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 EU and national case laws from the e-Competitions Bulletin and Concurrences Review.

Exchange of information

Exchanges of information are interactions among competitors that, from a competition law perspective, fall between the universally condemned hard-core “naked” cartels and tacit collusion arising from oligopolistic interdependence, generally considered legal. In the course of doing business, companies can - and often do - exchange various types of information through different channels, which leads to increased transparency in the market which can both bolster allocative and productive efficiencies as well as facilitate collusive outcomes among competitors. Generally, information exchanges among competitors may fall into three different scenarios under competition rules: (i) as a part of a wider price fixing or market sharing agreement whereby the exchange of information functions as a facilitating factor; (ii) in the context of broader efficiency enhancing cooperation agreements such as joint venture, standardization or R&D agreements; or (iii) as a stand-alone practice, whereby the exchange of information is the only cooperation among competitors. © OECD