Horizontal Agreement Guidelines European Commission

Horizontal Agreement Guidelines European Commission

According to consistent jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice, the content of the agreement, the objectives it intends to achieve and the economic and legal context to which it belongs are taken into account in determining whether an agreement has an anti-competitive purpose. Although the intention of the parties is not necessary to determine whether an agreement has an anti-competitive purpose, the Commission may nevertheless take this into account in its analysis. Further guidance on the concept of competition restrictions is sought in the general guidelines. To achieve these efficiencies in standardization agreements, the information necessary to implement the standard must be made available to those who wish to enter the market (126). The assessment of the restrictive effect of competition within the meaning of Article 101, paragraph 1, of a horizontal cooperation agreement must be made in relation to the actual legal and economic context in which, without agreement with all its so-called restrictions (i.e. in the absence of the agreement in its current form (if it is already implemented) or as foreseen (if not yet implemented) , competition would take place at the time of appreciation. Therefore, in order to demonstrate real or potential restrictive effects, competition between the parties and competition by third parties, including actual or potential competition that would have existed in the absence of the agreement, must be taken into account. This comparison does not take into account the potential efficiency gains achieved by the agreement, as they are assessed only under Section 101, paragraph 3. If entry into the market is sufficiently simple, a horizontal cooperation agreement is generally not expected to have restrictive effects on competition. In order for membership to be considered sufficient competitive pressure for parties to a horizontal cooperation agreement, it is necessary to demonstrate that it is likely, timely and sufficient to deter or overcome any restrictive effect of the agreement. The analysis of access can be compromised by the existence of horizontal cooperation agreements. The likely or potential termination of a horizontal cooperation agreement may affect the likelihood of occurrence. If research and development is geared towards a brand new product (or technology) that creates its own new market, the effects on prices and production in existing markets are unlikely.

The analysis should focus on possible restrictions on innovation, such as the quality and diversity of future products or technologies, or the pace of innovation. These restrictive effects can occur when two of the few companies involved in the development of such a new product collaborate in a phase where, independently of each other, they are quite close to the marketing of the product. These effects are usually the direct result of the agreement between the parties. Innovation can even be limited by a simple research and development agreement.


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