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Thursday, 18 April 2013

IBC's annual conference on competition law challenges in the motor vehicle sector (25 June)

For several years now, IBC Legal Conferences' annual event in Brussels has been almost compulsory for block exemption aficionados (or should that be aficionadi? Evidently not, according to the Bloomsbury Concise English Dictionary, which came most easily to hand when I reached towards my shelf of reference books, as it comes from Spanish rather than Italian. I am however disturbed to find that its original Spanish meaning was a devotee of bull-fighting, so notwithstanding the broader sense it has acquired in English I will use it carefully in future). I have been to the conference several times - once even to speak at it, and last year to blog extensively (here, et seq) - and it is invariably excellent. Not uniformly excellent: the conference organiser who assembles a programme with no duff session is lucky indeed, but IBC maintain a generally high standard across the whole day. Details of this year's edition can be found here.

The cast is pretty consistent, too. Looking over the list of speakers for this year's event, much of it is exactly the same as last year's - and why not? If it works, don't change it. The regular speakers are all excellent, and well-informed about the subject (which is why, apart from the fact that he's a friend, I invited one of them, Joseph Vogel, to speak at this year's Motor Law conference).

This year, the programme ranges a little wider than just the block exemption (as it did last year, too). There will be a session on the global parts cartel (which Alex Haffner of SNR Denton covered at our conference in February), another on information exchanges, and one on telematics, a subject which raises some fascinating competition problems.

I will preview the conference in more detail over the coming weeks, during which the block exemption will be very much in my mind. Of course, the date of this event is close to the long-awaited day on which the new regime comes fully into operation, although dealing with implementation of the legislation isn't a key area for discussion - everyone will have that sorted out by then, one hopes. We'll be presenting our own block exemption seminar in September, but the events will be complementary - no reason not to take in both. In previous years, we have been able to offer Motor Law subscribers a 10 per cent discount, and I hope we can do so again this year.
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