Competition

contrast has extensive experience representing clients in competition and EU law matters before the EU and national competition authorities and courts. 

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contrast has one of the most experienced independent competition and EU law teams in Brussels.

Our team is highly recommended by leading independent legal directories, such as Chambers and Partners, The Legal 500, Global Competition Review and PLC Which Lawyer, who describe it as having an impressive record, an outstanding level of competition law expertise and an ability to handle the most diverse competition and EU law matters.

Our team is regularly called upon to assist other lawyers seeking independent and specialized competition and EU law advice, and it has particular expertise in competition and EU law litigation.

Members of our team assisted the European Commission, the Kingdom of Belgium, the Belgian Competition Authority, as well as private (leniency) applicants, complainants, defendants and intervening parties in many cases, including interim measures cases, before the EU and national competition authorities and courts.

One of team's partners, Filip Tuytschaever, is professor EU Competition Law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Brussels (VUB). Several of our team members served as an intern in the Directorate General for Competition and the Legal Service of the European Commission.

Restrictive practices

Our Competition & EU team has extensive experience in the field of restrictive practices and is specialized in developing tailor-made competition law compliance programs for its clients (private companies and trade associations). It conducts in-house training sessions on competition law developments on a very regular basis.

We have specialized expertise in various sectors, including the automotive, retail and petroleum sectors, as well as in the sectors of construction, sport, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, consumer products (white and brown goods), the food industry, and service industries such as the airlines and travel businesses.

Horizontal agreements

Our Competition & EU team drafts and advises on the competition law implications of horizontal cooperation agreements, including joint venture agreements, specialization agreements, production, purchasing and commercialization agreements, R&D agreements, environmental agreements, including waste management agreements, and standardization agreements. 

We assist companies and several EU and nationale trade associations in the structuring of their information exchanges and access to competitor information in line with competition law requirements. 

contrast has an outstanding level of competition law expertise and the ability to handle the most diverse issues, and is recommended for its high level of partner involvement.

Legal 500

Vertical agreements

Our Competition & EU team has particular expertise in the field of distribution law in general and motor vehicle distribution in particular.

Our team is the driver of the Distribution Law Center, the go-to knowledge platform for distribution law, gathering contributors from 27 jurisdictions and offering a unique single point of contact for distribution law legislation and case law developments, and specialized advice for our clients throughout the EU and the UK. 

We assist clients on questions relating to their distribution strategy and advise on the deployment and restructuring of distribution networks. contrast has extensive experience in setting up customized multi-jurisdictional exclusive, non-exclusive and selective distribution networks, as well as franchising and agency. We handle all distribution law-related litigation and have successfully dealt with several prominent cases involving the specific Belgian legislation on the termination of exclusive distributors.

Our team has published widely on the topic of distribution law and the block exemption regulation on vertical restraints and on motor vehicle distribution. Filip Tuytschaever is co-author of ‘Vertical Agreements in EU Competition Law’ (Oxford University Press). Now in its third edition, this book has become a reference work since it was first published in 2006. The book is the centrepiece of a pan-European publication project: national editions are published in the local languages in most of the EU Member States. The national editions contain a condensed version of the OUP book, together with an additional chapter with the competition and business law practice on vertical in the jurisdiction concerned.

Cartels and abuse of dominant position

The experience of our Competition & EU team encompasses all stages of Belgian and EU competition law proceedings: complaints and, for cartels, multi-jurisdictional leniency applications, dawn raid assistance, written proceedings, requests for interim measures, oral hearings and appeals.

We represented the European Commission before the EU courts in the Elevators and Escalators and in Dutch Bitumen. At the EU level, we acted in Acrylic Glass and International Movers, the investigation into the commercial vehicles sector (Trucks) and into end-of-life vehicles. 

At the Belgian level, we represented clients in Steel Plate Radiators, BSE Tests, the investigation into travel agents and into the food retail sector (confectionary and cosmetics), and Lead Surcharge. Our Competition & EU team represents the Belgian Competition Authority before the Brussels Market Court in Tobacco Manufacturers. We have particular expertise in interim measures cases before the Belgian Competition Authority. 

Filip Tuytschaever acted as the competition law expert of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) against the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). 

Merger control

Our Competition & EU team advises and represents clients in the most diverse industries regarding all competition law related aspects of their mergers and acquisitions.

We regularly perform a multi-jurisdictional merger control analysis of transactions at an early stage, to determine whether merger control clearance will be a condition precedent to closing and whether merger control may present a risk for deal certainty.

We act as a single point of contact to notify transactions with the European Commission or the Belgian Competition Authority and to co-ordinate multi-jurisdictional notifications in- and outside the EU.

Our experience includes acquisitions of control and the creation of full function joint ventures, where we often act as joint counsel to the joint venture partners.

Throughout the M&A process, we collaborate closely with our clients’ M&A teams and external corporate advisors to ensure that the transaction documents do not infringe the standstill obligation or the prohibition to enter into restrictive agreements. Where relevant, we ensure that adequate language is included to govern the rights and obligations in the event of remedies discussions.

We set up appropriate clean team arrangements in the due diligence process and assist in scoping permissible preparation and planning of the envisaged transactions. We have extensive experience with remedies proceedings, including the implementation of remedies under the auspices of a monitoring trustee.

State aid

The Competition & EU team represents private clients and public authorities, including governmental agencies, in State aid cases before the national courts, the European Commission and the EU courts. 

We handle all related litigation, including appeals before the EU courts (on issues such as the concept of State aid and the measurement of the aid intensity), as well as litigation aimed at the private enforcement of the State aid rules before the national courts. 

The lawyers have a practical touch and put things into context, boiling down theory into guidance that can be windely applied.

Chambers Europe

EU Law

The Competition & EU team assists clients on EU internal market legislation and its implementation by the EU Member States. Our EU regulatory experience covers all aspects of the internal market, including its external dimension.

We advise clients on many internal market issues relating to the free movement of goods, to product safety requirements under the new approach directives (machinery, electrical equipment, PPE) and the construction products regulation, to consumer protection, labeling and product documentation, CE marking, harmonized standards (CEN, CENELEC), European Assessment Documents and European Technical Approvals (EOTA) and environmental legislation (RoHS, WEEE).

We successfully represented clients in administrative proceedings concerning corrective actions, including product recalls, in several EU Member States.

We have expertise in EU customs law, particularly on import-related matters, and assisted the European Commission in an important number of customs law cases (tariff classification, remission of customs duties) before the EU Courts. 

Competition & EU law litigation

Our Competition & EU team is very active in the field of competition and EU law litigation.

Filip Tuytschaever has acted in more than 50 cases before the EU Courts, representing private parties as appellants or intervening parties, as well as the European Commission, the Kingdom of Belgium and the European Banking Authority in annulment actions and preliminary ruling cases.

Our Competition & EU team is systematically active in competition and EU law cases before the Belgian Competition Authority and the Belgian courts, where we have represented both the European Commission and the Belgian Competition Authority. 

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