Assimakis Komninos

Partner, Brussels

Biography

“Very experienced, with deep analytical skills and an excellent market understanding.”
Chambers Global 2019

Overview

Assimakis advises on questions of EU and Greek competition law, EU business regulation, international arbitration, litigation and private international law. He has argued both of the only two competition preliminary reference cases to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) from Greece.

His practice focuses on complex cases of abuse of dominance, restrictive agreements and merger notifications, and he represents clients before the European Courts, the European Commission, national competition authorities, national courts and international arbitration tribunals.

Clients look to Assimakis for his proven track record and his ability to combine quietly resolving the most sensitive and complex investigations with aggressively litigating to achieve the necessary results. Chambers Global 2014 notes that he has "extensive experience and a deep understanding of competition law and economics."

Assimakis has acted before the ECJ 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 has also been 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), Public Power Corporation v. Commission (Greek lignites), EAEPC v. Commission (rejection of a complaint), representing GlaxoSmithKline, and Google v. Commission (Google Shopping), representing the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA). He also 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.

Assimakis has represented clients with excellent results in proceedings before the Albanian, Cypriot, French, Greek, Kosovo, Romanian and Russian competition authorities and Belgian, Bulgarian, Cypriot, French, Greek, Latvian, Spanish and Russian courts. He has particular experience in arbitration cases involving EU and national competition issues, and in private antitrust litigation cases in national courts. Notable clients include GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Nestlé/Nespresso, and Coca-Cola HBC.

Assimakis is a former Commissioner and Member of the Board of the Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC).

Assimakis is currently a visiting fellow of the Centre for Law and Governance in Europe at University College London (UCL), a member of the Executive Committee of the Global Competition Law Centre (GCLC) at the College of Europe and a senior associate fellow of the Institute for European Studies (IES) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels (VUB). He is a prolific writer on legal matters and 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).

Bars and Courts
Brussels Bar (E list)
Athens Bar (Greek Supreme Court)
Education
PhD
European University Institute

Italy

LLM
New York University School of Law

USA

LLM
Trinity College

University of Cambridge, UK

LLB
University of Athens

Greece

Languages
English
French
German
Greek
Italian

Experience

Merger clearance in Aegean/Olympic II
In a first for EU merger control, Assimakis achieved a significant success for Aegean Airlines before the European Commission, which cleared the Greek carrier's proposed acquisition of its rival Olympic Air. This was the second time the two companies had tried to merge, following Olympic/Aegean I, when the Commission prohibited the transaction. Assimakis, who co-led the team which handled the transaction, demonstrated his skill in dealing with one of the most challenging Phase II merger cases.

Abuse of dominance – excessive pricing – UK
Assimakis successfully advised a major pharmaceutical company in an excessive pricing case.

Abuse of dominance investigation – EU
Assimakis represents major technology companies in abuse of dominance investigations before the European Commission and the European Courts.

Mobile telephony – EU Phase II merger
Assimakis represented an international company active in mobile telephony in an EU merger Phase II filing.

Gas – EU Phase II merger
Assimakis advised a major energy company on questions of EU unbundling legislation and on EU merger rules in a Phase II case.

Abuse of dominance proceedings - Europe
Assimakis represented a major international company active in the coffee market in abuse of dominance proceedings, as well as in litigation in national courts and competition authorities.

Successful appeal against an EU State aid decision
Assimakis successfully represented a number of Greek casinos before the EU General Court, in an appeal against a European Commission State aid decision.

Abuse of dominance (margin squeeze) proceeding - Greece
Assimakis represents a major Greek mobile telephony company in abuse of dominance (margin squeeze) proceedings before the Hellenic Telecommunications and Post Commission (EETT).

Investigations in the soft drinks and milk markets – Greece, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Romania
Assimakis represented a major company active in the soft drinks and milk markets before the Greek, Bulgarian, Cypriot and Romanian authorities and courts.

Eurozone crisis
Assimakis has advised sovereign and corporate clients on the Eurozone crisis and on Euro-exit risks.

EU competition law and arbitration
Assimakis has worked in a number of major ICC arbitration cases involving EU competition law, notably in paramedical products, liquefied natural gas and digital TV services.

Information exchange case - Greece
Assimakis successfully represented an industry association in an information exchange investigation before the HCC, which was closed with a commitments decision.

Abuse of dominance proceeding - Kosovo
Assimakis successfully represented a company active in the cement industry before the Kosovo competition authority, in the first ever abuse of dominance proceeding. The company was acquitted.

Cartel proceeding - Albania
Assimakis successfully represented a company active in the cement industry before the Albanian competition authority. Full acquittal was attained.

EU competition compliance
Assimakis has conducted a number of EU competition compliance audits for major companies in the construction materials, cosmetics and food and drinks markets.

Excessive and unfair pricing practices by airports – UK, Cyprus
Assimakis has advised companies active in car rental services in cases involving airports' excessive pricing practices. He successfully represented a major car rental operator in a complaint against an airport before the Cypriot Competition Commission.

Advising on EU gambling rules – complaints to the European Commission
Assimakis has represented companies in complaints before the European Commission against EU Member States on State aid or freedom of establishment grounds.

Speaking Engagements

Click here for a full list of speaking engagements.

"Recent Developments on Abuse of Dominance (Qualcomm, Google-Android, MEO, etc.)", Les mardis du droit européen de la concurrence, ULB European Studies Institute, Brussels, 13 November 2018

"The EU Google Cases (Shopping and Android): A Few Critical Remarks and a Comparison of the Two Decisions", Lecture at the UCL Centre for Law, Economics and Society, London, 12 November 2018

"Competitive Advantage and Equality of Opportunities: The Creeping Domination of Two Extraneous Concepts in Article 102 Cases", 2018 UCL – White & Case Brussels Autumn Competition Law Conference, Brussels, 7 November 2018

"Excessive Pricing", Plenary Session, 2018 ICN Unilateral Conduct Workshop, Stellenbosch (South Africa), 1-2 November 2018

"The Impact of the Intel Ruling on Rebates, Exclusive Dealing, and Tying", 23rd Annual EU Competition Law and Policy Workshop on "Competition Assessments – Abuse of Dominance", Florence, 22-23 June 2018

"Neutrality Everywhere? Legal and Economic Perspectives", Second Chillin'Competition Conference, Brussels, 21 November 2016

Moderator at the Cartel Working Group Break-out Session on "Public and Private Enforcement", ICN Annual Conference, Singapore, 28 April 2016

"Antitrust Follow-on Damages Claims – Is there a True Potential for Arbitration?", 2nd Annual Global Arbitration review (GAR) Live event, Frankfurt, 3 June 2015

"Competition Law Limitations in the Cement Sector", 2014 Building Materials and Merchants Conference, organized by Redburn Access, London 23 October 2014

"Recent Cases and On-going Investigations", QED 2014 EU Competition Law Summit, Brussels, 11 September 2014

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

"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

Publications

Click here for a full list of publications.

"European Union: Pharmaceuticals", The European, Middle Eastern and African Antitrust Review 2020, GCR, July 2019 (with Jérémie Jourdan, James Killick, Strati Sakellariou-Witt, and Axel Schulz)

"Populism and Competition Law Enforcement: Challenges and a Possible Idea worth Exploring", Competition Law Insight, May 2018

"Intel: the ECJ Finally Speaks - Time to Listen!", Competition Law & Policy Debate, 2018(2), pp. 42-50

"Excessive Pricing in the Pharmaceutical Market – How the CAT Shot Down the CMA's Pfizer/Flynn Case", Journal of European Competition Law & Practice, 2018(8), pp. 530-536 (with James Killick)

"Arbitration and Damages Claims Based on Competition Law Infringements", Liber Amicorum Ian S. Forrester QC LLD, A Scot without Borders, Volume II, Sir David Edward, Jacquelyn MacLennan & Assimakis Komninos (Eds.), Concurrences Review, New York, pp. 201-217, 2015

"Efficiency Defences in Abuse of Dominance Cases: Introduction", Concurrences, 2014(2), art. n° 65382

"The 'As Efficient Competitor Test' after Post Danmark: Emphasis on Margin Squeeze", Concurrences, 2013(3), pp. 24–27 (with Stratigoula Sakellariou)

"Abuse of a Dominant Position", Competition Law, Dimitris N. Tzouganatos (Ed.), Nomiki Vivliothiki, Athens, pp. 455–542, 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, pp. 191–222, 2011

"Arbitration and EU Competition Law in the Post-Modernisation Era", EU and US Antitrust Arbitration, Gordon Blanke & Phillip Landolt (Eds.), Kluwer Law International, Alphen aan den Rijn, pp. 433–487, 2011

"IP Rights in the EU Microsoft Saga", Competition Law and the Enforcement of Article 102, Federico Etro & Ioannis Kokkoris (Eds.), Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 83–98, 2010 (with Katarzyna Czapracka)

"EC Competition Law and Parallel Trade in Pharmaceutical Products", The Reform of EC Competition Law, New Challenges, Ioannis Kokkoris & Ioannis Lianos (Eds.), Kluwer Law International, Alphen aan den Rijn, pp. 377–408, 2010 (with Anthony Dawes)

EC Private Antitrust Enforcement, Decentralised Application of EC Competition Law by National Courts, Hart Publishing, Oxford/Portland, 2008

EC Competition Law: A Critical Assessment, Hart Publishing, Oxford/Portland, 2007 (Associate Editor; General Editors Giuliano Amato & Claus-Dieter Ehlermann)

Awards and Recognition

Chambers Global: Notable Practitioner

Chambers Competition/European Law – Belgium, 2015-2018

Chambers Foreign Expert for Greece, 2014-2018

Chambers Corporate/Commercial – Greece, 2015 and 2016

Recommended by Legal 500 – Competition: EU and Global 2015 and 2016

GCR International Who's Who of Competition Lawyers for 2014-2018

Who's Who Legal: Thought Leaders – Competition 2019

Who's Who Legal: Life Sciences 2015-2018

Winner of the Client Choice Award 2015 for the Competition & Antitrust category for European Union