Informationsaustausch nach US-Recht

Wie unterscheiden sich die Kriterien für einen zulässigen Informationsaustausch nach US- und EU-Recht? Im Grundsatz erheblich (in der Praxis immer weniger). Wenn Sie Einzelheiten interessieren, FTC-Commissioner Thomas Rosch hat 2011 einen interessanten Vortrag zur Lage nach US-Recht gehalten: “Antitrust Issues Related to Benchmarking and Other Information Exchanges”.

(Roschs Amtszeit endet im September, er will nicht verlängern.)

Rosch ging dort kurz auf den Abschnitt der EU-Mitteilung zu horizontalen Wettbewerbsbeschränkungen zum Informationsaustausch ein, den er so kommentiert:

As I see it, the problem with this approach is that the Guidelines cut too broad a swath. They describe “strategic information” as being “related to prices (for example, actual prices, discounts, increases, reductions or rebates), customer lists, production costs, quantities, turnovers, sales, capacities, qualities, marketing plans, risks, investments, technologies and R&D programmes and their results,” and regard information related to prices and quantities as “the most strategic, followed by information about costs and demand.” If firms were to refrain from exchanging “strategic information” on price or cost, heeding the caution from the Guidelines, then neither they nor the consumers may be able to realize the procompetitive benefits of such exchanges. This is not the kind of outcome that public law enforcement officers should want to achieve.

Aber in einem Punkt liegen die Kartellbehörden hier und da gleichauf:

Although cartel enforcement remains the highest priority at the Antitrust Division (as it should), in my view there is little “low-hanging fruit”—that is, the pure price-fixing conspiracies that take place in smoke-filled rooms—left in the stable of cases under investigation and prosecution. As a result, the Antitrust Division has been bringing more cases involving conduct in the “gray zone,” such as exchanges of price information.

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