THE ITALIAN COMPETITION AUTHORITY (AGCM) OPENS AN INVESTIGATION FOR ABUSE OF DOMINANT POSITION IN THE MARKET OF LAW PRACTICE MANAGEMENT SOFTWARES
On May 11, 2016 (AGCM Bulletin17/2016), the Italian Competition Authority opened an investigation against Net Service S.p.A. for an alleged abuse of dominant position pursuant to Article 102 TFEU.
Net Service S.p.A. is a company active in the development of softwares for complex organizations. Net Service S.p.A. won three tender procedures to provide software services for the development, operation and management of several functions of the Italian Civil Court System as well as for the provision of additional ancillary services (help-desk, maintanance and development of the software systems of the Ministry of Justice, etc.).
The tender procedures were part of a project called “Processo civile telematico” (Electronic Civil Trial) promoted by the Ministry of Justice that aimed to provide the Civil Court System and its users (lawyers, judges, bankruptcy trustees, etc.) with an electronic interface that allowed to carry out substantial part of their legal activity such as electronically filing documents, issuing judgments, serving summons and petitions.
Net Service S.p.A. is also active in the downstream market of developing practice management softwares for professionals that interact with the Civil Court Operating System.
While the development and the management of the operating system to be used by the Civil Court System was awarded to Net Service S.p.A. by a tender procedure, the downstream market for legal softwares that interact with the Civil Court Operating System is open to the competition of other software houses.
Assogestionali, an association that is composed of several software houses that develop practice and office management softwares, reported to the Competition Authority that Net Service S.p.A. regularly delays the disclosure of the information needed to assure the update and the full interoperability of their softwares with the Civil Court Operating System. According to Assogestionali the required information is disclosed (sometimes only partially) only after the launch to the market of the updated version of the software developed by Net Service S.p.A.. This creates a delay in the development of competing softwares with the consequence that Net Service is viewed by legal professionals and bar associations as the sole provider of practice management softwares that interact with the Civil Courts Operating System.
The AGCM has found a prima facie evidence of the alleged conducts and opened an investigation for the alleged violation of Article 102 TFEU.
Avv. Marco Amorese – [email protected] – Tel. +39 035 212175