Marketing & Advertising

calgary-1751847_1920The Competition Bureau (Bureau) announced on December 7, 2016 that the Commissioner of Competition (Commissioner) had reached a settlement with Moose International Inc. (Moose) regarding his concerns over Moose’s “Made in Canada” advertising and labelling with respect to certain of its premium brand parkas.  The settlement brings to an end legal proceedings between the parties

startup-849805_1920

Online reviews and endorsements are a growing tool used by businesses to sell their products and services.  Last month, the Canadian Competition Bureau (with international partners) conducted a “sweep” of the internet targeting online reviews and endorsements. The sweep is identifying websites that use online reviews or endorsements as part of their business model.  The

On July 28, 2016, the Competition Bureau (the “Bureau”) released its 2016-2017 Annual Plan, entitled “Strengthening Competition To Drive Innovation”. While this year’s Annual Plan ostensibly repackages both the Bureau’s 3-year Strategic Vision and its 2015-16 Annual Plan, it does contain a few notable developments.

Indeed, the Bureau has introduced 10 new “areas of focus”

The Government of Canada has announced that it is putting an end to the use of partisan Government advertising.  Effective May 12, 2016, Advertising Standards Canada (ACS), a national not-for-profit organization committed to ensuring the integrity of Canadian advertising, will conduct independent reviews of federal government ads against the definition of “non-partisan communications” outlined in

Moose International Inc. has filed its response to the Competition Bureau’s recent allegations that Moose had, contrary to paragraph 74.01(1)(a) of the Competition Act, made materially false or misleading “made in Canada” representations with respect to its Moose Knuckles winter parkas.

In its response, Moose has asked that the Competition Tribunal dismiss the Commissioner

The Competition Bureau recently announced that it had taken action under the Competition Act against Moose Knuckles, a Canadian-based manufacturer of premium winter jackets, for alleged deceptive marketing practices associated with its high-end parkas.  The Bureau’s application to the Competition Tribunal alleges that the jackets are marketed as “Made in Canada” when the winter apparel

On June 2, 2016, the Competition Bureau (the “Bureau”) announced that Avis and Budget have agreed to pay a $3 million penalty for what the Bureau has concluded were false or misleading advertisements made to the public in respect of prices and discounts on car rentals and associated products. Avis and Budget also agreed to

On October 3, 2014, the Commissioner of Competition (“Commissioner”) announced the appointment of Rambod Behboodi as the Deputy Commissioner of the Competition Promotion Branch – the new branch within the Competition Bureau (“Bureau”) that will be created as part of the Bureau’s realignment initiative, where its existing eight branches will be consolidated into four.  The

The principal Canadian competition law theme in 2013, as with the year before, was enforcement. Criminal enforcement in the areas of price-fixing, bid-rigging and misleading advertising continued with new guilty pleas against various companies and individuals (e.g. auto parts, air cargo, chocolate, real estate advisory services contracts, gasoline and retail multiple telemarketing schemes). The Competition Tribunal (the “Tribunal”) released two decisions involving the Toronto Real Estate Board (“TREB”) and VISA and MasterCard that provided significant interpretations of the scope of the abuse of dominance and price maintenance provisions of the Competition Act (the “Act”). The Superior Court of Ontario also released its decision dismissing, in part, the Competition Bureau’s (the “Bureau”) misleading advertising charge against Rogers and Chat-r with respect to the claim of “fewest dropped calls”.  Finally, the Supreme Court of Canada granted leave to appeal in Tervita Corporation v Commission of Competition. Five months earlier, the Federal Court of Appeal (“FCA”) upheld the order of the Tribunal requiring Tervita Corporation to divest the Babkirk hazardous waste landfill site in northern British Columbia that it obtained through its acquisition of Complete Environmental Inc.

With respect to private litigation, the Supreme Court of Canada released a trilogy of long awaited decisions in proposed class proceedings brought by indirect purchasers of products alleging competition law violations.   The Supreme Court concluded, among other things, that indirect purchasers have a cause of action, resolving a conflict in appellate jurisprudence in Canada. The Supreme Court’s decisions are expected to have a profound impact upon cartel-related class actions in Canada.

2013 also saw John Pecman appointed as Commissioner of Competition on June 12, 2013 for a five-year term. Prior to his appointment as Commissioner, Mr. Pecman held the position of Interim Commissioner from September 2012 to June 2013.

Our Bulletin reports on these and other developments.


Continue Reading 2013 Canadian Antitrust/Competition & Marketing Law Year in Review

The year of 2013 provided further opportunity for development of South Africa’s competition policy, law and practice. The year’s highlights included the conclusion of the Competition Commission’s Fast Track Settlement  process involving bid rigging in the construction sector; some important merger decisions; developments in the law on pursuit of private damages; and clarity on numerous procedural matters in enforcement actions. These are elaborated upon further below.

Mergers

Merger Regulation Trends

324 mergers were notified to the Competition Commission in the period April 2012 to March 2013.  This represents an increase of around 10% to the 291 mergers notified in the previous year. Most of these transactions were in the manufacturing 23%, property 27% and mining sectors.

In this most recent period, 85% of mergers were approved unconditionally. 11% were approved subject to conditions (28 behavioural remedies aimed at public interest issues and seven structural remedies); and 4% were withdrawn or dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.  No mergers were prohibited.

The Commission continued with a trend we identified last year in protecting and advancing public policy considerations (most notably protection of employment) in its merger analysis. The case of Stefanutti/Enorgotec gave rise to the fastest decision yet by the authorities (reportedly made within four hours of filing of the Commission’s recommendation to the Tribunal) was based largely on the need to protect employment in a firm under severe financial distress.

In Glencore / Xstrata, the Competition Tribunal confirmed an agreement between the merging parties and the National Union of Mineworkers that the number of skilled employees retrenched as a result of the merger would be limited to 80, and the number of semi-skilled and unskilled employees retrenched would be limited to 100.  Greater protection was provided for semi-skilled and unskilled workers, who may only be retrenched after two years following a 90 day review period, during which the necessity of the potential retrenchments had to be considered in consultation with the trade union.


Continue Reading 2013 South African Antitrust/Competition & Marketing Law Year in Review