Is the trade body's refusal to give the company a license an abuse of their dominant market position? | Lawhive - Solicitors & Lawyers Online
Is the trade body's refusal to give the company a license an abuse of their dominant market position?
We are a small limited company that has been in existence for roughly 14 months. We are being denied access to a lucrative market by a trade body that does not like us. For the sake of this post, I will refer to them as 'The Trade Body'. We deliver online and classroom-based courses and have become the market leader for online courses in a very short space of time. The Trade Body does not approve of us as we have taken business away from them in other areas of a broader market. We have also had an ongoing copyright dispute with them as we used a Youtube video of theirs on our online courses. As it was a Youtube video and we included a link there was no breach of copyright, however, this incident has soured the relationship between us and them. However, they have created a classroom-based course that all apprentices in a particular field of construction must complete to gain their qualification from college. We estimate that this market is worth somewhere between £1-3 million as a market annually. We would likely take 10-30% of that market. However, as The Trade Body are the license holders we are unable to enter the market as they will not give us the license. We are unable to get our courses assured by awarding bodies as they keep saying that they cannot have two courses covering the same topic and there is too much crossover and tell us that we should speak to The Trade Body in order to obtain the license to deliver the course, which of course we cannot. Does this come under the 1998 Competition Act? Is this an example of abuse of a dominent market position? And what should our next steps be?

Ashley Bommarito

19th October 2021

1 upvote

Top Answer
Sorry for the false ping, just commenting so I can return to this. Wish you the best.

Sheena Moore

11th February 2022

1 upvote

Monopolies are not contrary to the law in the UK - it is when you use that position to distort the market (as a whole, generally) where there may be an issue. That will be about exactly what their policy regarding licensing. It is possible to pick on you because they don't like you: it is really about whether in the whole, trade in the UK is distorted. However, that is going to be for the CMA to enforce (and there may be limited immuity given the market is so small) - unless you want to spend 6-7 figures litigating a case in the Competition Appeal Tribunal. That is for very specialist solicitors.

Patricia Garcia

11th February 2022

2 upvotes

I don’t know the ins and outs of whether this constitutes anti-competitive behaviour but it can be investigated by the Competition Markets Authority if you report it to them: https://www.gov.uk/cartels-price-fixing/report-anticompetitive-activity

Joseph Bishop

11th February 2022

1 upvote

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