Silesian Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 1 (2009), s. 60-67
The necessity to follow competition rules by competitors is the elementary feature
of contemporary free market economy. The idea of competition is based on competition
between independently acting entrepreneurs, aiming at the achievement of an
advantage over other undertakings acting on the same market and aiming to take over
acceptance of consumers and obtaining success on the relevant market and, as a consequence,
assuring positive results for economy as well as for the society itself.
Competition law may be divided into three general groups. Firstly, the law of combating
unfair competition, which is focused on the assessment of situations when the
source of infringement of competition comes from market actors who, interested in
maximizing of their income, use methods, which are generally considered as unfair.
Recently, these kinds of conducts are regulated in the act on combating unfair competition
of 16th April 1993.
Secondly, subvention law, which focuses on cases where competition is distorted
due to state intervention, which is related to the fact that undertakings may offer
their products or services in prices and under conditions, which do not result e.g.
from their low costs of activity but from the fact that their activity is co-financed by
taxpayers. Such activities are subject to provisions of the subvention law (apart from
binding regulations of the law of the EU the basic act in force in Poland is the act on
procedure in cases regarding state aid of 30th April 2004).
And the last of these three sections is the antimonopoly law (usually referred to
as antitrust), which regulates cases, in which the threat to competition comes from
market actors who intend to restrain or eliminate competition on the relevant market.
The basic legal act in Poland in that field is the competition and consumer protection
act of 16th February 2007 , hereinafter referred to as “the antitrust act”.
It is worth mentioning that the first antitrust regulation was created in the United
States of America in 1890 as a result of the initiative of senator Sherman. It is known
under name: the Sherman Act. Both Polish and EU antitrust regulations have their
source in competition protection assumptions shaped by the American model5.