The Market Definition Notice review - fine tuning or a new instrument?
15 July 2020

12.00h - 13.00h (CET)


Birthe Panhans, Deputy Head of Unit
Mergers Case Support & Policy (A2
European Commission

By Zoom webinar
CPD:Accredited for 1 hour CPD (UK SRA)
Registrations:Close at 6pm - 14 July (CET)
Joining details:Sent to participants 11am (CET) - 15 July
On 26 June, DG COMP launched a 15-week public consultation as part of its evaluation of the 1997 Market Definition Notice (‘the Notice’).

Responses are due by 09 October.

The 23-year-old Notice provides guidance on how the Commission identifies an undertaking’s actual competitors, a crucial intermediate step in any competition law analysis applying Articles 101 and 102 TFEU and the Merger Regulation.

The Commission previously consulted on the evaluation criteria and process in April / May and received 44 responses.

Last December, Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager highlighted several developments that have influenced the application of the Notice, including the:
  • Changing scope of geographic markets, taking account of global trade; and  
  • Need to better reflect increasingly digital markets.
The April 2019 Special Advisers’ Report also identified new challenges with product market definition for DG COMP to consider as part of the review. For example, how should a new Notice deal with ‘big tech’ digital ecosystems that can leave consumers locked-in?

Still, as in 1997 the central question for competition agencies and legal advisers when defining markets is 'Can customers go elsewhere if prices go up, quality down or innovation stops?'

Participants in this first Europe-wide
'Chatham House rule' webinar with Birthe Panhans will gain an early understanding of the possible direction of travel towards a future-proofed Notice.

List of participants (updated 14 July)

Market Definition Notice consultation webpage (26.06.20) (17.06.20)

Evaluation-of-the-Commission-Notice-on-market-definition-in-EU-competition-law (03.04.20)

'Defining markets in a new age' Margrethe Vestager, Chillin' Competition (09.12.19)
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The discussion will last a maximum of 90 minutes. All participants will receive the speaker's presentation and will be able to ask questions.

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