By means of Law 446 of 1998, the Superintendency of Industry and Commerce ("SIC") was granted authority regarding matters pertaining to Unfair Competition. Furthermore with the enactment of Law 510 of 1999, Law 446 was modified and the said Superintendency was invested with jurisdictional powers. Therefore, the aforementioned Law 510 states that, once the SIC issues a decision regarding a case in which Unfair Competition acts are involved, and this decision is not subject to appeal, the person or entity affected by such acts can file a petition before the SIC in order for it to liquidate all damages that were caused.
Recent legislative reforms have made surveillance and control by the SIC possible, and have provided better conditions for competitors and consumers, with the purpose of making the market system more competitive. This evolution can be shown in a recent decision, by virtue of which the SIC sanctioned an important Colombian cellular telephone company.
In this case, the cellular telephone company provided international dialing services with IP (International Protocol) technology without being legally authorized to do so. Such action allowed the company to get a competitive advantage in relation with authorized operators. Through this conduct, according to what the SIC stated, the company breached article 60 of Decree 741 of 1993, which provides that long distance communications services that are originated or received by mobile cellular telephone users must be done through the Public Commuted Telephone Network (Red de Telefonía Pública Conmutada) and cannot be provided directly without prior authorization.
This cellular company used advertising and the rendering of long distance service, to create a client deviation towards its company.
Due to this unfair conduct, the SIC not only fined the company, but additionally, by means of the jurisdictional powers granted to it and as a result of petitions made by affected competitors, will proceed to compensate all produced damages.
This decision sets a precedent regarding Unfair Competition in Colombia, as it indicates that competition is duly protected by entities such as the SIC.
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