The EU Court of Justice holds that the abusive conduct of independent legal entities can be imputed to the dominant entity due to the special responsibility held by dominant entities pursuant to Article 102 of TFEU (Unilever Italia)

On 19 January 2023, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“ECJ”) delivered its judgment in the Unilever case (Case C-680/20) concerning the allegedly exclusionary strategy implemented by Unilever in Italy and consisting of the imposition by Unilever’s distributors of exclusivity clauses in their (downstream) contracts with the retailers obliging these only to sell Unilever products in return for rebates and commissions. Retailers were thus incentivised to continue obtaining their supplies exclusively from Unilever and its network of distributors. The Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”) had imposed a fine on Unilever for abusing its dominant position on the national market for the distribution of individually packaged ice cream to retailers. In the appeal proceedings, the Italian

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