10 September 2020

From 10 September 2020 to 8 October 2020, the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (“CCCS”) is conducting a public consultation to seek comments and views on proposed amendments to six CCCS Guidelines on the Competition Act (“Act”). The proposed amendments aim to provide greater clarity and guidance to businesses and competition practitioners on the analytical and procedural frameworks used by CCCS in applying the Act.

CCCS is proposing to update the following:

  • CCCS Guidelines on the Treatment of Intellectual Property Rights (“IP Guidelines”) to provide further clarity on the interface between intellectual property (“IP”) and competition law: The proposed changes are mainly to update the IP Guidelines which have not been updated since they were first published in 2005 and to clarify/elaborate on existing concepts. For example, to take into account all current legislative sources of IP rights in Singapore, provide hypothetical examples and explain how certain IP-related agreements may give rise to competition concerns.
  • CCCS Guidelines on Market Definition (“Market Definition Guidelines”) to provide greater clarity on issues related to market definition that may be relevant in the digital era: Taking into account the findings from the e-commerce platforms market study released on 10 September 2020, CCCS has proposed changes to provide greater clarity on issues related to market definition for cases involving multi-sided platforms and/or digital platform companies. Further, amendments have been proposed to reflect CCCS’s experiences and practices in past cases, and to bring the Market Definition Guidelines into closer alignment with international practices in competition law. 

For information about CCCS’s findings and recommendations from the e-commerce platforms market study, please read our article titled “CCCS releases findings and recommendations from e-commerce platforms market study, intends to update competition guidelines”.

  • CCCS Guidelines on the Section 47 Prohibition (“Section 47 Guidelines”) to provide greater clarity on issues relating to the assessment of market power and types of potentially abusive conduct in the digital era: Additionally, changes have been proposed to the Section 47 Guidelines for consistency with the proposed amendments to IP Guidelines, as well as for greater internal consistency.
  • CCCS Guidelines on Substantive Assessment of Mergers to better guide businesses, consumers and competition practitioners on issues relating to assessment of mergers: Key proposed changes include clarifying that data protection can be an aspect of competition on quality that CCCS may consider in its assessment and that proprietary rights or data can be barriers to entry and expansion.
  • CCCS Guidelines on Merger Procedures (“Merger Procedures Guidelines”) to enhance and clarify the process of merger filing notifications to CCCS and reflect CCCS’s current practices on merger filings: Since the Merger Procedures Guidelines were last amended in 2012, CCCS has reviewed over 40 merger filings and has received feedback on ways that the merger review process can be enhanced. The proposed changes here are intended to ensure that practices which CCCS has already introduced are reflected, reduce business costs for merger parties submitting information to CCCS, facilitate information sharing between CCCS and other competition authorities and provide clarity on certain procedural aspects of Singapore’s merger regime.
  • CCCS Guidelines on Enforcement (“Enforcement Guidelines”) to give effect to legislative amendments to the Act relating to commitments and remedies and reflect CCCS’s current practices on substantive and procedural matters in assessing commitments and remedies: To reflect the expanded coverage, the Enforcement Guidelines will be renamed the CCCS Guidelines on Remedies, Directions and Penalties. CCCS is also proposing amendments relating to timelines and processes for companies offering commitments proposals, as well as the information to be submitted for commitments proposals. Where relevant, CCCS has considered the approaches taken by overseas competition authorities in relation to the commitments process. 

Reference materials

The following materials are available on the CCCS website www.cccs.gov.sg: