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Competition Bureau welcomes Federal Court of Appeal decision in ongoing ebooks matter

June 23, 2015 — OTTAWA, ON — John Pecman, Commissioner of Competition, today issued the following statement welcoming a recent decision by the Federal Court of Appeal related to the Bureau’s ongoing investigation of alleged anti‑competitive practices in the Canadian ebooks market:

"The Bureau welcomes the decision by the Federal Court of Appeal of June 18, 2015. The ruling upholds a September 2014 decision by the Competition Tribunal that provided clarity as to what factors the Tribunal will consider when reviewing third party applications to rescind or vary consent agreements. This, in turn, provides increased certainty to the consent agreement process.

The original decision by the Tribunal, which Kobo unsuccessfully appealed, came in response to a reference question that the Bureau filed with the Tribunal in April 2014, seeking clarification with respect to the scope of the Tribunal’s jurisdiction under subsection 106(2) of the Competition Act.

The Bureau continues to investigate alleged anti‑competitive practices in the ebooks market in Canada with the objective of achieving increased competition and lower priced ebooks for consumers. As always, should the Bureau find evidence of conduct contrary to the Competition Act, it will not hesitate to take action, where appropriate."


Following an investigation into concerns that major ebook publishers, including Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster, were engaging in anti‑competitive conduct that restricted retail price competition for ebooks in Canada, the Bureau reached a consent agreement in February 2014 with these four companies.

Kobo filed an application with the Tribunal later that month seeking to rescind or vary the terms of the consent agreement. Kobo also filed a motion for a stay of the consent agreement, pending the determination of its application to rescind or vary the terms of the consent agreement. In March 2014, the Tribunal granted Kobo's motion for a stay.


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