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 2020 notes that he has "a solid theoretical background, which means he can handle different complex cases", while Legal 500 2020 lauds him for "his professionalism, proactive mentality and good communication ethos."

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, Croatian, Cypriot, French, Greek, Kosovo, Romanian, Russian and Slovenian competition authorities and Belgian, Bulgarian, Cypriot, French, Greek, Latvian, Spanish and Russian courts. He has particular experience in arbitration cases involving competition issues, and in private antitrust litigation cases in national courts.

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) and a member of the Executive Committee of the Global Competition Law Centre (GCLC) at the College of Europe. 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 successfully represented 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 Bulgarian, Croatian, Cypriot, Greek, Romanian and Slovenian 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.

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.

"Competition Law as a Tool to Regulate the EU Digital Economy?", Conference on Democracy and Human Rights in the Digital Age, organized by the College of Europe, Bruges, 19-20 February 2020

Moderator of the Session on "Regulation or Competition in the Digital Space: What’s Best for Consumers?", Conference on "Dynamic Competition in Dynamic Markets: A Path Forward", organized by Competition Policy International (CPI), Brussels, 24 October 2019 

"Sustainability and Competition Policy: Bridging two Worlds to Enable a Fairer Economy", Conference organized by the European Committee of the Regions, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Fair Trade Advocacy Office, the Global Competition Law Centre and University College London, Brussels, 24 October 2019

"European Perspectives and Modern Competition Compliance Tools for Companies (Compliance Plans, e-learning, Mock Dawn Raids, etc.", Evening Seminar, Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV), Athens, 30 May 2019

Moderator of the Session on "Remedies in Unilateral Conduct Cases", Unilateral Conduct Working Group, ICN Annual Conference, Cartagena, 14-17 May 2019

Moderator of the 108th Global Competition Law Centre (GCLC) lunch talk on "Implications of the German Facebook Decision", Brussels, 17 April 2019

Moderator of the Session on "Cartel Settlements and Policy Enforcement across the EU", European Consumer and Competition Day Conference, Romanian Presidency of the European Union, Bucharest, 4 April 2019

"The Ongoing Debate about the Goals of Competition Law: Fairness", Competition Law and Sustainability Conference, Organized by the Fair Trade Advocacy Office in partnership with the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), Brussels, 6 December 2018

"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

"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

Publications

Click here for a full list of publications.

Remedies in EU Competition Law: Substance, Process and Policy, Kluwer Law International, Alphen aan den Rijn, 2020 (Co-editor with Damien Gerard)

Fairness in EU Competition Policy: Significance and Implications, An Inquiry into the Soul and Spirit of Competition Enforcement in Europe, Bruylant, Brussels, 2020 (Co-editor with Damien Gerard and Denis Waelbroeck)" 

A Re-awakening of the Failing Firm Defense in the EU in the Aftermath of COVID-19? ", Competition Policy International (CPI) Europe Column, April 2020 (with Jan Jeram and Iakovos Sarmas), also published at SSRN

"Damages Actions in Article 102 TFEU Cases: The New Frontier for Private Enforcement", in: EU Competition Litigation, Transposition and First Experiences of the New Regime, Magnus Strand, Vladimir Bastidas & Marios C. Iacovides (Eds.), Hart Publishing, Oxford/Portland, Pages 155-171, 2019

"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

"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)

The Euro: Law, Politics, Economics, The British Institute of International and Comparative Law, London, 2003 (Co-editor with Jean-Victor Louis)

Awards and Recognition

Chambers Competition/European Law – Belgium, 2015-2020 

Chambers Foreign Expert for Greece, 2014-2020 

Chambers Corporate/Commercial – Greece, 2015 and 2016 

Recommended by Legal 500 – Competition: EU and Global 2020

GCR International Who's Who of Competition Lawyers for 2014-2020 

Who's Who Legal: Thought Leaders – Competition 2019 

Who's Who Legal: Life Sciences 2015-2020 

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