Sweden recently amended its Competition Act with regards to the “marker” system and the “stop the clock” powers of the Swedish Competition Authority. Marker system In order for a company to receive leniency in Sweden, it has previously been required by the company to submit relatively detailed information about the cartel to the Swedish Competition Authority (“SCA”). This meant that companies had to submit extensive information without knowing for sure whether they qualified for leniency. As from 1 August 2014, Sweden have (as in the ECN leniency model program) a “marker” system for leniency applications, meaning that only some basic information regarding participation in a cartel will have to be provided at first and that extension of time is given for additional information. It will of course still be possible to submit a complete leniency notification directly, but the marker system will make it easier for companies to have an initial discussion with the SCA regarding which information will have to be provided to benefit companies that want to “do the right thing”. Furthermore, it is now also possible for the SCA to allow respite period for companies to obtain additional evidence proving that an infringement of the competition legislation has occurred. This situation is not covered by the marker system in the ECN leniency model program. Stop the clock As from 1 August 2014, the SCA is empowered to stop the clock where a party has not complied with an injunction by the SCA to submit requested information for a merger notification. This applies to both phase 1 and phase 2 investigations. Furthermore the SCA may now also stop the clock in phase 1 on request by the parties in the merger. Previously, this was only possible during phase 2. It will be up to the SCA to decide whether the clock should be stopped and, after consultation with the parties, the duration of the stop period. Since a decision to stop the clock will only be taken in connection with an injunction to submit requested information, which can be appealed, it will not be possible to separately appeal a decision to stop the clock.
Caroline Khattar Boström is an associate in Baker McKenzie's Stockholm office. She works on matters related to competition law, state aid, public procurement and commercial contracts. Prior to joining Baker McKenzie in 2009, Ms. Khattar Boström served as a law clerk at the County Administrative Court in Stockholm and also worked as a case officer at the Swedish Competition Authority, where she regularly handled competition law investigations in different sectors, involving cartels, abuse of dominance and merger cases.