Digitalisation has brought significant changes to many industries. Basically, new business models have emerged: search engines, price comparison websites, social networks and many business models of the sharing economy would not be feasible without digitalisation (2-sided and multi-sided markets). At the same time, digitalisation is also changing many traditional sectors and creating new markets with few but large players. This creates new challenges for competition law and for the European Commission in its work as the European competition law enforcement agency.
This course will focus primarily on the European Union (EU) rules on competition, a comprehensive and long- established yet dynamic and ever developing area of law. Particular attention will be given to the new reality of the digital economy. The course will begin with an introduction to the course and materials followed by outlining the theories of competition law and the objectives of EU competition law and policy. The course will then cover substantive topics which include Article 101 (cartels) and Article 102 (dominance) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and other relevant EU secondary legislative measures. Digital markets have characteristics that are less prominent in traditional markets and are challenging established competition law analytical models. Therefore it is appropriate and important to examine the application of the EU competition rules to digital business models operated as platforms or networks and to innovative markets where high levels of concentration are dominated by a few big players. For the sake of completeness, the EU Merger Control Regulation will be very briefly addressed.