Vertical restraints: what’s new?

Law & Economics workshop organized by Concurrences in partnership with Simmons & Simmons and MAPP.

Étienne Pfister

Vertical restraints of competition: general framework and reflections on resale price maintenance and prohibition of Internet sales

Vertical restraints occur in the relationship between supplier and distributor and refer to the set of rules that may limit the economic freedom of either of the contracting parties. Exemption Regulation 330/2010 on vertical agreements and the Guidelines on Vertical Restraints 2010/C 130/01 provide the framework for the competitive analysis of such restrictions. On the whole, these texts leave operators a large degree of organisational freedom (e.g. with regard to exclusivity clauses) to operators without market power. The situation is different, however, where one of the contracting parties has a market share of more than 30%: in such cases the block exemption is excluded and a case-by-case analysis is in principle required. In addition, certain vertical restraints are characterised and considered anti-competitive by object. Finally, certain vertical restraints are excluded from the Block Exemption Regulation irrespective of the market power of the contracting parties.

Photos © Léo-Paul Ridet.

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  • Simmons & Simmons (Paris)
  • Analysis Group (Paris)
  • French Competition Authority (Paris)