Slaughter and May: EU Competition Rules on Vertical Agreements
Vertical agreements refer to agreements between two or more companies operating at different levels of the supply chain, for example, agreements between manufacturers and distributors. These agreements can create efficiencies in the market, but they can also have the potential to restrict competition. As such, the European Union (EU) has put in place strict competition rules to ensure that vertical agreements do not harm competition, and consumers are not negatively impacted.
Slaughter and May is a leading international law firm that specializes in competition law. The firm has extensive experience in advising companies on vertical agreements and ensuring compliance with EU competition rules.
Under the EU competition rules, vertical agreements are subject to a two-step assessment. The first step examines whether the agreement contains any hardcore restrictions, such as price fixing or market sharing, which are considered to be inherently anti-competitive. If the answer is yes, the agreement is deemed to be illegal.
The second step is a more complex assessment that examines whether the agreement has the potential to restrict competition, even if it does not contain any hardcore restrictions. This assessment involves analyzing the market power of the parties to the agreement and the impact that the agreement may have on competition. If the agreement is found to have significant anti-competitive effects, it may be declared illegal.
Slaughter and May has extensive experience in advising clients on the assessment of vertical agreements under EU competition rules. The firm understands the complexities of competition law and has the expertise to help clients navigate the legal landscape.
In addition to providing legal advice, Slaughter and May also offers training programs to help companies comply with EU competition rules. The firm has designed training programs tailored to specific industries, such as the automotive industry or the pharmaceutical industry, to ensure that companies are aware of the competition rules that apply to their sector.
In conclusion, vertical agreements can be beneficial for companies and consumers, but they can also create potential risks for competition. The EU competition rules aim to ensure that these risks are mitigated, and consumers are protected. Slaughter and May is a leading law firm that specializes in competition law and has the expertise to help companies navigate the complex legal landscape of vertical agreements. With their extensive experience and training programs, Slaughter and May is the ideal partner for companies seeking to comply with EU competition rules.