Australia: Competition and Consumer Law - What's News - 2 March 2015

Last Updated: 12 March 2015
Article by Howard Rapke, Ian Robertson and Paul Venus

Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2016

In the media

Ian Macfarlane confirms Federal Government will act on food labelling
A new country-of-origin food labelling system would contain a logo informing consumers the percentage of Australian grown food in the product, with the Prime Minister announcing he had tasked cabinet members to come up with a stronger, clearer system within the next month (26 February 2015). More...

Tougher code of conduct for grocery retailers and wholesalers announced
After extensive consultation, the Federal Government has announced a tougher code of conduct for grocery retailers and wholesalers. The Government is pushing for all supermarket chains to sign up quickly to ensure greater protections for suppliers. Mr Billson said the code would shape a better environment for good faith, fair commercial dealings between suppliers and supermarkets (25 February 2015). More...

Equity Trustees Limited and Como Financial Services each pay $20,400 penalty for misleading website
As a direct result of ASIC scrutiny Equity Trustees Limited and Como Financial Services Pty Ltd, both Australian financial services licensees, have each paid $20,400 in penalties. This followed ASIC's issuing of infringement notices for potentially misleading conduct (25 February 2015). More...

Federal Court dismisses anti-competitive conduct case against Pfizer Australia
The Federal Court has handed down judgment in the matter of ACCC v Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd (Pfizer). Justice Flick also found that the ACCC had failed to establish that Pfizer had pursued its conduct for the proscribed purpose of deterring or preventing competitors from engaging in competitive conduct or for the purpose of substantially lessening competition (25 February 2015). More...

Court puts supplier bullying on notice
Following the Coles case, other major companies should realise that no matter how much market power they hold, they must still deal with their suppliers fairly (24 February 2015). More...

Kia promises refunds to customers over-charged for 'capped price' servicing
South Korean car maker Kia has been forced to offer customer refunds after an investigation into its capped price service charges. The probe by the ACCC was launched in response to concerns about the claimed fixed service pricing offered by Kia since 2012 (24 February 2015). More... More...

Bad financial advice costs NAB millions in compensation to customers
The National Australia Bank has confirmed it has paid millions of dollars in compensation to more than 700 customers who received bad financial advice. Brett Le Mesurier, a banking analyst at BBY said it was always disappointing for banks to learn about potential misconduct (21 February 2015). More...

ACCC announces priorities and strives for tougher penalties
Cartel conduct in government procurement, truth in advertising, competition and consumer issues in the health sector and industry codes are some of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's new compliance and enforcement priorities for 2015 (19 February 2015). More...

ACCC priorities outlined by ACCC Chairman
ACCC Chairman, Rod Sims, has outlined the ACCC's priorities in his first speech of the year. Launching the 2015 edition of the ACCC Compliance and Enforcement Policy at CEDA today, Sims announced 'cartel conduct in government procurement, truth in advertising, competition and consumer issues in the health sector and industry codes as new priorities'. Sims' speech also sets out the ACCC's activities in relation to a number of areas of competition law (cartels, anti-competitive agreements and practices (19 February 2015). More... More... More...

Beer investigation now ACCC priority
The ACCC's investigation into beer tap arrangements by Lionand Carlton & United has been elevated to a 'priority matter'. Mr Sims has previously said misuse of market power, including the lessening of competition, "strikes at the heart of companies and business systems ' Beer battle 'priority' as ACCC puts heat on Lion, Carlton & United over beer tap deals' (16 February 2015).

In practice and courts, published reports

ACCC Compliance & enforcement policy 2015
This policy sets out the principles adopted by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to achieve compliance with the law, and outlines the ACCC's enforcement powers, functions, priorities, strategies and regime. Released on 19 February 2015. More...

Federal Court dismisses Pfizer case: comment
The Federal Court today handed down its judgment in ACCC v Pfizer Australia. The ACCC had alleged misuse of market power and exclusive dealing in relation to Pfizer's supply of atorvastatin to pharmacies. Justice Flick dismissed the ACCC's application and awarded costs to the Pfizer. The misuse of market power case failed on the basis that the requisite proscribed purpose was not established and that (post-2012) Pfizer's market power was not 'substantial' (the controversial 'take advantage' element was established). More... More... More...

Pfizer judgment now available
The reasons for judgment in ACCC v Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd [2015] FCA 113 have now been published on the Federal Court website and on AustLII.


Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Reebok Australia Pty Ltd [2015] FCA 83
CONSUMER LAW – penalty hearing – misleading or deceptive conduct – consumer protection provisions – representations concerning nature, characteristics and suitability of purpose of product – false or misleading representation that goods or services have performance characteristics, benefits or uses – admitted contraventions – whether orders sought by consent appropriate in the circumstance – whether pecuniary penalty within appropriate range. Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) ss 4, 76, 131, 138. Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) Sch 2, ss 18, 29(1)(g), 33, 224, 232, 239(1), 246. More...

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd [2015] FCA 113
TRADE PRACTICES – abuse of market power – definition of market – substantial degree of power – taking advantage of power – purpose. TRADE PRACTICES – exclusive dealing – on condition – purpose. PATENTS – exclusive rights of patentee - right to exploit – right to exclude others - an implied licence to sell – whether a condition falling within trade practices exception to s 47. EVIDENCE – the rule in Browne v Dunn – a rule of procedural fairness – privilege against self-incrimination. Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) ss 4E, 4F, 4G, 46, 47, 51, 76. Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Evidence Act 1995 (Cth) s 128. National Health Act 1953 (Cth) Pt VII. Patents Act 1990 (Cth) ss 13, 117, Sch 1. Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) ss 45, 45D, 46, 47, 51, 51AC. Trade Practices Amendment Act 1977 (Cth). Trade Practices (Misuse of Trans-Tasman Market Power) Act 1990 (Cth). More...

This publication does not deal with every important topic or change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named individuals listed.

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