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11 September 2020 / news

New Belgian rules on economic dependence

On 22 August 2020, new Belgian rules on economic dependence entered into force. In a new blog for Kluwer, Loyens & Loeff discusses the potentially profound impact of these rules for the digital sector in Belgium, and beyond.


The recently introduced prohibition of abuse of economic dependence (Article IV.2/1 Belgian Code of Economic Law) is a novelty in Belgian law (see our earlier post for a description of these rules). In the first edition of our regular blog for Kluwer, Loyens & Loeff sheds a light on the possible consequences of this new prohibition and further new rules on unfair clauses for the digital sectors.

The impact for tech sector is potentially profound. The new rules significantly reduce the burden of evidence for complainants as they do not require the demonstration of a dominant position vis-à-vis all market players, but merely the demonstration of a situation of economic dependence. In view of this reduction of the burden of evidence, we would expect that the new rules may lead to an increase in the number of complaints and court cases brought against players in the digital sector in Belgium with alleged market power. Read more in our blog.

Time will tell what the impact of the new rules on the tech sector will turn out to be…

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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