SCF Event – Can competition law effectively regulate disruptive technologies and innovation?

On Thursday 15 June 2017, the Scottish Competition Forum and Edinburgh University’s Europa Institute hosted a discussion with some leading academics on how competition law and policy has developed to address perceived anti-competitive practices resulting from the use of new disruptive technologies and business models.Can competion law effectively regulate disruptive technologies_

Microsoft, Google, Apple, Amazon, Ebay, Intel, Uber: there is an endless list of technology-based companies that have developed new products and services that have revolutionised markets and the way we buy and sell goods and services.  Innovation and technology are generally seen as positive and “pro-competitive”, generating economic growth and jobs, but equally they can also manifest themselves in ways that distort competition, lead to positions of market power and raise consumer protection issues.  In a world of open and borderless markets, do individual Governments and competition authorities have the tools to regulate disruptive innovation?  What degree of regulation is required?  How has EU competition law and policy developed to meet this challenge?  How might this all change following Brexit?

The panel,  chaired by Graeme Young, EU & Competition Partner at CMS Cameron McKenna, included:

  • Professor Ariel Ezrachi, University of Oxford: Ariel Ezrachi is Slaughter & May Professor in Competition Law and a fellow of Pembroke College, Oxford. He has published widely in the field of competition law and has recently published with Maurice Stucke “Virtual Competition – The Promise and Perils of the Algorithm-Driven Economy”.
  • Professor Maurice Stucke, University of Tennessee and University of Oxford: Maurice Stucke is Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee and co-founder of KonkurrenzGroup.
  • Dr Stephen Dnes, Dundee Law School, University of Dundee: Dr Dnes has worked extensively in the area of substantive competition law and written on the impact of competition law on digital markets.
  • Dr Pablo Ibanez Colomo, Dept. of Law, London School of Economics: Dr Ibanez Colomo has published widely in the field of competition law and conducted ground-breaking research on the question of how the competition rules can be interpreted to “fit” with innovation patterns.
  • Dr Francesco De Cecco, Newcastle Law School, University of Newcastle. Dr De Cecco is a specialist in state aid law and has authored, among other words, the monograph “State Aid and the economic constitution” (2013, E Elgar).
  • Dr Arianna Andreangeli, Edinburgh Law School, University of Edinburgh. Dr Andreangeli has published several articles exploring the interaction between competition and innovation and is now investigating questions of brand image, commercial speech and public interest.