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.

Damages

According to the Communication from the Commission on quantifying harm in actions for damages based on breaches of Article 101 or 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union;

"Infringements of Article 101 or 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (‘TFEU’), hereafter the ‘EU competition rules’, cause great harm to the economy as a whole and hamper the proper functioning of the internal market. In order to prevent such harm, the Commission has the power to impose fines on undertakings and associations of undertakings for infringing EU competition rules. The objective of the fines imposed by the Commission is deterrence, i.e. sanctioning the undertakings concerned (specific deterrence) and deterring other undertakings from engaging in, or continuing, behaviour that is contrary to Articles 101 and 102 TFEU (general deterrence).

Moreover, infringements of Article 101 or 102 TFEU cause great harm to consumers and undertakings. Anyone who has suffered harm through an infringement of EU competition rules has a right to compensation. This is guaranteed by EU law, as the Court of Justice has repeatedly emphasised. While the objective of the fines is deterrence, the point of damages claims is to repair the harm suffered because of an infringement. More effective remedies for consumers and undertakings to obtain damages would, inherently, also produce beneficial effects in terms of deterring future infringements and ensuring greater compliance with those rules.

(...)

Anyone can claim compensation for the harm suffered where there is a causal relationship between that harm and an agreement or practice prohibited by the EU competition rules.

Compensation for harm suffered means placing the injured parties in the position they would have been in had there been no infringement of Article 101 or 102 TFEU. Parties injured by an infringement of directly effective EU rules should therefore have the full real value of their losses restored: the entitlement to full compensation covers the actual loss (damnum emergens), as well as compensation for loss of profit (lucrum cessans) suffered as a result of the infringement ; and entitlement to interest from the time the damage occurred."

© European Commission

See also Collective redress (class action)

Glossary