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.

Interim measures

Conservatory measures imposed on firms by the Commission in relation to a competition case, in which a final decision on the substance has not been reached yet, in order to avoid that anti-competitive behaviour leads to irreversible damage before being sanctioned. Interim measures may be taken on the Commission’s own initiative, but are often requested together with a formal complaint. They can only be granted if the two following conditions are both met: - a firm’s behaviour prima facie constitutes an infringement of competition rules and - there is urgency, i.e. a risk of serious and irreparable harm to the applicant. For instance, a company whose existence is threatened by a potentially anti-competitive conduct of another company may request the Commission to investigate the matter under competition law, and in addition ask the Commission to prohibit the conduct in question until the investigation is terminated by a formal decision. The Commission can also take interim measures in merger cases in order to prevent the implementation of concentrations before the Commission has cleared them. The Merger Regulation prohibits the implementation prior to the Commission’s authorisation to avoid irreversible changes to the market structure before it is certain that a concentration is actually clearable. Interim measures can also be granted by the President of the Court of First Instance, to prevent a company from suffering serious and irreparable harm by the enforcement of a Commission decision the legality of which is challenged by that same company in a main action.

See: Order of the European Court of Justice in case 792/97 R, Camera Care v Commission, (1980) E.C.R., p. 119, at para. 12-21. (See: Articles 104-110 of the Rules of Procedure of the Court of First Instance)

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