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Vertical Agreements in EU Competition Law
Bos Door De Bomen – Mededingingsrecht (Dutch)
Bos Door De Bomen – Gegevensbescherming (Dutch)
Vertical Block Exemption Regulation – Toolbook

Content:


Toolbook for Practitioners


Introduction


General framework

1. First step: Are the vertical agreement and the restrictions contained in it caught by the prohibition of Article 101(1) TFEU?

2. Second step: Does the vertical agreement benefit from a block exemption?

2.1 Structure of the VBER

2.2 Scope of application of the VBER

2.3 Market share limits

2.4 Hardcore restrictions

2.4.1 Vertical price fixing

2.4.2 Territorial restrictions

2.4.3 Customer restrictions

2.5 Excluded restrictions

2.5.1 Non-compete obligations applying during the term of the vertical agreement

2.5.2 Post-term non-compete obligations

2.5.3 Collective boycotts in the context of selective distribution

2.5.4 Across-platform retail parity obligations

3. Third step: Does the vertical agreement benefit from an individual exemption pursuant to Article 101(3) TFEU?

Extra: What happens in the United Kingdom?


Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (Commission Regulation (EU) 2022/720)

Article 1

Definitions

Article 2

Exemption

Article 3

Market share threshold

Article 4

Restrictions that remove the benefit of the block exemption – hardcore restrictions

Article 5

Excluded restrictions

Article 6

Withdrawal in individual cases

Article 7

Non-application of this Regulation

Article 8

Application of the market share threshold

Article 9

Application of the turnover threshold

Article 10

Transitional period

Article 11

Period of validity


Vertical Guidelines

1. INTRODUCTION

1.1. Purpose and structure of these Guidelines

1.2. Applicability of Article 101 of the Treaty to vertical agreements

2. EFFECTS OF VERTICAL AGREEMENTS

2.1. Positive effects

2.2. Negative effects

3. VERTICAL AGREEMENTS THAT GENERALLY FALL OUTSIDE THE SCOPE OF ARTICLE 101(1) OF THE TREATY

3.1. No effect on trade, agreements of minor importance and small and medium sized undertakings

3.2. Agency agreements

3.2.1. Agency agreements that fall outside the scope of Article 101(1) of the Treaty

3.2.2. Application of Article 101(1) of the Treaty to agency agreements

3.2.3. Agency and the online platform economy

3.3. Subcontracting agreements

4. SCOPE OF REGULATION (EU) 2022/720

4.1. Safe harbour established by Regulation (EU) 2022/720

4.2. Definition of vertical agreements

4.2.1. Unilateral conduct falls outside the scope of Regulation (EU) 2022/720

4.2.2. The undertakings operate at different levels of the production or distribution chain

4.2.3. The agreement relates to the purchase, sale or resale of goods or services

4.3. Vertical agreements in the online platform economy

4.4. Limits to the application of Regulation (EU) 2022/720

4.4.1. Associations of retailers

4.4.2. Vertical agreements containing provisions on intellectual property rights (IPRs)

4.4.3. Vertical agreements between competitors

4.4.4. Vertical agreements with providers of online intermediation services that have a hybrid function

4.5. Relationship with other block exemption regulations

4.6. Specific types of distribution system

4.6.1. Exclusive distribution systems

4.6.1.1. Definition of exclusive distribution systems

4.6.2. Selective distribution systems

4.6.2.1. Definition of selective distribution systems

4.6.3. Franchising


5. MARKET DEFINITION AND MARKET SHARE CALCULATION

5.1. Market Definition Notice

5.2. The calculation of market shares under Regulation (EU) 2022/720

5.3. Calculation of market shares under Regulation (EU) 2022/720


6. APPLICATION OF REGULATION (EU) 2022/720

6.1. Hardcore restrictions under Regulation (EU) 2022/720

6.1.1. Resale price maintenance

6.1.2. Hardcore restrictions pursuant to Article 4, points (b), (c), (d) and (e) of Regulation (EU) 2022/720

6.1.2.1. Qualification as a hardcore restriction pursuant to Article 4, points (b), (c), (d) and (e) of Regulation (EU) 2022/720

6.1.2.3.1. Where the supplier operates an exclusive distribution system

6.1.2.3.2. Where the supplier operates a selective distribution system

6.1.2.3.3. Where the supplier operates a free distribution system

6.1.3. Restrictions of the sales of spare parts

6.2. Restrictions that are excluded from Regulation (EU) 2022/720

6.2.1. Non-compete obligations exceeding a duration of five years

6.2.2. Post-term non-compete obligations

6.2.3. Non-compete obligations imposed on members of a selective distribution system

6.2.4. Across-platform retail parity obligations


7. WITHDRAWAL AND DISAPPLICATION

7.1. Withdrawal of the benefit of Regulation (EU) 2022/720

7.2. Disapplication of Regulation (EU) 2022/720


8. ENFORCEMENT POLICY IN INDIVIDUAL CASES

8.1. The framework of analysis

8.1.1. Relevant factors for the assessment under Article 101(1) of the Treaty

8.1.2. Relevant factors for the assessment under Article 101(3) of the Treaty

8.2. Analysis of specific vertical restraints

8.2.1. Single branding

8.2.2. Exclusive supply

8.2.3. Restrictions on the use of online marketplaces

8.2.4. Restrictions on the use of price comparison services

8.2.5. Parity obligations

8.2.6. Upfront access payments

8.2.7. Category management agreements

8.2.8. Tying


The Competition Act 1998 (Vertical Agreements Block Exemption) Order 2022

1. Citation and commencement

2. Interpretation

3. Block Exemption

4. Calculation of annual turnover

5. Conditions and consequences of breach of conditions

5.1. Block exemption subject to conditions and obligation

5.2. Market share thresholds

5.3. Rules for applying market share thresholds

5.4. Hardcore restrictions

5.5. Effect of breach of conditions in Article 6 or 8

5.6. Excluded restrictions

5.7. Effect of breach of condition in Article 10

5.8. Obligation to provide information

6. Cancellation and notices

6.1. Cancellation in individual cases

6.2. Notices in writing

7. Transitional provision and expiry

7.1. Transitional provision

8. Expiry