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Exchange of information between competitors within professional associations

Law & Economics Workshop with Laure Dosogne-Varaire (Autorité de la concurrence), in partnership with Simmons & Simmons and Compass Lexecon.

Application of competition law to professional associations

Laure Dosogne-Varaire

There is no doubt that professional organisations are subject to competition law: Article 101 TFEU expressly refers to "agreements between undertakings" and "decisions of associations of undertakings". The Competition Authority is competent for all that concerns "conduct which, because it invites economic operators to adopt this or that attitude on the market, in particular in the form of warnings or instructions, constitutes an intervention on a market" (10-D-11). As soon as it adopts behaviour that does not fall purely within the scope of advising or defending the professional interests of members, it goes beyond its legitimate mission. The distinction between legitimate and anti-competitive behaviour of a professional association appears in particular in the Île-de-France household waste case (98-D-61): passing on information to its members that a tax may be passed on falls within the scope of the missions of a professional association, but not the incentive to charge management fees in addition to it.

Photos © Léo-Paul Ridet.

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