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Vertical Agreements Between Competitors

October 14, 2021

As regards joint production/specialisation agreements including joint sale/distribution, the Guidelines specify that they may still be exempted even above the 20% ceiling, provided that joint sales are a necessary element of the overall regime: in other words, the parties would not have entered into the joint production agreement (the parties would also have to demonstrate: that the agreement generates significant efficiency gains that will be passed on. For example, to consumers). The Commission also notes that production agreements involving marketing functions, such as.B. common marketing and marketing functions, even if they present a higher risk of restrictive effects on competition, these agreements are generally less likely to restrict competition than separate distribution and marketing agreements. The potential for agreements between competitors to make use of Article 101 TFEU is high, reflecting the principle reaffirmed in the Guidelines that competing undertakings must determine their competition strategy independently of each other. The legitimate forms of horizontal cooperation discussed in this quick guide function as carefully controlled exceptions to this general rule. If the conditions for such derogations are not met, there is a high risk that the cooperation will be contrary to Article 101 and may even be regarded as a form of cartel. Any formal agreement between competitors, actual or potential, which indirectly indirectly influences the way in which they compete must therefore be subject to careful legal scrutiny. While it is confirmed that the contracting parties operate at different levels for the purposes of an agreement and that the agreement has an “impact on trade”, the procedure for evaluating the vertical agreement referred to in Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union is broadly as follows: in December 2010, the European Commission published updated guidelines on the application of Article 101 to horizontal cooperation agreements (the Guidelines).1 The Commission Ritualised guidelines on the application of Article 101 to horizontal cooperation agreements (the Guidelines)1 Revised block exemption regulations providing for automatic exemption under Article 101(3) for certain types of specialisation agreements2 and `research and development agreements` have been adopted3. Standardisation agreements are described by the Commission in the Guidelines as agreements `primarily aimed at defining technical or qualitative requirements which current or future products, production processes, services or methods may meet`. In other words, they are common industrial standards, developed and agreed by standardisation bodies, associations or simply agreements between independent, officially approved undertakings, which set common requirements for services or products where compatibility and interoperability with other products and systems are essential or where minimum quality marks are required. . .

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