation effectively. We have significant experience in managing dawn raids, filing leniency applications; responding to information requests and statements of objection, our specialist advisers are there to support you every step of the way.

We have been involved in a number of high-profile investigations in the UK and the EU, representing complainants or defendants, and we have experience in managing multi-jurisdictional investigations. We select our partners (economists, technical experts and local counsel) carefully on a case-by-case basis taking account of your specific needs. We have a track-record of achieving successful outcomes, including challenging competition and regulatory decisions before national and EU courts. We also have experience in bringing and defending damages actions. Our lawyers were involved in some of the first private enforcement actions and our Commercial Litigation team are experienced in handling competition claims.

Competition authorities and sectoral regulators are increasingly focusing their attention on and using their powers to address perceived market failings across sectors. Our experience of UK Market Studies and Investigations (the pay-TV market investigation) and EU Sector Inquires (e.g., the pharmaceutical and e-commerce inquiries) means that we are well-equipped to help you to navigate the process and to understand the potential implications for your business of ongoing and future sector initiatives. We can also advise you on the potential ramifications of the European Commission’s proposal for a New Competition Tool from a policy and commercial perspective.

 Transactions & Practices

Whether you are looking for advice and support on a merger, joint venture, collaboration, or other strategic alliance, our sector expertise gives us a clear understanding of the markets in which you are active and the commercial rational driving your business strategies, so we can help you avoid regulatory pitfalls and competition law challenges. We have advised on a variety of competitor collaborations, including joint purchasing arrangements and industry-wide initiatives for example those related to online content protection.

Our competition specialists advise on all aspects of EU and national merger control and can manage your multi-jurisdictional filings. We will work closely with you to devise a notification strategy that best fits your commercial and operational needs.

At Wiggin we recognise that your brand is your currency and is essential to maintaining and building your reputation. We are passionate about protecting your brand especially in the online environment. Advances in technology and an increased focus on e-commerce has led to a proliferation of online marketplaces and distribution channels, including e-tailers and discounters. Working seamlessly with the IP Team, our competition specialists will help devise and implement a competition-compliant distribution strategy that’s right for you. Brand owners are becoming more discerning about who is sells their products online and where. This goes to the very heart of why Wiggin established Incopro – its technology ensures that your consumers can trust online interactions with your brand.

In addition to exclusive and sole distribution arrangements, luxury brands are increasingly looking at selective distribution as a means of controlling how their products are marketed and sold in the EU in order to maintain their brand image and ensuring a quality online sales environment. Restrictions on online resellers, including so-called marketplace bans, can give rise to competition issues. Our team can advise you on what is and is not permissible in this regard.

Our competition specialists advise on all aspects of EU and national merger control and can manage your multi-jurisdictional filings. We will work closely with you to devise a notification strategy that best fits your commercial and operational needs.

At Wiggin we recognise that your brand is your currency and is essential to maintaining and building your reputation. We are passionate about protecting your brand especially in the online environment. Advances in technology and an increased focus on e-commerce has led to a proliferation of online marketplaces and distribution channels, including e-tailers and discounters. Working seamlessly with the IP Team, our competition specialists will help devise and implement a competition-compliant distribution strategy that’s right for you. Brand owners are becoming more discerning about who is sells their products online and where. This goes to the very heart of why Wiggin established Incopro – its technology ensures that your consumers can trust online interactions with your brand.

In addition to exclusive and sole distribution arrangements, luxury brands are increasingly looking at selective distribution as a means of controlling how their products are marketed and sold in the EU in order to maintain their brand image and ensuring a quality online sales environment. Restrictions on online resellers, including so-called marketplace bans, can give rise to competition issues. Our team can advise you on what is and is not permissible in this regard.

The Competition Law & IP Interface

Although there is a significant overlap between competition policy and intellectual property law in terms of promoting innovation and encouraging investment and economic growth, conflicts can often arise as IP confers rights of exclusive use and exploitation in order to reward innovators and incentivise future investment. There has been proliferation of investigations and litigation concerning the intersection of intellectual property rights and competition law in recent years, which looks set to continue due to increasing prominence of the digital economy.

Our team has been involved in some of the leading cases concerning the competition law and IP interface and is known for developing innovative and pragmatic solutions to the complex legal challenges that arise in this context. We advised on both the competition and copyright aspects of the seminal cases concerning territorial licensing and cross-border access to copyright-protected content. We successfully defended a leading technology company against a complaint alleging that a patent transaction infringed EU competition law and members of our team were also involved in the European Commission’s investigation of conduct relating to the enforcement of SEPs.

Our experience and multi-disciplinary expertise mean that we can help you in matters concerning the assertion of IP rights and injunctive relief applications in respect of FRAND-encumbered SEPs and advise you on competition issues arising IP and technology licenses, patent and ‘pay for delay’ settlements and other practices.

Our considerable experience of advising on matters involving the application of competition law to the exclusive territorial licensing of copyright content and on the application of EU competition law and policy and contractual freedom under the new SatCab Directive means that we ideally situated to help you with complex cross-border issues and questions concerning geo-blocking.

State Aid

State aid can occur whenever state resources are used to provide assistance that gives organisations an advantage over others. State aid rules apply in a variety of situations. This can include the investment of public funds in new infrastructure, to provide incentives to businesses, to establish schemes to stimulate growth in a specific sector or region.

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 any post-Brexit UK regime. We are known for our innovative solutions and our commercial approach – we use are State aid expertise to help you realise your strategic objectives. Equally, if you are concerned about your competitors having benefitted from unlawful or misused aid, we can guide you through the complaint-procedure. We have successfully challenged illegal grants of aid.