Modernising the Law on Abuse of Market Power: Report for the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (Germany)
11 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2018
Date Written: September 17, 2018
Digitization has transformed – and continues to transform – the economy. Among the characteristic features of digitization are the increasing importance of (a) data as a critical input resource in production and distribution processes and of (b) digital platforms as new players in the markets. The changes in the structure of markets – some of which have become highly concentrated – and in business strategies raise the question whether EU competition law and German competition law are able to deal with the new challenges of the digital economy. Our report for the German Economic Ministry looks at whether a modernization of the (European and German) rules on the abuse of market power is needed. For this purpose, we look at Article 102 TFEU and their (rough) equivalents in German competition law, namely in §§ 18, 19 GWB. In addition, we pay particular attention to the question of whether § 20 GWB – a specificity of German competition law which prohibits exclusionary abuses of relative market power (§ 20 para. 1 – “economic dependence”) and superior market power vis-à-vis small and medium sized competitors (§ 20 para. 3) – can become an effective instrument for closing persisting gaps in controlling abusive behaviour in view of the special challenges facing the digital economy.
Keywords: competition law, market power, abuse, dominance, relative market power, superior market power, merger control, digital economy, platform economy, siec, tipping, oligopoly, conglomerate, information intermediaries, data access
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