Glossary of competition terms

This Glossary was prepared by DG COMP and the OECD for non-competition specialists. Each term is enriched with references of national case laws from the e-Competitions Bulletin. (© European Union - © OECD)

Abuse of a dominant position

Anti-competitive business practices (including improper exploitation of customers or exclusion of competitors) in which a dominant firm may engage in order to maintain or increase its position on the market. Competition Law prohibits such behaviour, as it damages true competition between firms, exploits consumers, and makes it unnecessary for the dominant undertaking to compete with other firms on the merits. Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU lists some examples of abuse, namely unfair pricing, restriction of production output and imposing discriminatory or unnecessary terms in dealings with trading partners.

© European Commission

Anticompetitive business practices in which a dominant firm may in order to maintain or increase its position in the market. These business practices by the firm, not without controversy, may be considered as "abusive or improper exploitation" of monopolistic control of a market aimed at restricting competition.

The term abuse of dominant position has been explicitly incorporated in competition legislation of various countries such as Canada, EEC and Germany. In the United States, the counterpart provisions would be those dealing with monopoly and attempts to monopolize or monopolization of a market.

Which of the different types of business practices are considered as being abusive will vary on a case by case basis and across countries. Some business practices may be treated differently in different jurisdictions as well. However, the business practices which have been contested in actual cases in different countries, not always with legal success, have included the following: charging unreasonable or excess prices, price discrimination, predatory pricing, price squeezing by integrated firms, refusal to deal/sell, tied selling or product bundling and pre- emption of facilities. (...)

See also Anticompetitive Practices.

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