Pursuant to a complaint filed by Nimco Corner, the Competition Commission initiated an inquiry into, and thereafter issued show cause notices to, two respondents for engaging in deceptive marketing practices under the Competition Act. Similarly, an inquiry was initiated against New Yorker Pizza for alleged deceptive marketing practices based on a complaint filed by The New York Pizza.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pakistan has been under a nationwide lockdown since 23 March 2020. As such, the Competition Commission recently launched an online M&A application filing system to facilitate local and foreign stakeholders with mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures. Further, in order to continue its regular functions amid the pandemic, the Competition Commission has resumed hearings by allowing parties to participate through videoconferencing.
Pursuant to a complaint by Nestlé Pakistan Limited, the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) initiated an inquiry into Engro Foods Limited for misleading consumers and engaging in deceptive marketing practices under the Competition Act 2010. The CCP concluded that Engro Foods had been involved in deceptive marketing practices and, in the interest of the general public and other market players, recommended that proceedings be initiated against it.
The Competition Commission recently decided on a joint pre-merger application by Uber Technologies, Inc and Careem Inc and concluded that – based on its assessment of the relevant market – the proposed merger was likely to substantially weaken competition through the creation or strengthening of a dominant position in the relevant market. Thus, the commission initiated a Phase II review.
The Competition Commission recently initiated proceedings against 18 electric cable manufacturers which had engaged in deceptive marketing practices under the Competition Act by failing to disclose to consumers that there were cash/cash coupons in the packaging of electric wire cable bundles. The commission's enquiry concluded that on account of this omission, purchasers of the product had been unaware of the coupons and this benefit had instead transferred to various electricians.
The Competition Commission recently examined whether Wateen Telecom Limited had resorted to a tie-in arrangement for analogue TV services provided to a housing scheme in Lahore, restricting consumer choice and abusing its dominant position in violation of the Competition Act. The commission found that the original enquiry report had erroneously defined the relevant market. Due to a lack of sufficient data and evidence, the show cause notice issued to Wateen was set aside.
The Competition Commission recently conducted an inquiry into alleged discriminatory practices that the Defence Officers Housing Authority Islamabad-Rawalpindi (DHA) had undertaken against Nayatel (Private) Limited in respect of the provision of cable internet and telephony services. The inquiry committee found that the DHA held a dominant position in the relevant market and had abused this position by effectively and constrictively refusing to deal with Nayatel.
The Competition Commission recently conducted an enquiry following a complaint filed by Pakistan Services Limited against a number of other hotel operators for fraudulently using the complainant's registered trademark for the branding of their hotels. The commission found that the respondents had resorted to deceptive marketing practices by adopting marks that were identical or deceptively similar to the complainant's registered marks.
Pursuant to a complaint filed by Ferozsons Laboratories Limited, the Competition Commission recently started an enquiry into Neucon Pakistan for deceptive marketing practices under the Competition Act. The respondent's behaviour was judged to have been capable of deceiving consumers, which could in turn damage the complainant's business interests. In the interest of the general public, it was recommended that proceedings be initiated against Neucon for deceptive marketing practices.
The Competition Commission recently found that an enquiry into deceptive marketing practices did not comply with Section 37(2) of the Competition Act, which allows the commission to conduct enquiries only after receiving written complaints from an undertaking or registered association of consumers. As a result, proceedings could not be initiated against the company under investigation.
The Competition Commission recently initiated proceedings against nine animal and livestock feed manufacturers for engaging in deceptive marketing practices under the Competition Act 2010. The commission imposed a penalty of PRs2.7 million on the respondents and ordered them to cease their unauthorised use of the complainant's registered trademark and copycat packaging and file individual compliance reports.
The Competition Commission recently initiated an enquiry into six fruit juice manufacturers for misleading consumers and engaging in deceptive marketing practices under the Competition Act. The enquiry committee concluded that the respondents' marketing of their fruit juice brands to consumers using unjustified claims amounted to the distribution of false and misleading information to the general public, which could harm the business interests of other undertakings in the same industry.
The Competition Commission recently conducted an enquiry and initiated proceedings against Proctor & Gamble Pakistan (Private) Limited following a complaint for deceptive marketing practices filed by Reckitt Benckiser Pakistan Limited. The commission found that the respondent had violated Section 10 of the Competition Act 2010 and imposed a penalty of PRs10 million.
Following a complaint filed by an individual against Kaymu (an online shopping platform) for deceptive marketing practices, the Competition Commission conducted an enquiry and found that Kaymu had been involved in the dissemination of false and misleading information to consumers. These actions had resulted in Kaymu having a competitive advantage over other undertakings in the same line of business, leading to a prima facie violation of the Competition Act.
The Competition Commission recently launched its Competition Advocacy Academia Drive campaign, which aims to promote awareness of competition law among university students and faculty members. The commission has also issued a show cause notice against the Pharma Bureau for alleged collusive activities, launched an enquiry into alleged deceptive marketing practices and issued a policy note regarding competition rules in the telecoms sector.
The Competition Commission recently conducted an enquiry into a complaint of deceptive market practices relating to the use of similar logos by motorcycle companies. It found that none of the accused could be held responsible for the alleged deceptive marketing practices, as their conduct and use of the objectionable logos did not amount to the distribution of false or misleading information within the meaning of Section 10 of the Competition Act 2010.
The Competition Commission recently initiated proceedings against the Pakistan Engineering Council following a complaint that it had restricted competition in the insurance market for public civil works. The bidding documents that the council prepared for public sector engineering projects contained provisions restricting insurance cover for public civil works to AA-rated insurers.
The Competition Act 2010 does not cover the concept of parasitic copying or copycat packaging. However, in its recent order against Dawn Foods, the commission broadened the scope of deceptive marketing practices by recognising unfair competition through the practice of parasitic copying and copycat packaging for the first time in Pakistan.
The Competition Commission has established a road show, including seminars in 20 major cities, to help stakeholders to understand the importance of the Competition Act 2010. The commission aims to help companies improve their business practices, which in turn will create fairness for all businesses to compete, innovate and become profitable, and thus help to improve the economy.
The integration of the Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad stock exchanges was recently approved during a hearing of the Phase 2 review of the pre-merger application following the order that the commission had passed in the Phase 1 review. During the hearing, all parties responded at length to the concerns raised in the order and to additional queries posed by the bench. A detailed order providing the commission's reasoning will follow in due course.