French and German antitrust authorities issue joint paper on effect of “data” (and “big data”) on competition

On May 10, 2016, the French and the German competition law authorities issued a joint paper on competition law and data. The two authorities discussed how the collection, processing, and commercial use of data became a factor in establishing market power. “This paper aims to feed this debate by identifying some of the key issues and parameters that may need to be considered when assessing the interplay between data, market power and competition law”.

Section II defines “data” and “big data”, how data can be collected and used by companies. Section III presents theories of harm usually associated with data collection and exploitation in digital markets. Section IV discusses some of the parameters that are to be considered in assessing the relevance and credibility of these theories of harm.

The paper concludes that the economic relevance of data depends also “on the capacity for a firm to derive market power from its ability to sustain a data trove unmatched by its competitors”. Only once a case-by-case analysis is carried out, antitrust enforcement tools may be deployed.

Competition Law and data is available at…

For more information, Francesca Giannoni-Crystal.

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