In late 2018, the Competition Council of the Republic of Latvia published the final report on its most recent in-depth sector inquiry on the distribution practices of reimbursed medicines on the wholesale market and potential competition restrictions therein. The sector inquiry had lasted for almost two years, during which the Competition Council gathered information from both the public and the private sectors, approaching seven producers, twelve wholesalers, and several public institutions, such as the State Agency of Medicines and the Health Inspectorate, among others. Although the Competition Council proclaimed that the main goal of the sector inquiry was to analyze potential competition restrictions on the wholesale market, which could be apparent because of the vertical integration of wholesalers and leading pharmacy chains and the exclusivity status of the wholesalers, no infringements proceedings were initiated as a result. Notwithstanding the lack of subsequent infringement proceedings, however, some crucial conclusions were drawn.
There is ongoing litigation between the Moller Mobility group companies in Latvia (importers and dealers of VW cars in the country) and Latvia’s Competition Council involving a EUR 7.4 million fine imposed on the companies for an alleged cartel agreement. This is the highest fine ever imposed in Latvia for breach of competition law on one group of companies.
The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation is, according to the EU-hosted GDPR website, “the most important change in data privacy regulation in the past 20 years.” The Act, which was approved by the EU Parliament on April 14, 2016 and will become fully effective on May 25, 2018, was designed “to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe, to protect and empower all EU citizens’ data privacy, and to reshape the way organizations across the region approach data privacy.”
The winners of the 2017 CEE Deal of the Year Awards were announced at the first ever CEE Legal Matters Deal of the Year Awards Banquet last night in Prague. The biggest smiles in the joyous and music-filled celebration of CEE lawyering, perhaps, were on the faces of Partners from Avellum and Sayenko Kharenko, which, along with White & Case and Latham & Watkins, won the award both for Ukrainian Deal of the Year and CEE Deal of the Year for their work on the 2017 Ukraine Eurobond Issue (a story initially reported by CEE Legal Matters on October 2, 2017).
Latvia is gradually improving its score in the corruption perception index. According to the international anti-corruption organization Transparency International, Latvia took 44th place in the corruption perception index in 2016, with 57 out of 100 points – after scoring 55 in both 2015 and 2014 (it scored 53 points in 2013 and 49 in 2012). This represents Latvia’s best score so far, and it appears to be a sign that tolerance of corruption in our country is continuing to decrease. By contrast, Lithuania fell from 34th place in 2015 to 38th place in 2016 (with 59 points in 2016, compared to 61 in 2015), and Estonia moved up to 22nd in 2016 from 23rd the year before, though it had the same 70-point score both years.
On Thursday, November 30th, leading legal practitioners from across Central and Eastern Europe gathered in Prague to help CEE Legal Matters celebrate its fourth successful year as the leading chronicle of the legal industry in the region, participating in an expert Round Table conversation about the year just concluded and enjoying an evening of dinner, drinks, and bonhomie.
Civil damages awards are one of the primary – and often most important – remedies for infringements of intellectual property rights. Damages serve both as compensation to the right holder for the economic detriment that results from an infringement and as a specific and general deterrent to would-be infringers. – The European Observatory on Counterfeiting and Piracy, “Damages in Intellectual Property Rights” (2009/2010).
The 2017 CEE Legal Matters General Summit took place at the Intercontinental Hotel in Warsaw on June 1-2, 2017, once again bringing together well over a hundred General Counsel and Heads of Legal from across Central and Eastern Europe for two full days (and one entertaining evening) of seminars, panel discussions, best practices review, and networking. This year’s event — the third annual, following the 2015 GC Summit in Budapest and the 2016 GC Summit in Istanbul — was the biggest and most successful yet.
On May 31 and June 1, 2017, CEE Legal Matters was proud to host a rare event: A gathering of those senior lawyers from each Central and Eastern European country identified by peers as being most influential, most important, most uniquely responsible for having created the country’s modern commercial legal market.