Passing-On Defense and Indirect Purchaser Standing in Actions for Damages against the Violations of Competition Law: what can the EC learn from the US?
This paper analyses the raison d’être of the current initiative for the federal policy change in the US regarding the issues of passing-on defense and indirect purchaser standing in order to draw policy lessons for the EC in the light of the Commission’s Green Paper on private enforcement of Community competition law. The paper finds that transatlantic policy learning in the substantive sense does not seem plausible due to the dramatic difference between the American rationale regarding the goals of private enforcement and the European doctrine of direct effect. Nevertheless, the paper argues that the US experience contains important policy lessons regarding the risks brought forward by private enforcement under diverse standards in the lack of effective judicial cooperation mechanisms in a multi-level polity. After analysing the current positions of the Community and national laws from this perspective, the paper finds that there is substantial room for diversity amongst the national standards. In addition, although existing Community measures provide solid ground for judicial cooperation, those measures should be strengthened in order to avert the litigation chaos which forced a policy change in the US. Consequently, the paper suggests that the Commission gives substantial weight to the procedural aspects of private enforcement in its forthcoming White Paper which the Green Paper largely overlooked.
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