Assimakis (Makis) Komninos advises on questions of EU and Greek competition law, EU law, international arbitration and litigation and private international law. His practice focuses on complex cases of abuse of dominance, restrictive agreements and merger notifications, arising before the European Commission, national competition authorities and national courts and arbitration tribunals. He combines quietly resolving the most sensitive and complex investigations with aggressively litigating to achieve the necessary results.
He rejoined White & Case in September 2011 after serving for two years between 2009 and 2011 as a Commissioner and Member of the Board of the Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC). As a Commissioner, he sat on the HCC Board in over twenty antitrust and merger cases. He also headed the Greek delegation at OECD and ICN meetings. In 2010 he was appointed by the Minister of Development a member of the Group of Experts that worked on the preparation of the 2011 new Greek Competition Act.
He acted before the European Court of Justice in Syfait v. GlaxoSmithKline
and Lélos v. GlaxoSmithKline
(parallel trade of pharmaceuticals - abuse of dominance), and in GlaxoSmithKline Services v. Commission
(parallel trade of pharmaceuticals - Article 101). He was also involved before the EU General Court in Microsoft v. Commission
(compulsory licensing of interoperability information), GlaxoSmithKline Services v. Commission
(parallel trade of pharmaceuticals - application of Article 101), Chalkor Metal Works v. Commission
(copper plumbing tubes) and Public Power Corporation v. Commission
(Greek lignites). Dr. Komninos successfully represented Aegean Airlines in Aegean/Olympic II
, which resulted in the European Commission clearing the deal in a Phase II proceeding. This was the first time that the Commission cleared a merger after it had previously prohibited it.
He has also represented or advised clients in proceedings before the Albanian, Cypriot, French, Greek, Kosovo and Romanian competition authorities and Belgian, Bulgarian, Cypriot, French, Greek, Latvian and Spanish appellate courts, and has particular expertise in arbitration cases involving EU and national competition issues and in private antitrust litigation cases in national courts.
Dr. Komninos is currently a visiting fellow of the Centre for Law and Governance in Europe at University College London (UCL), where he teaches EU competition law, and a senior associate fellow of the Institute for European Studies (IES) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels (VUB). He often gives speeches and seminars on EU competition law, arbitration and Greek law and is a non-governmental advisor to the International Competition Network (ICN).
Other matters in which Dr. Komninos has been involved include:
- Representing an international energy company in a Phase II EU merger proceeding.
- Successfully representing a company active in the cement industry before the Kosovo competition authority in an abuse of dominance proceeding.
- Advising a major energy company on questions of EU unbundling legislation and on EU merger rules.
- Successfully representing a number of Greek casinos before the EU General Court in an appeal against a State aid decision.
- Advising companies on EU gambling rules.
- Successfully representing a company active in the cement industry before the Albanian competition authority.
- Advising a major international company active in the coffee market in abuse of dominance proceedings and litigation in national courts and competition authorities.
- Advising companies active in car rental services in cases involving excessive pricing practices by airports.
- Representing a major Greek mobile telephony company in an abuse of dominance (margin squeeze) proceeding before the Hellenic Telecommunications and Post Commission (EETT).
- Representing a major company active in the soft drinks market before the Greek courts.
- Advising sovereign and corporate clients on the Eurozone crisis and on Euro-exit risks.
- Representing an international company active in mobile telephony in an EU merger filing.
- Successfully representing a Greek company active in the salted snacks market in a complaint before the HCC against a dominant company.
- Working on the legal defence of Rambus's European Commission case on the alleged failure to disclose patents in the context of standard-setting for "Dynamic Random Access Memory" chips (DRAMS).
- Advising major pharmaceutical companies on their distribution systems.
- Working on the EU competition law side in two major ICC arbitration cases involving liquefied natural gas supply and digital TV services.
- Advising a non EU government on EU agricultural policy issues, in particular on imports of butter to the EU.
- Conducting EU competition compliance audits for major companies in the construction materials, cosmetics and food and drinks markets.
- Advising a bank on questions of EU state aid law and on their relevance to an ICC arbitration proceeding.
He is recognized in the "Spotlight Table" in Chambers Global for EU Competition law and Corporate/Commercial Greece and is listed in GCR’s International Who’s Who of Competition Lawyers for 2014 and 2015 and in Who’s Who Legal: Life Sciences 2015. Dr. Komninos is the winner of the Client Choice Award 2015 for the Competition & Antitrust category for the European Union. Clients describe him as “…an experienced and knowledgeable attorney who is capable of delivering high-quality services – with a good understanding of the case and relevant legal texts and contacts at EU level – even within very limited timeframes,” and say, “His work ethic is exceptional; an excellent counsel." (International Law Office – Client Choice Awards
Bars and Courts
Brussels Bar (E list), 2004
Athens Bar (Greek Supreme Court), 1997
LLB, University of Athens, Greece, summa cum laude, 1988-1992
LLM, Trinity College, University of Cambridge, UK, Onassis Foundation Scholar, 1993-1994
LLM, New York University School of Law, USA, Onassis Foundation & Fulbright Scholar, 1994-1995
PhD, European University Institute, Italy, 1998-2003
Professional & Academic Associations
Academic Society for Competition Law (ASCOLA)
European Law Institute (ELI)
Hellenic Branch of the International Law Association (ILA)
Hellenic Association of European Law
International Bar Association (IBA)
Member of the Advisory Committee of the Competition and Regulation European Summer School (CRESSE)
Selected Recent Publications
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EC Private Antitrust Enforcement, Decentralised Application of EC Competition Law by National Courts, Hart Publishing, Oxford/Portland, 2008
Associate Editor, EC Competition Law: A Critical Assessment, Hart Publishing, Oxford/Portland, 2007 (General Editors: Giuliano Amato & Claus-Dieter Ehlermann)
Co-editor, The Euro: Law, Politics, Economics, The British Institute of International and Comparative Law, London, 2003 (with Jean-Victor Louis)
"Changing Mind in Changed Circumstances: Aegean/Olympic II and the Failing Firm Defence." Journal of European Competition Law & Practice, 5(9), Pages 605-615, 2014 (with Jan Jeram)
"The 'As Efficient Competitor Test’ after Post Danmark: Emphasis on Margin Squeeze," Concurrences, 2013(3), Pages 24-27 (with Stratigoula Sakellariou)
"Abuse of a Dominant Position," Competition Law, Dimitris N. Tzouganatos (Ed.), Nomiki Vivliothiki, Athens, Pages 455-542, 2013 (with Ioannis Lianos) (in Greek)
"Non-pricing Abuses," Competition Law, Dimitris N. Tzouganatos (Ed.), Nomiki Vivliothiki, Athens, Pages 543-642, 2013 (with Ioannis Lianos) (in Greek)
"Arbitration and EU Competition Law", International Antitrust Litigation, Conflict of Laws and Coordination, Jürgen Basedow, Stéphanie Francq & Laurence Idot (Eds.), Hart Publishing, Oxford/Portland, Pages 191-222, 2011
"Arbitration and EU Competition Law in the Post-Modernisation Era," EU and US Antitrust Arbitration, Blanke & Landolt (Eds.), Kluwer Law International, Alphen aan den Rijn, Pages 433-487, 2011
"IP Rights in the EU Microsoft Saga," Competition Law and the Enforcement of Article 102, Etro & Kokkoris (Eds.), Oxford University Press, Oxford, Pages 83-98, 2010 (with Katarzyna Czapracka)
"EC Competition Law and Parallel Trade in Pharmaceutical Products," The Reform of EC Competition Law, New Challenges, Kokkoris & Lianos (Eds.), Kluwer Law International, Alphen aan den Rijn, Pages 377-408, 2010 (with Anthony Dawes)
"Quantifying Antitrust Damages: Towards Non-binding Guidance for Courts," Study Prepared for the European Commission, December 2009 (with Oxera and Walter Beckert, Eric van Damme, Mathias Dewatripont, Julian Franks, Adriaan ten Kate & Patrick Legros)
"Chapter 10: The Procedure Before the Commission," Competition Law of the European Community, Valentine Korah (Ed.), Matthew Bender, New York, Pages 10-1 – 10-121, 2009 (with Anthony Dawes)
"A Missed Opportunity: Why the Guidance Paper Does not Increase Predictability or Advance the Debate," Concurrences, 2009(2), Pages 23-26 (with James Killick)
"Arbitration and Damages Actions post-White Paper: Four Common Misconceptions," Global Competition Litigation Review, 2(1), Pages 16-28, 2009 (with Markus Burianski)
"The EU White Paper for Damages Actions: A First Appraisal," Concurrences, 2008(2) Pages 84-92
"Effect of Commission Decisions on Private Antitrust Litigation: Setting the Story Straight," Common Market Law Review, 44(5), Pages 1387-1428, 2007
"Article 234 EC and National Competition Authorities in the Era of Decentralization," European Law Review, 29(1), Pages 106-114, 2004
"New Prospects for Private Enforcement of EC Competition Law: Courage v. Crehan and the Community Right to Damages," Common Market Law Review, 39(3), Pages 447-487, 2002
Selected Recent Speaking Engagements
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"Object v. Effect and Formalism v. Effects-based Analysis in EU Competition Law," University of Vilnius, Vilnius, 11 December 2014
"Philosophy and Principles Governing a Modern Competition Authority," Lithuanian Competition Council, Vilnius, 10 December 2014
"Arbitration and EU Law: Emphasis on Competition Law and on Recent BIT Cases," Lecture at the "A to Z Training on Arbitration in the EU: A Belgian Perspective," organized by the Association for International Arbitration (AIA), Brussels, 27 November 2014
"Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Office of the Chief Competition Economist," Compass Lexecon Competition Law Forum, Cernobbio, Lake Como, 24-25 October 2014
"Competition Law Limitations in the Cement Sector," 2014 Building Materials and Merchants Conference, organised by Redburn Access, London 23 October 2014
"Recent Cases and On-going Investigations," QED 2014 EU Competition Law Summit, Brussels, 11 September 2014
"Moderator of the Special Policy Plenary Session on "Competition Policy in BRICS: Development and Challenges", 9th International CRESSE Conference on Competition and Regulation, Corfu, 5 July 2014
"Restrictions by Object and Article 101 TFEU”, 8th International Conference on “New Challenges in Competition Law Enforcement," organised by the Institute of Studies in Competition Law and Policy (IMEDIPA) with the support of the Turkish Competition Authority, Istanbul, 6 June 2014
"Private Enforcement of European Competition Law and Arbitration: What the New Damages Directive Means for Arbitrators," Association for International Arbitration (AIA) International Conference on “Entrusting Antitrust Issues to Arbitration”, Brussels, 19 May 2014
Speaker at the conference on "The Repair of Competition Harms in France and in Europe: State of Art and Future Changes," organised by the DANTE, in partnership with the Paris Commercial Court, the French Association for Competition Studies (AFEC), the International League of Competition Law (LIDC), the Observatory on Commercial Practices and Competition (OP2C) and the M2 Contracts and Competitions Alumni Association (AMCO), Paris, 13 May 2014
Keynote speaker at the Leiden Law Exchange (LLX) meeting on "the EU Draft Directive on Actions for Damages," organized by the Europa Institute of the University of Leiden, Leiden, 14 March 2014
"Private Antitrust Enforcement in Europe and the Shape of Things to Come," Conference on “Litigating EU Competition Law Issues before Arbitrators and Judges”, organized by LUMSA University, Rome, 8 November 2013
Moderator of Panel on "EU Competition Law before Arbitrators," Conference on "Litigating EU Competition Law Issues before Arbitrators and Judges," organized by LUMSA University, Rome, 8 November 2013
Panellist in the session on "Collective redress, Consensual Settlements, and other Incentive Devices," 9th Global Competition Law Centre (GCLC) Annual Conference on "Antitrust Damages in EU Law and Policy," Brussels, 7 November 2013
Moderator of Panel on "Restrictions of Competition by Object: The Changing Landscape," Academy of European Law (ERA), Brussels, 25 October 2013
"Control of Awards by Courts on Competition Law Grounds," Session on "Abuse and Use of Antitrust Issues in Arbitration," 2013 Annual Conference of the International Bar Association (IBA), Boston, 7 October 2013
"Independence of Competition Authorities in Law and in Practice," European Competition Day Conference organized by the Lithuanian Competition Council in the context of the 2013 Lithuanian Presidency of the European Union, Vilnius, 3 October 2013.
"The Recent Restructuring Drive and Competition Law", 7th International Conference on Competition Law and Policy, Institute of Studies in Competition Law and Policy (IMEDIPA), Athens, 7 June 2013
"EU Private Antitrust Enforcement: Retrospective and Prospective", Seminar on "Recent Case Law in Antitrust and the UCP Practice in Member States", organised by the OECD-GVH Regional Centre for Competition, Budapest, 17 April 2013
"Arbitration and Competition Law: Where Are We Now? - The Enforcement of Awards by National Courts", Annual Global Competition Law Review (GCLR) Conference, Brussels, 13 November 2012
"Private Enforcement: Specific Issues before the National Courts", European Competition Day Conference organised by the Cypriot Commission for the Protection of Competition in the context of the 2012 Cypriot Presidency of the European Union, Nicosia, 2 October 2012
"Latest Developments in Abuse of Dominance and the Role of National Competition Authorities", 6th International Conference on Competition Law and Policy, Institute of Studies in Competition Law and Policy (IMEDIPA), Bucharest, 28 June 2012
Speaker at Break-out Session of the Unilateral Conduct Working Group's Special Project on Settlements, 11th ICN Annual Conference, Rio de Janeiro, 19 April 2012
"After-markets and Article 102 TFEU", Conference of the Institute of Studies in Competition Law and Policy (IMEDIPA) on Specific Cases of Abuse of Dominant Position, Athens, 20 February 2012
"Arbitrating Antitrust Law Controversies in the Energy Sector", C5 Conference on Antitrust and Regulatory Risks in the Energy Sector, Munich, 25 January 2012
"The Impact of Private Enforcement on Leniency and on Cartel Investigations", speaker in the plenary session, ICN Cartel Workshop 2011, Bruges, 12 October 2011
"Relationship between Public and Private Enforcement," Integrating Public and Private Enforcement of Competition Law: Implications for Courts and Agencies, 16th EU Competition Law and Policy Workshop, Florence, 17-18 June 2011
Moderator of Break-out Session on "Investigating a Loyalty Discounts & Rebates Program," 10th ICN Annual Conference, The Hague, 20 May 2011
Chairman of Sessions III and IV of the Second Topic, "The Judicial Application of Competition Law," FIDE Congress, Madrid, 5 November 2010
"Pricing Policies for Pharmaceuticals in Europe and their Impact upon Parallel Importation," 81st Pharmaceutical Trade Marks Group Conference, Athens, 30 September 2010
"Parallel Trade Issues - The GlaxoSmithKline Cases and What They Mean for the Pharmaceutical Industry and Other Sectors," IBC Conference on Dominance and Pricing in Europe 2009, Brussels, 11 February 2009