In early 2009, the European Commission (Commission) confirmed that it had conducted unannounced inspections on 21 October 2008 at the premises of a number of smart card chip producers in several Member States. These chips are used for the production of telephone SIM cards, banks cards and identity cards. The Commission is only at a preliminary stage of its investigation into whether the parties have been engaged in anti-competitive practices in breach of Article 81(1) of the EC Treaty, such as price fixing, customer allocation and the exchange of commercially sensitive information. The duration of the investigation will depend on the complexity of the case and the co-operation of the parties concerned.
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