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23 December 2020 / article

ACM investigates the role of algorithms in cartels

On 10 December 2020, the Dutch Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) announced that it has launched a pilot investigation into the role of algorithms in commercial interactions between market players and the impact on market behaviour these algorithms may have. In our regular blog for Kluwer, Loyens & Loeff discusses the implications of the study and we take a look at where things could be heading.

What’s it about?

The ACM intends to put the results of the study to use in order to inform market parties on what they can expect in case the ACM would start an investigation into the functioning of their algorithms. The ACM is conducting the pilot in cooperation with Muziekweb, an online music library. On the same day, the ACM has published a position paper on the monitoring of algorithmic applications. This position paper is a starting point from which the ACM intends to further develop this type of monitoring. The paper provides general guidance on investigations into potential infringements in which algorithmic applications play a role.

The ACM’s research into algorithmic applications is still at an early stage and there are quite some challenges that the ACM might face when investigating the role of algorithms in companies’ market activities. It will be interesting to see how the pilot will develop and whether the ACM will indeed be successful in implementing research strategies that can disclose the role of algorithmic applications in potential infringements of competition law.

Read much more in our recent blog for Kluwer.

What can Loyens & Loeff do for you?

Digital technologies present companies with many online and offline business opportunities. However, they also bring about a whole new range of tax and legal challenges, from competition and intellectual property issues, to data protection and privacy questions. Loyens & Loeff has set up a dedicated and multidisciplinary Digital Economy Team. This firm-wide team unites top experts from our various practice groups in all of our jurisdictions. This integrated and dynamic approach guarantees high-end and efficient solutions for our clients covering all relevant legal and tax aspects of their business.
Over the past few years, the competition specialists in our Digital Economy Team have represented a broad variety of technology companies, from major online platforms to smaller but innovative start-ups. In this respect we have developed an impressive track record in providing legal advice on several technology related topics, such as digital commerce, block chain, fin-tech and big data.
It is our forward thinking and practical advice that helps our clients to stay ahead in the digital world and to find solutions to any (potential) competition problems that arise. In the context of our focus on the tech sector and our aim of thought leadership, we published our handbook Digital Competition Law in Europe: A Concise Guide (Kluwer), in September 2019. This book aims to be an indispensable guide to quickly and accessibly acquiring in-depth knowledge in competition law in the digital sector, and a must-read for any practitioner or academic who encounters competition law related to digital markets. According to Kluwer, this book is ‘one of [its] most significant publications of recent years’.

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