News & Insights

  • 20/03/2018
  • News

Van Bael & Bellis performs exceptionally well in Chambers Europe 2018 with top-tier rankings for its EU competition, international trade and life sciences practices

Van Bael & Bellis has been recognised once again for its exceptional expertise in Chambers Europe 2018, with the following notable results. Three of the firm’s practice areas...

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    • 14/02/2019
    • Articles

    Overview of the EU’s Single-Use Plastics Directive

    This client alert provides an overview of the EU’s forthcoming “Directive on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment”, otherwise known as the single-use plastics Directive. The Directive is expected to enter into force in late spring or early summer 2019 and will have a major impact on the future of the EU plastics market. It is important for both traders and manufacturers to understand how their businesses may be affected as the requirements of the Directive are phased in over the next two to five years.

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    • 13/02/2019
    • News

    Thibaut D’hulst and Darach Connolly quoted by Politico on the recent German Bundeskartellampt decision on Facebook

    Van Bael & Bellis counsel Thibaut D’hulst and associate Darach Connolly were quoted by Politico on the recent Facebook decision by the German competition authority – the Bundeskartellampt – which links data protection and competition law in a novel decision.

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    • 12/02/2019
    • Articles

    European Parliament Raises Issue of Alleged Excessive Pricing of Orphan Medicine

    In a response to two parliamentary questions of 6 February 2019, the member of the European Commission (the “Commission”) responsible for health and food safety Vytenis Andriukaitis announced that the case of chenodeoxycholic acid Leadiant (“CDCA”) will be taken on board in the European Commission’s ongoing assessment of the rules governing orphan medicines. According to the Commissioner, the case is also likely to inform competition investigations of possible excess pricing cases (see attached parliamentary questions and answer). CDCA is indicated for the treatment of patients afflicted with cerebrotendinous xanthomatosis, a rare metabolic disorder. These patients are unable to produce enough of the primary bile acid chenodeoxycholic acid. When primary bile acids are lacking, the body produces abnormal bile acids and other substances instead which accumulate throughout the body, causing damage. Because the number of patients with this condition is very limited, the disease is considered ‘rare’, and CDCA was designated as an orphan medicine in December 2014. CDCA is also a hybrid medicine in that it is similar to a reference medicine, Xenbilox, with the same active substance. However, Xenbilox differs from CDCA in that it is only authorised to dissolve cholesterol gallstones, an indication in use since the 1970s under the name Chenofalk. Leadiant Biosciences (“LB”), the marketing authorisation holder of CDCA, is accused of having monopolised chenodeoxycholic acid and then acquired the exclusive marketing rights associated with the orphan medicine designation of CDCA. The price for the medicine would have gone up considerably. According to one of the Members of Parliament who raised the issue, LB now charges EUR 140 per pill in specific markets, while the medicine cost 30 eurocents per pill when it was still sold as an anti-gallstone medicine. The accusation of excessive pricing is understood to be under review by the Dutch competition authority. The case raises a range of issues and themes that have recently come to the fore in political discussions across the European Union, including the status of orphan medicines; the tackling of excessive prices under the competition rules (the European Commission has not only started a procedure of its own in another file, but says it also supports various efforts of national competition authorities in that area); and possible cooperation among Member States with regard to medicine pricing and reimbursement, a controversial subject which the Commission stresses belongs to the exclusive competencies of the individual Member States.

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    • 11/02/2019
    • News

    Johan Van Acker nominated by GCR for competition lawyer of the year under 40

    Van Bael & Bellis partner Johan Van Acker has been nominated for a Global Competition Review (GCR) Award in the category of “Competition Lawyer of the Year – Under 40”. Johan Van Acker is one of eight nominees worldwide singled out by GCR as a “competition lawyer under the age of 40 whose superior technical skill, practical judgement and excellence in client service in 2018 demonstrate that he or she is among the very best in the field”. Voting for the GCR awards is now open (for GCR subscribers) until midnight, 22 February 2019 at the following link.

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    • 11/02/2019
    • News

    Porter Elliott and Johan Van Acker author chapter on “Merger control in the EU”

    Thomson Reuters have published their Practical Law guide on global merger control law, which features a chapter on “Merger control in the EU” authored by Van Bael & Bellis partners Porter Elliott and Johan Van Acker. This chapter answers the critical questions that typically arise in an EU merger control review with respect to the regulatory framework, jurisdictional thresholds, procedures and timetables, substantive test and remedies, amongst others. The chapter can be accessed here. Porter Elliott and Johan Van Acker are also the authors of the EU chapter of Merger Control: International Series, now in its third edition, for which Jean-François Bellis and Porter Elliott serve as General Editors. Jean-François Bellis and Porter Elliott are also the Contributing Editors of the 2019 Chambers Global Practice Guide for merger control.

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    • 06/02/2019
    • News

    Philippe De Baere speaks on the current crisis of the WTO dispute settlement system

    On 4 February, Philippe De Baere participated in a panel discussion entitled “How to ensure that dispute settlement contributes to the security and predictability of the multilateral trading system?”. The panel took place in the framework of the Conference “What kind of Dispute Settlement for the WTO?” organized by the World Trade Institute. The objective of the conference was to exchange views on how to overcome the current stalemate resulting from the refusal by the United States to appoint new Appellate Body members. You will find the program here.

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    • 05/02/2019
    • News

    Etsuko Kameoka speaks on EU competition law developments of importance for Japanese business

    On 1 February 2019, Van Bael & Bellis counsel Etsuko Kameoka spoke on recent developments in EU competition law significant for Japanese business at a monthly seminar organised by the Japanese Institute of International Business Law in Tokyo. Etsuko’s presentation covered recent investigations of the European Commission in the field of cartels, vertical restraints, abuse of dominant position, merger control – including gun-jumping cases – and legislative developments. Her presentation also covered the potential impact on competition law enforcement of Brexit as well as the elections of and appointments to the EU institutions in 2019.

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    • 04/02/2019
    • News

    Van Bael & Bellis promotes Thibaut D’hulst

    Van Bael & Bellis is pleased to announce the promotion of data protection, IT and IP specialist Thibaut D’hulst to Counsel. Thibaut joined Van Bael & Bellis in 2006. He assists clients in ensuring compliance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and also focuses on intellectual property, pharmaceutical law and competition law. Thibaut commented on his promotion: “My journey at Van Bael & Bellis has been filled with inspirational people and valuable learning experiences. I am grateful to my colleagues and to the partnership for this recognition and look forward to continuing to advance our practice.” Thibaut’s promotion within Van Bael & Bellis is recognition of the firm’s commitment to focus on new areas of growth, whilst maintaining their leading reputation in the areas of competition and international trade. Co-managing partners, Jean-François Bellis and Philippe De Baere commented: Van Bael and Bellis is a client-driven firm which has always brought in the talent necessary to provide the quality services our clients expect. Thibaut has developed a unique expertise in helping our clients structure their businesses in a compliant way that optimises the policy space under the EU’s rules on data protection and intellectual property. Van Bael & Bellis’ Brussels and Geneva offices now include 22 partners, 6 senior counsel, 6 counsel and 34 associates.

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    • 01/02/2019
    • News

    Belgian legal community pledges diversity & inclusion commitment through a unique new alliance

    On 31 January 2019, an event took place to launch the Legal Diversity & Inclusion Alliance (LDIA) at the Hotel Le Châtelain in Brussels. A joint initiative of law firms Steptoe and Van Bael & Bellis, the LDIA has 36 founding members: law firms with offices in Belgium that are committed to building a diverse and inclusive workplace in which everyone benefits from equal treatment and opportunities, irrespective of race, ethnic or social origin, gender or sexual orientation, age, disability, language, religion, political preference or any other grounds of personal discrimination. Member firms plan to work towards a diverse and inclusive workplace through exchanging good practices on diversity and inclusion, and to raise awareness of non-discrimination and diversity issues through jointly-organized events, workshops and training. LDIA Chair Kathleen Van Nuffel spearheaded the effort from Steptoe, a Washington, DC-based law firm, whilst LDIA Co-Chair Els Lagasse spearheaded the effort from Van Bael & Bellis. More information on the LDIA can be accessed here.

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