EUROPEAN COMPETITION LAW
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati's Brussels office assists businesses with their most important, bet-the-company competition and privacy law matters. As part of an integrated global antitrust practice that is recognized among the world's best, our European competition team regularly represents clients in matters before the European Commission, as well as the national competition authorities and courts in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
The firm's European competition partners—all of whom are recognized in the International Who's Who of Competition Lawyers—have a combination of high-level government and distinguished private practice experience, offering clients the full range of competition law services at the EU level and in the major Member States. Our network of long-established relationships in other jurisdictions allows us to coordinate all aspects of our clients' competition law needs.
The Brussels-based competition lawyers—who have diverse educational and cultural backgrounds from eight different nationalities at present—have advised on some of the most complex cross-border transactions and investigations, representing clients as diverse as Air France-KLM, Alcoa, Caterpillar, Chevron, Delta Air Lines, Glencore, K+S Aktiengesellschaft, KKR, Live Nation, and Mylan on the full spectrum of competition law issues, including the following:
Our European competition team members, who work closely with their U.S. colleagues on parallel merger control reviews carried out by the European and the U.S. antitrust agencies, have significant experience advising clients under the EU Merger Regulation and the national merger control regimes in Europe's major jurisdictions. In addition to advising parties to the transaction, we counsel third parties such as complainants in merger reviews.
Our attorneys have extensive experience advising clients at all stages of administrative proceedings in cartel investigations (assisting clients with internal audits, dawn raids, and investigations through the preparation of leniency applications, the reply to the Statement of Objections, and the oral hearing) until the adoption of a decision, and thereafter in the preparation of litigation and appearance at court. We also advise third parties such as trade associations and customers of alleged cartels with respect to cartel investigations.
Horizontal and Vertical Agreements
Our Brussels-based lawyers regularly counsel clients on the application of Article 101 TFEU to complex horizontal and vertical commercial agreements, including joint ventures, strategic alliances, distribution and licensing agreements, joint marketing agreements, and research and development agreements. They also assist in the preparation of self-assessments and advise on the operation of information exchange systems between competitors.
Abuse of Dominance
The firm's European competition practice has cutting-edge expertise in unilateral conduct issues under Article 102 TFEU. Our services have included counseling corporations that may be found to hold a dominant market position, defending targets of investigations by competition authorities, and representing complainants in such investigations. Furthermore, we frequently provide counseling in relation to potential Article 102 issues such as the design and implementation of compliant rebate schemes.
In light of the ongoing economic crisis in the European Union, state aid has become increasingly important. Our Brussels office assists clients with all aspects of their state aid issues. For example, in the past, our attorneys have advised a major bank in relation to its successful application for aid from the German government's rescue package for financial institutions. We also regularly advise clients (including third parties) on strategic state aid questions.
National Competition Laws
An integral feature of our European competition law capability is the firm's role as an advisor on matters subject to review by the national competition authorities of France, Germany, and the UK. Furthermore, our attorneys coordinate the provision of competition law advice in other jurisdictions in cooperation with experienced local counsel, serving as sole client contacts and thereby offering a "one-stop shop" in major international transactions and investigations.
WSGR's strength in competition litigation rests on a sophisticated understanding of our clients' businesses and technologies and our ability to execute creative and aggressive responses to the challenges faced by public and private companies. In addition to a successful track record in national civil law actions brought in the major Member States, our attorneys have significant experience in EU competition law cases litigated before the European courts in Luxemburg.