Relevant Market - Digital Challenges
Keywords:Competition, Relevant Market, Digitalisation, Digital Platforms, Zero Price Market, Test for Market Definition, European Competition Law
Market definition is a specific and important tool used in European competition enforcement practice to identify boundaries of competition between undertakings; it is used both in antitrust and merger cases. The EU Market Definition Notice was adopted in 1997 in conditions of conventional markets with relatively stable market structures. With respect to recent development, especially digitalisation and globalisation of economy, the Commission launched the process of evaluation of the Notice in March 2020, and the revised notice has to be published in Q3 2023. Having in mind profound changes challenging various aspects of the original market definition, the article lists at first the most important features of digital economy, especially importance of innovation conditioning rapid changes of the market. Regarding the fact that the main principles of market definition were confirmed as sound until now, the short characteristics of the relevant market follow. The core part of the article aims to present and discuss different approaches to market definition, methods of market assessment included, taking into account the corresponding case law and legal writings reflecting digital circumstances making markets interconnected like never before. The article confronts also sometimes differing opinions of theory and practice in approach to market definition. Analysis is carried out with the ambition to find out whether it is possible – based on case specific approach of competition authorities – to draw general conclusions necessary for coherent conception of the revised market definition, or at least unifying recommendations for the legal practice for the sake of legal certainty. Outcomes of the analysis are summarised in the conclusion, in context with the draft market definition notice.
Approach to Market Definition in a Digital Platform Environment. In: Digital Regulation Platform, published on 26. August 2020. Available at: https://digitalregulation.org/approach-to-market-definition-in-a-digital-platform-environment/ (accessed on 15.06.2023).
Crémer, J., de Montjoye, Y. and A., Schweitzer, H. (2019). Competition Policy for the Digital Era. Luxembourg: Publication Office of the European Union, 2019. Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/competition/publications/reports/kd0419345enn.pdf (accessed on 15.06.2023).
European Commission, Directorate-General for Competition (2021). Support study accompanying the evaluation of the Commission Notice on the Definition of Relevant Market for the purposes of Community competition law. Luxembourg: Luxembourg Publication Office of the European Union. Available at: https://competition-policy.ec.europa.eu/system/files/2021-06/kd0221712enn_market_definition_notice_2021_1.pdf (accessed on 15.06.2023).
Evans, D. S. and Noel, M. D. (2005). Defining Antitrust Markets When Firms Operate Two Sided Platforms. Columbia Business Law Review, 3, 101-134. DOI: https://doi.org/10.7916/cblr.v2005i3.3011
Evans, D. S. (2003). The Antitrust Economics of Multi-Sided Platform Markets. Yale Journal on Regulation, 20(2), 325-381. Available at: https://openyls.law.yale.edu/handle/20.500.13051/8032 (accessed on 15.06.2023).
Evans, D. S. (2020). The Economics of Attention Markets. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3044858 (accessed on 15.06.2023).
Filistrucchi, L., Geradin, D. van Damme, E. and Affeldt, P. (2013). Market Definition in Two-Sided Markets: Theory and Practice. TILEC Discussion Paper No. 2013-009; Tilburg Law School Research Paper No. 09/2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2240850 (accessed on 15.06.2023).
Jones, A., and Sufrin, B. (2016). EU Competition Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Mandrescu, D. (2022). The draft notice on market definition and multisided (digital) Platforms – avoiding rather than resolving some of the main challenges. In: Lexxion: The Legal Publisher, published on 7 December 2022. Available at: https://www.lexxion.eu/en/coreblogpost/the-draft-notice-on-market-definition-and-multisided-digital-platforms-avoiding-rather-than-resolving-some-of-the-main-challenges/ (accessed on 15.06.2023).
Newman, J. M. (2016). Antitrust in Zero-Price Markets: Applications. Washington University Law Review, 94(1), 49-111. Available at: https://openscholarship.wustl.edu/law_lawreview/vol94/iss1/5 (accessed on 15.06.2023).
Newman, J. M. (2020). Antitrust in Attention Markets: Definition, Power, Harm. University of Miami Legal Studies Research Paper No. 3745839. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3745839 (accessed on 15.06.2023).
OECD 2013. The Role and Measurement of Quality in Competition Analysis. Policy Roundtables. Paris OECD, 28 October 2013, DAF/COMP(2013)17. Available at: https://www.oecd.org/competition/Quality-in-competition-analysis-2013.pdf (accessed on 15.06.2023).
Oxenham Allen, S., Christensen, B., Conrad, J., Grimmer, N. and Pratt, J. (2020). Market Definition in the Digital Economy: Considerations for How to Properly Identify Relevant Markets. In: American Antitrust Institute, published on 17 June 2020. Available at: https://www.antitrustinstitute.org/work-product/market-definition-in-the-digital-economy-considerations-for-how-to-properly-identify-relevant-markets-2/ (accessed on 15.06.2023).
Patakyová, M. T. a kol. (2022). Zákon o ochrane hospodárskej súťaže. Komentár. Bratislava: Wolters Kluwer SR.
Patakyová, M. T. (2020). Competition Law in Digital Era. How to Define the Relevant Market? In: 4th International Scientific Conference – EMAN 2020 – Economics and Management: How to Cope With Disrupted Times, Online/Virtual, September 3, 2020, CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS, pp. 171-177. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31410/EMAN.2020.171
Robertson, V. (2017). Delineating Digital Markets under EU Competition Law: Challenging or Futile? The Competition Law Review, 12(2), 131-151.
Russo, F. and Stasi, M. L. (2016). Defining the Relevant Market in the Sharing Economy. Internet Policy Review, 5(2), 1-13. DOI: https://doi.org/10.14763/2016.2.418
Steiner, J. and Woods, L. (2009). EU Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Commission Decision of 19 December 2007 relating to a proceeding under Article 81 of the EC Treaty and Article 53 of the EEA Agreement (Case COMP/34.579 — MasterCard, Case COMP/36.518 — EuroCommerce, Case COMP/38.580 — Commercial Cards) (notified under document C(2007) 6474) (Text with EEA relevance), OJ C 264, 6.11.2009, pp. 8–11. Available at: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/ALL/?uri=CELEX%3A52009XC1106%2803%29 (accessed on 15.06.2023).
Commission Decision of 27 June 2017 relating to a proceeding under Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and Article 54 of the EEA Agreement (Case AT.39740 — Google Search (Shopping)), (notified under document number C(2017) 4444). Available at: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:52018XC0112(01)&from=EN (accessed on 15.06.2023).
Commission Notice on the definition of relevant market for the purposes of Community competition law. OJ C 372, 9.12.1997, pp. 5–13. Available at: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/ALL/?uri=celex%3A31997Y1209%2801%29 (accessed on 15.06.2023).
ECJ, judgement of 21 February 1973, Europemballage Corporation and Continental Can Co Inc v Commission of the European Communities, case 6/72, ECLI:EU:C:1973:22.
ECJ, judgement of 14 February 1978, United Brands Company and United Brands Continental BV v Commission of the European Communities (Chiquita Bananas), case 27/76. ECLI:EU:C:1978:22.
ECJ, judgement of 9 November 1983, NV Nederlandsche Banden Industrie Michelin v Commission of the European Communities, case C-322/81, ECLI:EU:C:1983:313.
CJEU, judgement of 10 November 2021, Google and Alphabet v Commission (Google Search Shopping), case T-612/17. ECCLI:EU:T:2021:763.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2023 Bratislava Law Review
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
The Author(s) transfers copyright to the Article to the Publisher of the Journal by the Licence Agreement.
The Author(s) retains rights specified in the Licence Agreement.
The readers may read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of all of the Article of the Journal and use them for any other lawful purpose under specified Creative Commons Licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).