China: Two "The First" Cases In Antitrust Enforcement Manifest The Spirit Of Rule Of Law

Last Updated: 28 January 2016
Article by AnJie Law Firm

2015年,我国反垄断执法工作更加常态化、精细化。而最能体现反垄断执法拓展广度和深度的标志,就是两个"首例"。2015年,我国首例否定行政垄断的司法判决判例产生;2015年,国家发改委对高通公司开出史上最大额反垄断罚单。

首个行政垄断司法判决产生

2015年2月2日,广州市中级人民法院认定广东省教育厅在"工程造价基本技能赛项"省级比赛中,指定广联达软件股份有限公司提供的软件,为独家参赛软件的行为,违反反垄断法规定。

这是反垄断法实施近7年以来,我国首次产生行政垄断的司法判决,无疑是具有里程碑意义的事件。该案同时也是反垄断法实施6年多来,首次进入实质诉讼程序的案件。

如何认定"行政垄断行为"?对"规范性文件、政策"等抽象行政行为,是否可以提起反垄断诉讼?这些问题是以往行政垄断案件中最具争议的焦点,而本案中,一审法院的判决对这些都给予了正面回答。

对于如何认定"行政垄断行为",广州中院在一审判决当中指出,根据反垄断法第三十二条规定:"行政机关和法律、法规授权的具有管理公共事务职能的组织不得滥用行政权力,限定或者变相限定单位或者个人经营、购买、使用其指定的经营者提供的商品。"广东省教育厅"指定独家参赛软件"行为符合构成行政垄断的要素条件,即在主体上,省教育厅是"行政机关和法律、法规授权的具有管理公共事务职能的组织";在行为上,其"指定独家参赛软件行为"符合"限定或者变相限定单位或者个人经营、购买、使用其指定的经营者提供的商品"。

至于"滥用行政权力",法院依据行政诉讼法规定"行政机关应对自己的具体行政行为负有举证责任",认定广东省教育厅对自己"指定独家参赛软件"行为不能提供证据证明其合法性,因此构成"滥用行政权力"。

此案另一争议焦点是,行政机关发布的各种"文件""通知"能否作为行政诉讼起诉对象?

对此,法院判决指出:本案中的广东省工程造价基本技能省级选拔赛,是由广东省教育厅主办的,而省赛组委会发布的各种"赛项通知""赛项技术规范""竞赛规程",也都是经过省教育厅审核通过方才对外公布的。因此"指定独家参赛软件"行为,是广东省教育厅作出的具体行政行为。所以,该案属于行政诉讼的受案范围。

该案审理颇具特色的地方在于,首次在行政垄断诉讼中引入专家证人出庭这一环节。由于这是司法领域首次受理行政垄断的行政诉讼,涉及专业问题很多,广州中院为了高水平审理,允许反垄断法领域和行政诉讼法领域的知名专家发表专家证言。

广州市中院的一审判决,无疑给我国今后行政垄断诉讼的开展提供了很好的参考。

史上最大反垄断罚单出炉

2015年2月10日,国家发改委发布行政处罚公告,决定对美国高通公司垄断违法行为罚款人民币60.88亿元(约合9.75亿美元),并要求高通公司针对存在问题作出五项整改。同日,高通公司发表声明确认了这一事实,并表示对发改委的处罚决定不持异议。

至此,这场国内史上历时最长、罚款数额最高、海内外最受关注的反垄断案宣告尘埃落定。高通反垄断案成为我国反垄断执法中具有里程碑意义的标志性事件之一。

此次高通被罚款60.88亿元人民币,为中国有史以来金额最高的反垄断罚款,是2014年全年17亿元人民币反垄断罚款总额的三倍还要多。而发改委作出罚款决定的依据,是高通在华2013年度销售额761亿元人民币的8%,接近反垄断法规定的销售额10%的罚款上限。如此巨额罚款,意在警告其他涉嫌垄断违法行为的企业,在法律面前谁都不能心存侥幸。

高通反垄断案的调查处理,从2013年11月拉开序幕,在长达15个月时间内,我国反垄断部门经过细致深入的调查和大量的取证,并与高通公司有关方面进行了多次沟通,确认高通公司在中国市场的一系列滥用市场支配地位的行为,违反我国反垄断法的相关条款,违法事实清楚、证据充分,依据反垄断法作出罚款和整改决定,充分体现了依法治国的精神。

此案带给中国的另一个重要意义在于,它引发了世界反垄断格局的变化。欧美国家一直以反垄断先行者的身份对中国的反垄断执法工作进行评论和介绍经验,而高通案改变了这种模式。欧美国家开始追随我国反垄断执法部门的步伐启动对高通的调查,也在知识产权与反垄断的规则制定方面,开始与我国的反垄断执法机构进行经验交流和借鉴。

反垄断案件申报数量大增

10月20日,商务部新闻发言人沈丹阳对外披露,2015年前9个月,商务部收到经营者集中反垄断案件申报数、立案数和审结数大幅度增长,这与近两年并购案件数大幅增长有关。

数据显示,今年前9个月,商务部收到的案件申报共244件,同比增长了43.5%;立案247件,同比增长了49.7%;审结236件,同比增长42.2%。从审结案件情况看,制造业仍占据最大比例,约占60%。根据我国反垄断法、国务院《关于经营者集中申报标准的规定》等相关规定,达到申报标准的经营者集中,都必须事先向商务部进行申报,未申报的不得实施集中。

记者经过梳理,今年影响力较大的并购案包括:中国南车股份有限公司和中国北车股份有限公司吸收合并案、物美控股集团有限公司间接认购CMW(英国)有限公司增发股份并控股百安居中国、东风汽车集团股份有限公司与标致雪铁龙汽车公司新设合营企业案等。

一年查处5起行政垄断案件

2015年,首例行政垄断司法判决和史上最大反垄断执法罚单的产生,让我国的反垄断执法工作迈出了更加沉稳的一步。

10月15日,国家发改委秘书长李朴民对外透露,今年以来,国家发改委和省级价格主管部门查处经营者垄断案件10起,实施经济制裁66.05亿元。

更可喜的是,一直备受诟病的、拖反垄断执法"后腿"的反行政垄断执法工作开始进入高潮期。11月初,记者从国家发改委获悉,自反垄断法实施以来,发改委共查处行政垄断案件6起,其中2015年就达5起。

统计显示,这6起案件包括河北省交通厅、山东省交通厅、云南省通信管理局、安徽省蚌埠市卫计委、四川省卫计委、浙江省卫计委等政府部门实施的地方保护、指定交易、强制交易、制定含有排除和限制竞争内容的规定,违反反垄断法的相关规定,发改委对上述行政垄断的行为进行了依法纠正。

专家指出,目前,滥用行政权力排除限制竞争行为,在我国一些地方仍较为严重。行政垄断是垄断行为的一种重要表现形式,其实质是行政权利的滥用,这在很大程度上使得市场状态发生扭曲,危害和弱化了市场对资源的合理配置,阻碍了社会进步,破坏了公平的市场环境。而随着2015年查处行政垄断案件数量的激增,彰显了本届政府简政放权、促进市场公平竞争的坚定决心。2016年,值得期待。

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