In the section on calculating the market share threshold (points 89 to 95), the Commission now states that the association is the supplier of agreements between a retail association and its individual members and that it must take into account the cumulative market share of its members. For the first time, the Commission`s enforcement policy on such agreements is presented in both detail and practice. However, there is a restriction in the guidelines, to the extent that the category exemption regulation, in the event of a violation of section 81, paragraph 1, of agency agreements, is interpreted as not giving the awarding entity full freedom to impose selling prices. The agency agreement guidelines chapter replaces the 1962 Commission`s communication on agencies, which has become obsolete, and the complex guidelines of its 1990 draft communication, which was never adopted. The European Commission has published a revised category exemption regulation and guidelines for vertical agreements (agreements between parties at different levels of the production or distribution chain). All companies participating in supply and distribution agreements should consider the new rules to ensure that their existing or new agreements are covered by the revised legislation. When an agreement meets the conditions of the vertical agreements “VABE” category exemption, it is exempt from the prohibition of anti-competitive agreements (in accordance with Article 101, paragraph 1 of the treaty), resulting in significant efficiency gains for the companies concerned, including increased legal certainty. Clarification of the date of application of the category exemption for intellectual property rights provisions The guidelines have been amended to provide more detailed guidance on the conditions under which agreements containing provisions relating to intellectual property rights (“intellectual property rights”) are covered by the category exemption regulation. The guidelines (paragraph 30) set out the following conditions: (a) the intellectual property rights provisions must be part of a vertical agreement; (b) provisions relating to intellectual property issues must be transferred to the buyer or used by the purchaser; (c) intellectual property provisions should not be the main purpose of the agreement; (d) the provisions relating to intellectual property limits are directly related to the use, sale or resale of goods or services by the purchaser or his or her customers; and (e) the intellectual property rights provisions do not contain restrictions with the same purpose or effect as vertical restrictions that are not excluded by the category exemption regulation.
The VBER defines the categories of vertical agreements exempted from the prohibition of anti-competitive agreements (Article 101 of the TFUE) on the grounds that their restrictive effects on competition are offset by pro-competitive effects (according to Article 101, paragraph 3, of the TFUE). The aim is to ensure legal certainty for stakeholders on vertical agreements that can be considered to be in line with Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, on the basis of a simpler set of rules, and on agreements that require an expanded individual assessment. It should also serve as a common assessment framework for national competition authorities and national courts to ensure consistency in the application of relevant rules and hence equal conditions of competition between companies across the EU. Vertical agreements are agreements between companies operating at different levels of the production or distribution chain. B an agreement between a producer and a distributor. Current EU rules require companies to assess for themselves the compliance of their vertical agreements with EU competition law, which prohibits competition-limiting agreements under Article 101, paragraph 1, of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The VBER exempts certain types of agreements from the section 101 prohibition, paragraph 1, when certain