GCR Awards 2023 nominations confirm Hausfeld's global antitrust strength

Each year Global Competition Review (GCR) honours the world’s leading lawyers, economists, enforcers and academics working on the biggest antitrust cases. A series of team, firm and individual awards celebrate their achievements. On 24 January, the award shortlists were announced.

Three Hausfeld matters feature in the ‘Litigation of the year - Non-cartel prosecution’ category, where GCR recognises creative, strategic and innovative litigation on behalf of plaintiffs in a non-cartel private action. The German team setting precedent in Immowelt v Immoscout; the US team acting as co-lead counsel for a class of app developers in In re Google Play Store Antitrust Litigation (N.D. Cal.), and securing preliminary approval for a $90 million settlement; and the UK team representing Which? in a standalone class action claim against Qualcomm with the support of economists Oxera, were shortlisted.

In the ‘Enforcement action of the year’ category, GCR lists the best decision or enforcement action from a competition authority or court in 2022. Members of the Hausfeld team in Germany were counsel to several parties who intervened in the EU General Court’s Google Android case.

GCR describes these nominations as follows:

Immowelt v Immoscout

Online property platform Immowelt secured the first injunction granted by a German court in February 2022 under new competition rules preventing the so-called tipping of digital markets. The German legislator introduced new amendments to the country’s competition law in 2021, which included a provision allowing for injunctive relief to reduce the risk of a multi-sided market tipping in favour of a company. In the first case to be concluded under this new provision, Immowelt applied to the Regional Court of Berlin for injunctive relief against ImmoScout24’s property platform. The claimant alleged ImmoScout24granted discounts to customers who listed a certain share of their real estate advertisements exclusively on the platform. The lawsuit has led to three different chambers of the regional court and an appellate court ruling in favour of the claimant to halt the conduct.

In re Google Play Developer Antitrust Litigation

In one of the most high-profile private litigation settlements of 2022, Google agreed to pay $90 million to approximately48,000 Android app developers that earn less than $2 million in annual revenue from its Google Play Store. The class action stems from Epic Games’ lawsuit challenging Google’s charging of 30% commission on all sales for developers that wanted access to its Play Store. The technology company acknowledged the lawsuit filed in 2020 was the catalyst for reducing its fee on developers to 15%. The online search company also allowed developers to notify customers of cheaper sales alternatives through their own websites as part of the settlement agreement. For more info.

Which? v Qualcomm

Consumer rights group Which? won a key battle in its £480 million standalone class action claim against Qualcomm in May 2022 when the UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal certified its sixth opt-out collective action. Following a three-day hearing at the end of March 2022, the CAT ruled the claimant’s methodology for calculating damages was grounded in factual evidence, while rejecting claims from the chipmaker that the lawsuit relied on “empty promises” from the claimant’s economic expert. The claim is among the first tranche of standalone abuse of dominance lawsuits before the tribunal and further tested the threshold that the CAT should apply to expert evidence when certifying such class action claims. For more info.

EU General Court’s Google Android judgment

In its second decision upholding the European Commission’s abuse of dominance allegations against Google, the EU General Court confirmed the vast majority of the enforcer’s findings that Google imposed a series of anticompetitive contractual provisions on manufacturers that prevented them from preinstalling rival applications on Android devices. The court fully adopted the agency’s dominance findings, rejected Google’s contention that the infringement decision lacked “commercial realism” and supported the commission’s arguments that the restrictions were not objectively justified. It did, however, lower Google’s €4.3 billion fine by over €200 million due to procedural and substantive errors relating to the enforcer’s exclusivity allegations. For more info.

The winners will be announced at GCR’s 13th Annual Awards Ceremony on 28 March in Washington, DC.

In the meantime, readers are invited to vote for the cases, law firms, lawyers and enforcers they believe excelled in 2022. Deadline is 8.00 am on 6 February 2023.

Thank you for voting!