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The EU Digital Markets Act – An Irish Perspective

 |  October 14, 2022

By: Kate McKenna & Ciarán Campbell (Matheson)

On 12 October 2022, the European Commission (“Commission”) took the final step in enacting the Digital Markets Act (“DMA”), by publishing its text in the EU Official Journal and thereby starting a 6 month transition period before the DMA becomes enforceable.

The DMA is a revolutionary piece of EU legislation, in that never before has the EU created such a detailed rulebook and powerful enforcement toolbox in a law designed to foster fair competition.  Big Tech is the focus and the DMA’s stated purpose is to force Big Tech to discontinue practices which – are claimed to – dampen competition and exploit customers.  The DMA centralises enforcement power in the EU Commission but the DMA is also likely to lead to regulatory and private enforcement cases at national level throughout the EU.

While much has been written about what needs to be done to comply with and enforce the DMA at a EU-wide level, little has been written about the impacts of the DMA at the national level within the EU.  The potential Irish-specific impacts which we are advising businesses to start to consider include:

  • Private litigation in the Irish courts: Ireland may be an attractive litigation forum for claimants seeking damages for an alleged DMA infringement, given that certain ‘gatekeepers’ trade through Irish companies, Ireland is English-speaking, and Ireland has a litigation discovery regime which is regarded as generous compared to other EU jurisdictions.
  • EU Dawn Raids in Ireland:  While the EU is likely to be reluctant to exercise the inspection powers granted to it under the DMA, ‘gatekeepers’ with a significant presence in Ireland should be aware of this new risk of their Irish facilities being visited by the EU Commission.

To contextualise the above, we include below a summary of some key aspects of the DMA…