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Anti-Trust Law in Poland: Violation of Competition Law by National Forest

Added on -2019-09-18

This article discusses the violation of competition law by National Forest in Poland and the legal actions that can be taken against it. It explains the concept of onerous contract terms and the abuse of dominant position under the Competition Law. The article cites relevant cases and provisions of the law to support its arguments.
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Anti-Trust Law 1Anti Trust Law in PolandIn this case, National Forest has violated the principles of Anti-trust (Antimonopoly Act) 1987, whichprohibits specific practices and monopolistic agreements. Article 8 of the Act [ CITATION Mat13 \l 1033 ]prohibits actions, which “impose, without any reasonable explanation, onerous contract terms that yield undue benefits to economic unit that imposes them” The action against NF therefore can be brought against NF by the private enforcement of Competition law wherein the dominant company has brought in restrictive trade practice by imposing unfair terms and conditions. In the present case, NF has abused its dominant position under the Competition Law by imposing unnecessary conditions on the furniture production business, thereby attracting the provisions of the Act. In this case, since the market share of NF is 70%,[ CITATION Szy15 \l 1033 ] it can be characterized as having a dominant share in the market. Hence, imposing onerous terms, or what the party conceives to be onerous is prohibited under the Competition Law of Poland. The abuse of dominance occurs in the contracts having both objective and subjective dimensions. While subjective onerous contracts include what is perceived by the party, objective onerous terms include where the party would not accept the terms under competitive market conditions. [ CITATION Mat13 \l 1033 ]. The claimant in this case, did not accept the conditions of the contract and hence was willing to contract with NF if there were no conditions attached to it. The case of Przedsiębiorstwo Państwowe Porty Lotnicze[ CITATION Prz10 \l 1033 ] is an apt one where the Court of Appeals assessed as to whatconstitutes onerous agreement terms and conditions. The court while holding that application to equivalent transactions with third parties those terms and conditions which are not homogenous agreement terms and conditions, thus creating for these parties diversified conditions of competitions”.Although in the above cases, abuse of dominant position refers to cases of competition, the same can be applied to restrictive trade practices under Unfair Market Practices Act, 2007. The Civil chamber of the Supreme Court dealt with the question of unfair practices in the case of Skarb Panstwa-Nadlesnictwo Dobrzejewice V Torunskie Przedsiebiorstwo Przemyslu Drzewnego SA, [ CITATION III08 \l 1033 ]wherein conditions were laid down that the parties enter into a contract thereby agreeing to write off the bad debts. The Claimant stated that the contract be held invalid as it led to abuse of dominant position by the defendant. While the case was dismissed by the lower court, the matter was taken up by the Supreme Court. Here it was held that while abuse of dominant position is equivalent to restricted competition, holding any legal activity as ineffective would mean protection of private interests which is violated as a result of abuse of dominant position. In answer to the second part of the question, an action can be against by applying the provisions of theCombating Unfair Competition Act, 2003 as it refers to the enforcement of competition law in Poland.

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