Violation of section 10 of the Competition Act on prohibition against cooperation with the object of restricting competition

Supreme Court judgment 21 May 2021, HR-2021-1086-A, (case no. 20-160777SIV-HRET), civil case, appeal against judgment. 

I.
Cappelen Damm Holding AS, Cappelen Damm AS (Counsel Olav Kolstad) v. The State represented by the Competition Authority (The Office of the Attorney General represented by Pål Erik Wennerås), (Assisting counsel: Kristin Hallsjø Aarvik)

II.
Gyldendal ASA, Gyldendal Norsk Forlag AS (Counsel Siri Teigum) v. The State represented by the Competition Authority (The Office of the Attorney General represented by Pål Erik Wennerås), (Assisting counsel: Kristin Hallsjø Aarvik)

Justices: Skoghøy, Matheson, Kallerud, Bergsjø, Arntzen

The Competition Authority had issued an administrative fine under section 29 of the Competition Act to four publishing firms for violation of section 10 of the same Act. The publishing firms had exchanged information and entered into an agreement on collective boycott of a distributor of books to the so-called mass market. The Supreme Court, having only considered the Court of Appeal's application of the law, found that the cooperation – one that removed any uncertainty the publishing firms might have with regard to the market's function in the new situation – had as its object the restriction of competition. The Court of Appeal's assessment that the pro-competitive effects of the cooperation were not enough to create doubt as to whether the cooperation was sufficiently damaging to competition, could not be reviewed by the Supreme Court. The basis for setting the administrative fine had been correctly assessed by the Court of Appeal. The appeals against the Court of Appeal's judgment were dismissed. 

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