The Competition Law Observatory (CLO)

Luis Silva Morais, Joint Ventures and EU Competition Law, (Hart Publishing, 2013), hardcover, xxxv + 549 pp., Price: £95, ISBN: 978-1-84113-793-3.

Although the category of joint ventures represents a crucial legal instrument of entrepreneurial organization in a modern economy and, as such, is inevitably under the scrutiny of competition laws, it is scarcely analysed in academic works on competition law. Indeed, reference is made to the main elements of joint ventures, without investigating or questioning if the concepts or notions used on a daily basis can be read or interpreted in an alternative way. Professor Silva Morais’ Joint Ventures and EU Competition Law fills this gap in legal literature.

Published in the excellent ‘Hart Studies in Competition Law’ series, the book provides a rarely thorough and comprehensive study of joint ventures within the context of EU competition law. In just below 540 pages, Silva Morais looks at the role and economic significance of joint ventures in the evolution and development of business activities carried out by firms, in particular at structuring cooperation links between undertakings, and to the legal problems they give rise to in the field of competition law. The ultimate goal of the book is to build an analytical model for the assessment of joint ventures under EU competition law, especially as regards Article 101 of the TFEU.

The analysis is provided in four substantial Chapters. In Chapter 1 Morais looks at the concept of joint ventures. He reviews the many definitions given by authors, both in the US and in the EU, to the phenomenon of joint ventures, also addressing the treatment of joint ventures under EU competition law. In the crucial Chapter 2, Morais presents an analytical three-stage model for the assessment of joint venures in EU compeition law. The global analytical model is then applied, in Chapter 3, for the assessment of certain types of joint ventures (R&D joint venutes, production joint ventures, commercialization joint ventures, and purchasing joint ventures). In the last Chapter, Morais looks at the changes to EU competition law that may be regarded as influenced by the treatment of joint ventures (in particular, the shift in the teleological priorities of EU competition law and the renewal of the understanding of the main legal categories of cooperation between undertakings).

The book is enriched by a comparison with the US treatment of joint venures and with a wealth of European (i.e., not just English) literature. Although the book is predominantly an academic work, practitioners will also greatly benefit from its through legal analysis based on relevant cases and legislation. Morais’ book can easily be regarded as essential reading on the topic of joint ventures in the field of EU competition law.

Reviewed January 2015
By Riccardo Sciaudone
Co-founder and Editor-in-chief

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