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Blockchain and Competition – TULPULE – June 2018 OECD discussion

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This presentation by Ajinkya M Tulpule, Senior Legal Counsel, Ferrero, was made during the discussion “Blockchain and Competition” held at the 129th meeting of the OECD Competition Committee on 8 June 2018. More papers and presentations on the topic can be found out at oe.cd/2gx.

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Blockchain and Competition – TULPULE – June 2018 OECD discussion

  1. 1. Antitrust Enforcement & Compliance in a Blockchain(ed) World Ajinkya M Tulpule 8 June 2018 Credit:Getty Images
  2. 2. 2 It is not the type of evidence that is decisive. It is the solidity of the evidence that counts. - Laitenberger, December 2017 “Need more information” - almost every case team
  3. 3. Importance of Data • Competition matters are fact intensive and involve: ocollecting data, oanalyzing data, and odrawing inferences from data. • Right data at the right time • Vigour v Rigour (Laitenberger) 3 &
  4. 4. Utility in Enforcement
  5. 5. Key Elements • Faster information gathering and better target datasets • More informed, robust and accurate competition assessment • Granularity coupled with reliability • Resolving information asymmetry 5
  6. 6. Faster Procedures & Decisions? 6 Time span between beginning of investigation and decision (2000-2011) Hüschelrath, Laitenberger & Smuda (2013) • Cases where cartels were detected before termination took 20 months longer on average • Cases with a chief witness were shorter by 9.71 months on average • More collaboration had a positive (but insignificant) effect on duration
  7. 7. Better Information & Analysis Imperial Tobacco (2010) • OFT evidence was limited to one expert report, some key correspondence, corporate leniency statements and one witness statement • ITL’s evidence included empirical analysis based on 36 million price data points, 12 witness statements and several expert reports. • Empirical evidence helped prove lower price increases during the cartel period than afterwards Olympic/Aegean Airlines (2011) • Poor quality, incomplete and/or inaccurate market data available from Parties • Ferry operators’ database are not as developed as the sophisticated systems/ databases used by airlines • Decision states three preconditions for data: o All necessary data must be available to implement the chosen empirical methodology and the available data must be of adequate quality o data needs to be a good indicator of the likely impact on future competition, and o sufficient variability in the data to identify references for comparison. 7
  8. 8. More Complex Theories of Harm Tetra Laval (2005) • “[where] the claims of cause and effect are dimly discernible, uncertain and difficult to establish…the quality of the evidence…is particularly important.” • Evidence required to show existence of an infringement should be directly proportional to complexity of the proposed theory of harm. US, China and Europe • Merger control is experiencing longer investigations driven by more complex theories of harm • Merger decisions took on average 50% to 90% longer between 2011 and 2017 Singapore, Indonesia and India • Emerging competition regimes are taking on more complex and sophisticated theories of harm
  9. 9. Monitoring Commitments & Undertakings Microsoft (2013) • Did not offer a “choice screen” allowing consumers “to choose in an informed and unbiased manner which web browser(s) they wanted to install.” • Penalty of €561 million Bosch / IpCom (2009) • Standard Essential Patents for GSM and WCDMA standards • Committments to granting irrevocable licenses on FRAND basis • Commission engaged IPCom more than two years after transfer of patents Several countries are adding undertakings and binding commitments to their arsenal (New Zealand) 9
  10. 10. Other Possibilities • Market Definition? • Presumptions? • Leniency Applications? • Live data feed? 10
  11. 11. Utility in Compliance
  12. 12. Key Elements & Examples • Pricing Control across jurisdictions • Trade Associations: Information gathering and aggregation without direct involvement • Reduced time/costs for responding to RFIs (?) 12
  13. 13. Key Elements & Examples • Compliance Programs: Governance and Control • Live Monitoring of market shares • Deeper engagement of In-House Counsel 13
  14. 14. Concluding Remarks
  15. 15. Summary • Harder • Better • Faster • Stronger 15 and More Complex Theories of Harm Information Gathering & Analysis Internal Procedures & Decision Making Compliance Protocols
  16. 16. A Road Not Easy 16 • Several hurdles to be crossed: ‒ Nascent Technology ‒ Various procedural issues (rules of evidence) ‒ Reliability of Permissioned Blockchains ‒ Impact on private competition enforcement?

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