One of Denmark's biggest abuse of dominance cases is coming to an end following the High Court of Western Denmark's issuance of its final decision, which repealed the Competition Council's decision. However, the Competition and Consumer Authority has sought permission to appeal the case to the Supreme Court. The case shows the importance of economic analysis in abuse of dominance cases. Establishing excessive pricing requires extensive economic analysis and there seems to be a high bar for proof.
The Danish Competition and Consumer Authority recently reported a case of bid rigging in the demolition industry to the State Prosecutor for Serious Economic and International Crime. Six companies and a number of executives from each company have now been charged. This is the first case in Denmark in which the defendants risk imprisonment due to the infringement of competition law. Prison sentences for such offences were introduced in 2013.
The Competition Council recently found that Swedish pharmaceutical distributor CD Pharma AB had abused its dominant position in Denmark by charging excessive prices. The Competition Council ordered CD Pharma not to engage in similar behaviour in future and referred the case to the State Prosecutor for Serious Economic and International Crime for criminal prosecution.
In a recent decision, the Supreme Court considered whether the Ministry of Employment was liable for damages regarding replacement holiday. The court found that the Danish authorities had set aside EU law and were liable for damages. However, as the employee's holiday had taken place in 2010 – before the Holiday Act should have been amended – the employee was not entitled to compensation.
The government recently presented its legislative programme for the parliamentary year 2016/2017. The programme contains a number of upcoming proposals for amendments within the area of employment and labour law, including proposed amendments to the Holiday Act, the Childbirth Act, the Public Servants Act, the Working Environment Act and the Vocational Training Act.
A recent Board of Equal Treatment case involved a municipality's alleged discrimination against a disabled employee who was relocated to another flexible job with a reduced salary and later dismissed on the grounds of improving efficiency. The board found that the employee had accepted employment in a new flexible role and that the salary reduction was not an expression of discrimination, but rather a question of applying new rules for flexible jobs.
The Maritime and Commercial Court considered whether a senior employee's claim for a bonus payment under a bonus plan constituted 'salary' as defined in Section 17a of the Salaried Employees Act. The court attached significance to the contents of the bonus plan, the purpose of Section 17a and the wish to counter the risk of circumvention. Consequently, the senior employee was entitled to a direct proportional share of the agreed bonus.
The Danish transmission systems for electricity and natural gas are owned, operated and developed by Energinet, an independent public enterprise owned by the state. The government recently made a new political agreement with a broad number of political parties concerning Energinet's future economic regulation, which means that it will become subject to a revenue framework. With the new agreement, Denmark will follow the same regulatory tendencies seen in other northern and western European countries.
A new executive order, which provides a framework for how grid companies can cover operational costs and return of investment, will be one of the most important tools for such companies going forward. The executive order stipulates the rules governing the prices that electrical grid companies can charge consumers to cover the costs of running the grid and has introduced a five-year regulation period.
Due to a recent agreement between the government and the Danish People's Party, solar and wind power projects will compete for state subsidies for the first time. Under the new subsidy model, the solar power, land windmill or near-shore windmill projects which deliver the highest amount of megawatts for the lowest price will receive subsidies until the budget is allocated. Subsidies will be awarded as a fixed additional charge to the electricity cost.
The government-established Energy Commission recently filed its recommendations for the future energy policy. The commission's report forms part of the policy preparation for the next stage of Denmark's green transition. The central message of the recommendations is that to reach the goal of a low-emissions society by 2050, an ambitious and long-term energy policy must be established by 2020.
In several energy supply industry sectors, profits are allowed only as a reasonable return on invested capital subject to regulatory control. This applies, for example, to the electricity distribution, gas distribution and heating supply sectors. The Danish Energy Regulatory Authority is in the process of establishing new methods and principles for determining a reasonable return on invested capital across the different sectors.
Denmark recently ratified the Hong Kong Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, which aims to ensure that ships being recycled at the end of their operational lives pose no unnecessary risk to human health and safety or the environment. It is hoped that the convention will help to set global standards to ensure that ships are broken up safely.
The Maritime and Commercial High Court recently awarded Teva Denmark A/S €13.45 million in damages and €594,000 in legal costs in a patent case. This is the largest amount of damages ever awarded in a Danish patent case and will therefore be subject to thorough review when constructing arguments on damages in future cases.
The Maritime and Commercial High Court recently referred to the European Court of Justice the question of whether a trademark holder can lawfully object to the continued marketing of a parallel imported, repackaged pharmaceutical product on which its trademark has been reaffixed if the trademark holder has marketed the product in the same volume and packet size in other European Economic Area countries.
The Maritime and Commercial High Court recently invalidated AstraZeneca's Danish quetiapine sustained release patent in litigation against Teva Denmark A/S and Accord Healthcare Ltd. Before this judgment, the validity of AstraZeneca's patent had been successfully challenged in several European countries, including the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands.