In January 2019 Parliament passed a comprehensive amendment to the Economic Competition Law 1988. Among other things, the amendment introduced an alternative definition of a 'monopoly' based on a market power test rather than market share and significantly increased the maximum cap for monetary administrative penalties which can be levied on corporations. To put the new rules into practice, the Israel Competition Authority recently published draft guidelines on both of these matters.
Parliament recently passed an amendment to the Economic Competition Law that represents its most significant overhaul since its enactment in 1988. The amendment covers nearly all of the law's substantial chapters and affects the regulation of restrictive arrangements, the merger control regime, the regulation of monopolies and criminal and administrative enforcement measures.
The Israel Competition Authority recently published amended versions of the Block Exemption for Ancillary Restraints in Mergers and the Block Exemption for Joint Ventures. The amended block exemptions intend to lower the regulatory burden imposed on businesses and enable the fast implementation of efficient arrangements by expanding the use of block exemptions.
In recent years, parallel and private imports have become an important factor in the public debate surrounding the cost of living in Israel. The level of competition (and ultimately prices) in many product markets is heavily dependent on imports. The recent amendment to the Restrictive Trade Practices Law aims to provide the antitrust commissioner with the authority to prevent conduct by official importers that may hinder competition from parallel and private imports.
The Israel Antitrust Authority (IAA) recently published the Antitrust Rules (Joint Loans Block Exemption) 2018. The exemption deals with loans extended jointly by a number of financial institutions to a single business borrower and provides a more formal and broader framework than the IAA's previous policy of periodic public opinions, which exempted consortium arrangements from restrictive enforcement under certain conditions.
The Israel Antitrust Authority recently published a draft amendment to the Vertical Block Exemption for public comment. The amendment aims to expand the substantive self-assessment of vertical arrangements and was published as a response to Supreme Court rulings which called for a more lenient approach to vertical arrangements and practitioner criticism of the current exemption. The amendment reflects a more general trend in Israeli antitrust law towards a substantive self-assessment regime.
The Antitrust Authority recently published a draft amendment to the Restrictive Trade Practices Law for public comment. The amendment proposes a broad reform of the law as regards restrictive arrangements, monopolies and mergers. According to the authority, the amendment aims to decrease the existing regulatory burden that applies to legitimate and efficient practices and strengthen anti-competitive enforcement.
The Supreme Court recently confirmed that Regulation 500(7) of the Civil Procedure Regulations, which concerns court approval for service outside Israel, is not met where the alleged act or omission occurred outside Israel and only the anti-competitive effects are alleged to have taken place in Israel. The court further ruled that the effects doctrine – the governing doctrine for applying local antitrust law to foreign conduct – pertains only to the substantive applicability of such law to foreign conduct.
The antitrust commissioner recently announced her intention to impose unprecedented financial sanctions on several monopolies and market leaders in Israel, as well as some of their senior officers. These announcements indicate that the use of financial sanctions to combat the abuse of a dominant position will likely play a key role in the Israel Antitrust Authority's agenda for the coming years.
The Israel Antitrust Authority recently published draft guidelines on resale price maintenance arrangements, following a Supreme Court decision that fundamentally changed the legal standard applicable to vertical arrangements. The draft guidelines survey the main concerns arising from resale price maintenance arrangements, the competition benefits that they may produce and the general methodology that should be used to analyse such arrangements.
The Israel Antitrust Authority (IAA) recently concluded its initial re-evaluation of its policy on the prohibition on excessive pricing by monopolies and published draft guidelines on the factors that it will consider in enforcing the prohibition. The draft guidelines structure the IAA's decision-making process in enforcing the excessive pricing prohibition and are expected to reduce significantly the number of cases in which the IAA will take action on the grounds of excessive pricing.
The Israel Antitrust Authority (IAA) recently published draft guidelines on the factors that the IAA commissioner will consider when determining the financial sanction to be imposed on antitrust violators. The draft guidelines aim to structure the commissioner's decision-making process when determining financial sanctions while considering the specific circumstances of each case and offer a quantitative methodology in this regard.
The Israel Antitrust Authority (IAA) recently announced a public hearing and formal re-evaluation of the merits, enforceability and effectiveness of its policy regarding the prohibition on excessive pricing by monopolies. The announcement may result in a major overhaul of the IAA's policy regarding excessive pricing and the annulment of major portions of its guidelines on the issue.
The antitrust commissioner recently imposed a $2.3 million fine on Ashdod Port for providing retroactive discounts to vehicle importers that used its facilities. Discounting practices are generally welcome, but when undertaken by monopolies, some discounting schemes may contravene antitrust laws. Dominant firms are advised to check their pricing practices to avoid potential liability.
The Central District Court recently rendered a precedential decision in a claim brought by an Israeli manufacturer and distributor of generic pharmaceuticals against a multinational innovator pharmaceutical company. The decision dealt with challenges faced by the innovator pharmaceutical company in its attempts to prevent or delay the entrance of generic drugs into the market and raises questions regarding the interface between IP law and antitrust law.
The Supreme Court recently issued a landmark ruling in an appeal of the lower court's conviction of a large retail chain for breach of merger conditions and attempting to engage in a restrictive arrangement. In its analysis of the arrangement under review, the court outlined a new legal approach towards vertical arrangements, overturning a longstanding and highly criticised precedent.
The Israel Antitrust Authority recently published a memorandum that proposes the application of monopoly restrictions on businesses that hold a market share of less than 50% if they possess significant market power. A second recent memorandum aims to reduce barriers to imports by restricting the ability of an official importer to abuse its power and diminish competition from parallel imports.
The Israeli Antitrust Authority recently proposed significant reform of the merger control regime in an attempt to expand the application of merger controls in some respects, while decreasing the number of mergers that are subject to compulsory filing. The authority has also called for the imposition of special duties that are applicable only to monopolies and authorised distributors.
Parliament recently approved amendments to the Restrictive Trade Practices Law. The changes include the annulment of the mutual exclusivity exemption between suppliers and distributors. The changes should be closely monitored by foreign firms that operate in Israel, whether directly or through local representatives or distributors.
The Supreme Court recently published its ruling regarding an appeal filed by Azrieli Group – one of Israel's leading shopping mall groups – against an Antitrust Tribunal decision. The ruling halts a gradual erosion in the scope of judicial review over decisions of the general director of the Israel Antitrust Authority.