Egorov, Puginsky, Afanasiev & Partners is representing a coalition of Avito, IVI, CIAN, Profi.ru, Tutu.ru, Drom.ru, 2GIS, and Zoon in a abuse-of-dominant-position case against Yandex initiated by the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia.
According to EPAM, in August 2020, the coalition filed a complaint with the FAS in relation to Yandex's alleged abuse of its dominant position on the Internet search engine market, referring, the firm reports, "to the fact that the IT giant had been able to create preferential conditions for its services in the Yandex search engine through the use of special interactive blocks, the so-called search engine wizards."
According to EPAM, "at the end of February, the FAS issued a warning to Yandex, demanding that it eliminate the said violation and provide all market participants with equal opportunities to promote their services in search engine. Yandex failed to comply with this requirement in time, leading to the FAS opening a case against the company for violating antimonopoly legislation on 13 April 2021."
“This is a precedent-setting case in terms of both its scale and the challenges that need to be addressed," said EPAM Head of Competition Natalia Korosteleva. "Being able to determine the terms on which to secure a level playing field in the search engines market for own and third party services means laying down the rules of the game for the dominant players in digital markets of the future. This complex task has not yet been addressed by any regulator in the world, yet the FAS has repeatedly driven decisions that are recognized as gold standard by the regulators globally. We are confident that such a decision will be arrived at in this instance also."
Editor's Note: After this article was published, EPAM reported that the case was resolved on January 19, 2022. According to the firm, “the Moscow Arbitration Court [approved] the settlement agreement between Yandex, the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia, and the claimants in a dispute over unequal conditions promoting Yandex’s own search results, rather than searches provided by third-party services. Yandex unfairly prioritized its own searches through the exclusive use of enriched search capabilities.”
“This dispute could have dragged on for years,” EPAM Partner and Head of Competition Natalia Korosteleva commented. “Instead, we have a decision that signals a clear victory for the principles of competition here and now. We firmly believe that the unique settlement arrived at will serve as an industry standard, and will become best practice globally.”
“The FAS has shown both an expert approach to analyzing the situation and a strong focus on finding a practical solution to the problem,” according to EPAM Partner Evgeny Bolshakov, “taking into account the needs of the market to ensure competition in the industry in the shortest possible time.”
EPAM’s team included Korosteleva and Bolshakov, Counsel Anna Arutyunyan, Senior Associates Alexander Kiselev and Igor Gavrilov, Lawyer Oxana Akhmedova, and Junior Associate Anastasia Berbeneva.