Since the country’s accession to the European Union, any business activity undertaken in Poland has been made subject to additional requirements concerning the protection of competition and consumers. To avoid severe penalties, entrepreneurs who are planning to grow their business and operate on ever more competitive markets have to take account of increasingly complex questions concerning competition and consumer protection.
To address such expectations and business needs of our clients, we offer comprehensive legal advice in the following areas:
- ensuring legal compliance of planned market activities,
- preventing violations of competition law and consumer law,
- mitigating adverse effects of potential violations.
We advise players from various sectors of the economy on all questions related to business operations in the context of the competition and consumer protection law.
We represent our clients in proceedings before the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK), and in potential appeal proceedings before courts, both in cases commenced in connection with their activities and in those initiated by other market participants.
We provide advice on:
- anti-competitive behaviour, including the prohibition to enter into restrictive agreements and to abuse dominant position,
- concentration control,
- consumer protection,
- unfair competition control,
- definition and implementation of antitrust compliance programmes.
The applicable regulations prohibit any agreements that are aimed at or result in eliminating, restricting or otherwise undermining competition on a given market. The abuse of a dominant market position is also prohibited. In order to mitigate the risk associated with the breach of these regulations, the competition law perspective has to be always taken into account in the relations with the company’s business partners and competitors, also when it comes to the exchange of commercial information.
SSW advises its clients on:
- definition and review of distribution models and commercial agreements,
- exchange of commercially sensitive information,
- assessment of the compliance of undertaken and planned activities (both by the clients and their competitors) with regulations prohibiting the abuse of a dominant market position.
In addition, we advise companies affected by competition law violations, leveraging new legal instruments introduced by the Act on Private Enforcement of Competition Law of 21 April 2017.
We advise clients on all aspects related to mergers and acquisitions. In this area we:
- provide opinions as to the existence of the obligation to notify an intended business concentration to the President of UOKiK,
- collect information from parties to the transaction and prepare the necessary documentation,
- represent our clients in concentration proceedings.
For many years we have been advising entrepreneurs in their relations with consumers, specifically taking into account the requirements resulting from the regulations on distance and off-premises contracts.
We draft or provide opinions on the following documents:
- general terms and conditions of sales agreements and service agreements,
- rules of e.g. marketing campaigns, which embrace all the relevant requirements of the consumer protection law, personal data protection, telecommunication law and regulations concerning digitally-provided services.
Unfair Competition Control
We advise our clients and represent them before common courts in connection with acts of unfair competition. An act of unfair competition means an illegal or immoral behaviour which threatens or compromises the interests of another entrepreneur or a client, and may consist in, among other things:
- misleading designation of the company or products (services),
- breach of trade secret,
- product imitation,
- dishonest advertising,
- hindering access to the market.
We represent clients both as regards the selection and formulation of relevant claims, as well as in the definition of comprehensive strategies of defence against unfair competition allegations.
Antitrust Compliance Programmes
Antitrust compliance programmes are the collections of principles and rules of conduct implemented by entrepreneurs in order to ensure the compliance of all processes in a given organisation with the competition law regulations. We offer both a “global” approach, encompassing all the processes in the organisation, as well as a sectoral one focusing on most sensitive areas such as supplier relations, exchange of commercially sensitive information, membership in industry organisations or participation in a public contract procurement procedure as a part of a consortium. We perform a comprehensive antitrust risk analyses, carry out simulated dawn raids, provide dedicated training and develop appropriate internal documentation.
- Major global energy industry groups: Representation in concentration proceedings on the national and international level (also exterritorial).
- Leading global energy industry player: Definition and implementation of a comprehensive antitrust compliance programme, including the design and review of distribution and direct sales systems and structures (including agreements, customer communication), design and review of loyalty programmes, pricing policies, discount schemes and financial support schemes, design or review of business guidelines with respect to relations with competitors, review of activities and corporate documentation of industry organisations and associations with the client’s participation.
- Leading, global furniture accessories company: Design or review of distribution structures, including agreements, customer communication, discount schemes and financial aid schemes.
- Cement industry manufacturer: Advice regarding the permissibility and principles for sharing confidential commercial information within a group.
- Leading spirits industry player: Opinion on the potential competition law violation by main competitors through the reservation of retail space and application of exclusivity clauses.
- Leading medical equipment manufacturer: Analysis of practices from the point of view of regulations prohibiting the abuse of a dominant position, including a refusal to supply.
- Leading spirits and waste industry players: Ongoing advice to ensure compliance of the operations and distribution and sales agreements with the competition law.
- Leading international energy group: Advice during numerous investigations carried out by the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection.
- Leading retail chain: Preparation of the rules of a promotional campaign and loyalty card programme, specifically taking into account the requirements resulting from the regulations on the protection of consumer rights, digitally-provided services and personal data protection.
- One of the largest manufacturers of game consoles: Advice on voucher sale mechanisms, including the revision of consumer communication materials.
- Global payment card issuer: Review of a multi-jurisdiction rules for an online shopping payment system from the point of view of Polish legal regulations (consumer rights, prohibited contractual clauses).
- Leading global energy industry operator: Review of numerous rules for competitions, lotteries and other marketing campaigns.
- Developer from the capital group of a leading domestic manufacture of prefabricated concrete: Representation in proceedings concerning the use of practices infringing on the collective consumer interests, as well as in proceedings before the Competition and Consumer Protection Court for pronouncing the standard contract clauses to be abusive.