Appeal brought by the Swedish Competition Authority dismissed by court

Appeal brought by the Swedish Competition Authority dismissed by court

November 30, 2017

Yesterday, on 29 November, the Patent and Market Court of Appeal gave its decision in an appeal case of the Swedish Competition Authority (SCA) vs. Alfa Quality Moving, active in the international moving and relocation industry. The court concluded that Alfa Quality Moving did not violate competition rules in relation to two mergers in 2002 and 2006.

The decision of the upper court is completely in line with the 16 May 2016 ruling by the Stockholm District Court.

The SCA had challenged the five-year non-compete clauses in the merger agreements, which they had found restrictive of competition by object and by effect. The lower court rejected the presence of any anti-competitive effects, mainly because the relevant geographic market was considerably larger than only comprising Sweden. Moreover, the clauses were not found to be by-object restrictions of competition.

In the upper court, the SCA dropped the claim of anti-competitive effects, but maintained their position regarding the by-object restriction, which, again, was dismissed. In a very clear statement, the upper court concludes that there is no fixed duration of an anti-competitive clause in a merger that can be considered to constitute a by-object restriction of competition. In other words, the duration has to be determined on a case-by-case basis.

In this case, Copenhagen Economics assisted Alfa Quality Moving with expert testimony regarding market definition and the proportionality of the challenged clauses.

Read the court’s decision (in Swedish) 

For further information, please contact Karl Lundvall