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Cover Competition Law of the EU and UK

10. Block exemption regulations under Article 101 TFEU  

This chapter focuses on block exemption regulations, which have become crucial in the application of the exception contained in Article 101(3) TFEU to agreements whose pro-competitive effects may outweigh any potential threats to competition. The current block exemptions represent an attempt to reconcile economic considerations and the needs of business. They are therefore less prescriptive than earlier versions, and tend to set a benchmark share of the relevant market within which they are applicable. The chapter fleshes out the details of the principal block exemptions presently in force, and provides a step-by-step guide to their application in the shape of a general flow chart. It covers legal basis and withdrawal, block exemptions for vertical agreements, and horizontal block exemptions.

Chapter

Cover Competition Law

4. Article 101(3)  

This chapter examines Article 101(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). Article 101(3) provides a ‘legal exception’ to the prohibition in Article 101(1) by providing that it may be declared inapplicable in respect of agreements, decisions or concerted practices, or of categories of agreements, decisions or concerted practices, that satisfy four conditions. After discussing the burden and standard of proof under Article 101(3) and the application of that provision to agreements, including restrictions of competition by object, this chapter discusses the four conditions in Article 101(3). It then considers the implications of Regulation 1/2003 for undertakings and their professional advisers, and in particular their need to ‘self-assess’ the application of Article 101(3) to agreements. The final section of this chapter describes the system of so-called ‘block exemptions’.

Chapter

Cover Competition Law

15. Horizontal agreements (3): cooperation agreements  

This chapter is concerned with horizontal cooperation agreements which the competition authorities in the EU and the UK may be prepared to countenance. There may be circumstances in which competitors cooperate with one another in a way that delivers economic benefits, not just for themselves, but for consumer welfare as well. After a discussion of joint ventures, the chapter discusses the application of Article 101 to horizontal cooperation agreements. It refers, in particular, to the European Commission’s Guidelines on Horizontal Cooperation Agreements and discusses, in turn, information exchange, research and development agreements, production agreements, purchasing agreements, commercialisation agreements, standardisation agreements, sustainability agreements and other cases of permissible horizontal cooperation. It concludes with a brief look at the treatment of horizontal cooperation agreements under UK competition law.

Chapter

Cover Jones & Sufrin's EU Competition Law

12. Licensing Agreements and Other Agreements Involving Intellectual Property Rights  

Alison Jones, Brenda Sufrin, and Niamh Dunne

This chapter examines some of the different types of intellectual property rights (IPRs) before outlining the relationship between intellectual property and both EU competition law and the EU free movement rules. It focuses, however, on IP licensing agreements and their treatment under Article 101. The chapter traces the development of EU competition policy to IP licensing agreements and examine the current Technology Transfer Block Exemption and the Guidelines in detail. It also examines patent settlement agreements (including pay for delay agreements), patent pools, trademark licences, trademark delimitation agreements, and copyright (other than software) licences not covered by the TTBER and Guidelines.

Chapter

Cover Jones & Sufrin's EU Competition Law

11. Vertical Agreements  

Alison Jones, Brenda Sufrin, and Niamh Dunne

This chapter, which discusses EU competition policy towards vertical agreements, begins by outlining the choices available to a supplier when deciding how best to market and sell its products or services to customers, and the impact that the competition rules may have on a supplier’s choice. It then discusses the evolution of the EU approach to vertical agreements, from the early days of EEC competition to now, especially as reflected in the Commission’s Verticals Guidelines of 2022, including exclusive dealing, single branding, franchising, and selective distribution agreements. It considers the importance in EU law of parallel trade between Member States and how this has influenced policy towards vertical restraints. It analyses the application of Article 101(1) and Article 101(3) to vertical agreements, including the verticals block exemption of 2022; and subcontracting agreements.

Chapter

Cover Competition Law

9. Competition Act 1998: substantive provisions  

This chapter describes the substantive provisions of the Competition Act 1998 in the UK. The focus of attention in this chapter is the ‘Chapter I prohibition’, which prohibits anti-competitive agreements, and the ‘Chapter II prohibition’, which prohibits the abuse of a dominant position. The Chapter I and II prohibitions are closely modelled upon Articles 101 and 102 TFEU, although they are by no means identical in every respect. Following an overview of the Competition Act, and the changes introduced as a result of Brexit, it considers in turn the decisional practice and case-law under the Chapter I and Chapter II prohibitions. It then discusses the duty in section 60A of the Competition Act that sets out the principles to be applied in determining questions that arise in relation to competition within the UK with effect from 1 January 2021. The chapter also contains a table of all the decisions under the Competition Act to have been published on the website of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) since the ninth edition of the book in December 2017.

Chapter

Cover Competition Law

4. Article 101(3)  

This chapter examines Article 101(3) of the Treaty of Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). Article 101(3) provides a ‘legal exception’ to the prohibition in Article 101(1) by providing that it may be declared inapplicable in respect of agreements, decisions or concerted practices, or of categories of agreements, decisions or concerted practices, that satisfy four conditions. After making some preliminary comments on the application of Article 101(3), this chapter discusses the four conditions in Article 101(3). It then considers the implications of Regulation 1/2003 for undertakings and their professional advisers, and in particular their need to ‘self-assess’ the application of Article 101(3) to agreements. The final section of this chapter describes the system of so-called ‘block exemptions’.