On 16 December 2013, the Bosnian Competition Council issued a decision finding that the company IKO Balkan, registered in Romania, abused its dominant position on the relevant market in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The violations established by the Council concerned the conditions under which IKO Balkan offered its channel Sport Klub, which exclusively broadcasts the English Premier League (EPL) in Bosnia, to cable operators in the country. The Council imposed a fine on IKO Balkan in the amount of BAM 125,000 (approx. EUR 64,000).
Agency for financial, IT and intermediary services from Sarajevo fined for abuse of dominance 24 Feb 2014 | Igor Nikolić
The Competition Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina on 16th December 2013 fined the Agency for financial, IT and intermediary services (AFIP) for abuse of dominant position on the relevant market of the provision of financial, IT and intermediary services in the territory of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The proceedings were initiated upon request of the company “LRC Inženjering” from Sarajevo due to AFIP’s refusal to enter into a business cooperation agreement with LRC Inženjering, which, according to the company, excluded LRC Inženjering from the market and placed it at a competitive disadvantage.
Last Saturday (1 February) the internet was flooded with user-generated content ridiculing, in real time, the actions of the Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić. Vučić visited a site in the north of Serbia where hundreds of motorists and their passengers were stuck in a snow storm, joining the armed forces in the efforts to evacuate them. Many saw Vučić’s actions as a public relations exercise undertaken with an eye on the parliamentary elections scheduled for mid-March.
On 25 December 2013, the Serbian Commission for Protection of Competition conditionally approved the takeover of the leading Slovenian commercial chain Mercator by Agrokor, the largest privately owned Croatian company. Through their respective subsidiaries, both Mercator and Agrokor are active in Serbia on the market of wholesale and retail of FMCG, while Agrokor is also active in the production of food and drinks. The core market of both companies is retail. Based on the respective turnovers generated in 2012, Mercator and Idea (Agrokor’s retail company in Serbia) were the second and third largest retailers in Serbia, respectively.
On 20 November 2013, the Bosnian Competition Council issued a decision establishing that the Serbian brewery “Apatinska” abused its dominant position on the relevant market of beer distribution in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Council imposed a fine on the brewery in the amount of BAM 430,000 (EUR 215,000).
This is the second time in a little over a year that the Bosnian competition authority has handed Apatinska a fine for infringement of competition rules. On 4 September 2012, the Council rendered a decision fining the brewery with BAM 265,000 (EUR 135,000).
Strauss Adriatic doo, proprietor of the famous mark “Doncafe”, sued a defendant who had distributed coffee cups to which it affixed the mark. The Commercial Court in Belgrade found that the defendant took unfair advantage of the reputation of the mark owned by Strauss Adriatic doo, damaged the mark’s distinctive character, and damaged its reputation (judgment of 15 October 2013, Strauss Adriatic doo v. Yao Fa doo, Case no. 41 P 5082/2013). The court also determined that consumers of the cups would be “misled”, which in the context probably means that, according to the Court, the defendant was responsible for creating a likelihood of confusion.
New amendments to the Decree on Rules for Granting of State Aid (“State Aid Decree”) came into force on 14 November 2013. The changes pertain to the rules on de minimis state aid and state aid in the form of compensation for services of general economic interest.
Amendments to the Serbian Law on Protection of Competition were published in the Official Gazette on 31 October 2013 and will come into force on 8 November 2013. The adopted amendments to a large extent follow solutions from the draft which the Government submitted to the Parliament back in July this year. We devoted two earlier blog posts to various drafts of the amendments (apart from the Government’s July draft, we also analyzed the initial draft published in April). Now that the amendments have ripened into law, it is worth providing an overview of the most important changes to the competition legislation.
Photographs and the current events exception in Serbian copyright law 31 Oct 2013 | Bogdan Ivanišević
The High Court in Belgrade and the Appellate Court in the same city have issued a few decisions in 2013 rejecting arguments by the defendants that their use of photographs, without the authorization of the copyright owner, was lawful because the photos were used within the context of reporting about current events. While the outcome in each case was identical, the judgments differ in the interpretation of the law. A reader is left unsure as to what the Serbian copyright law actually says about the current events exception to copyright infringement.
On September 13-14 2013, Florence was the venue of the 17th Annual Competition Conference organized by the International Bar Association (IBA). More than 180 lawyers and economists attended, from 41 countries around the globe. This year’s focus was on ways in which competition authorities can protect and promote innovation, legal evaluation of different pricing strategies, and developments in the areas of antitrust investigations and damages actions.
State aid continues? The case of Simpo. 10 Sep 2013 | Dragan Gajin
Back in April this year, we wrote about State aid issues surrounding the Government’s support to Fiat. The Serbian Government is once again aiding domestic producers – this time assistance has been provided to the company Simpo, the largest furniture manufacturer in Serbia.
SOKOJ wins court battle against “Exit” 31 Jul 2013 | Bogdan Ivanišević
This year’s Exit festival, a major event on Europe’s musical scene, which traditionally takes place in Novi Sad (Serbia), ended on 14 July. It is worth taking a look into legal squabbles the festival has lately had with the Serbian collecting societies. It turns out that at least one such dispute ended recently, and that Exit’s opponent in the court had the upper hand.
On 16 July 2013, the Government of Serbia submitted to the Parliament its proposal of the amendments to the Law on Protection of Competition. We wrote on this blog on the first draft proposal of the amendments, published in April 2013. The bill that reached the Parliament contains some notable modifications to the initial draft.
Merger control in Montenegro 24 Jul 2013 | Igor Nikolić
At the end of April 2013, a new set of bylaws elaborating provisions of the Law on Protection of Competition came into force. This, to a certain extent, rounds up the legal framework available to one of the youngest independent agencies for protection of competition in Europe – the Montenegrin Agency for Protection of Competition was established under the Law on Protection of Competition of 2012, and became operational at the beginning of 2013.
This post looks at the novelties introduced with respect to the content of the application for concentration approval.
Standing to sue for annulment of decision on individual exemption belongs only to parties to proceedings before Commission 24 Jun 2013 | Dragan Gajin
The Serbian Supreme Court of Cassation addressed in its decision dated 14 February 2013 the issue of standing to challenge decisions on individual exemption of restrictive agreements from prohibition granted by the Serbian Commission for Protection of Competition. The non-confidential version of the judgment was published in May on the court’s website. In the judgment, the court took a narrow view on standing, limiting the standing to sue to the parties to the exempted agreement.