Vertical Agreements Guidelines

It is only in cases of exclusive delivery (for the EC as a whole) that the buyer`s market share is decisive and that only the buyer`s market share and not the supplier`s market share under the category exemption regulation must be taken into account. If the buyer uses the goods or services delivered during the manufacture of the final product, his market is relevant to that final product. In addition, it is expected that, in franchising agreements, the market share of the licensee must be taken into account not only as a supplier of goods or services, but also as a supplier of a sales concept. With respect to the vertical agreements that existed before 1 June 2000 (the effective date of the category exemption regulation), the guidelines state that if these agreements comply with the conditions set out in the 1983/83 regulations (exclusive distribution), 1984/83 (exclusively) or 4087/88 (in the case of Franchis and that the supplier`s market share does not exceed 30%, agreements with clauses over a period of more than five years fall under the category exemption when non-competition agreements run less than five years from 1 January 2002 (i.e. from the end of the transitional period for agreements under regulation 1983/83, 1984/83 and 4087/88). On 8 September, the European Commission (EC) published a working paper from the Commission`s services summarising the results of its assessment of the Vertical Category Exemption Regulation (VBER) and accompanying vertical guidelines. The results show that the VBER and the guidelines are useful instruments for companies to assess their own compliance with EU competition law. However, since the introduction of the VBER and the guidelines in 2010, the market has changed significantly, due in part to growth in online revenue, the increased role of online platforms and changes in distribution models. As a result, the EC`s assessment highlighted a number of problems with the VBER and the guidelines to be addressed. Below are the main themes identified and the likely priority areas for the EC at the beginning of the next phase of its review.