The Federal Court of Justice recently addressed the issue of responsibility for a cartel fine imposed on several companies. According to the court, in order to establish internal liability it must first be assessed whether there is a contractual arrangement which stipulates the rules of compensation. The court went on to specify the criteria relevant to the proportion of internal compensation between joint and several debtors.
The Federal Cartel Office recently prohibited the continuation of a joint venture which it had cleared in 1996. The decision demonstrates that merger control clearance provides little legal certainty in Germany in cases where competitors intend to create a joint venture, at least if the joint venture operates on the same market as one or more of its parent entities.
The Dusseldorf Higher Regional Court recently refused to pre-empt the Federal Cartel Office in a preventive action regarding the question of whether a transaction was subject to merger control. According to the court, such actions are inadmissible. If parties are in doubt regarding a filing requirement, they should file.