Philips Secures Dismissal of Abuse of Dominance Proceedings

May 27, 2021

Cleary Gottlieb successfully represented Philips S.p.A., Philips Innovations S.p.A. (formerly Philips Saeco S.p.A.), Philips Medical Systems Nederland B.V., and the parent company Koninklijke Philips N.V. (Philips) in proceedings before the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) relating to the alleged existence of an abuse of a dominant position in the market of maintenance of high-tech diagnostic imaging devices (e.g., CTs and MRs), obtaining the complete dismissal of the case.

The proceedings involved a similar investigation against companies of the GE and Siemens groups, also in relation to which no infringement was ascertained.

The proceedings were initiated by the ICA in January 2018, following a complaint by Althea Group S.p.A. (formerly Pantheon Healthcare Group), a company active in the provision of integrated medical device management and maintenance services. The proceedings alleged that Philips, GE, and Siemens had implemented, each with respect to their own brand devices, exclusionary strategies aimed at hindering the provision of maintenance services by parties other than the manufacturers and consisting, among other things, in the refusal to provide access to service software and other information resources and the refusal to supply spare parts.

As regards Philips, the ICA has, on one hand, denied the existence of a refusal conduct relating to access to the maintenance software of the so-called minimum set and the supply of spare parts and, on the other hand, has certified the full legitimacy on the antitrust level of Philips’ policy of reserving access to the maintenance software of the so-called advanced set to its technicians and business partners, as an object of the intellectual property of Philips and in any case not indispensable for third parties to carry out maintenance activities on Philips’ devices.