Glossary of competition terms

This Glossary is based on definitions from DG COMP’s Glossary of terms used in EU competition policy (© European Union, 2002) and the OECD’s Glossary of industrial organisation economics and competition law (© OECD, 1993). Each term is enriched with references of national case laws from the e-Competitions Bulletin and Concurrences Review.

Hard core restrictions

Refers to restrictions of competition by agreements or business practices, which are seen by most jurisdictions as being particularly serious and normally do not produce any beneficial effects. They therefore almost always infringe competition law. Under EU law, the most prominent examples on the horizontal level include agreements between competitors that fix prices, allocate markets or restrict the quantities of goods or services to be produced, bought or supplied. Examples of hardcore restrictions in vertical relationships (i.e. between undertakings operating at different levels of the production or distribution chain) are resale price maintenance and certain territorial restrictions. Provisions of an agreement which contain such restrictions are also referred to as black clauses and prevent the agreement from benefiting from a block exemption. Furthermore, agreements containing black clauses can only exceptionally be exempted on the basis of an individual assessment.

© European Commission

See also: Block exemption (category)

Glossary