Block Exemption Regulation (Regulation)
Vertical agreements are entered into by undertakings which operate in the production or distribution chain at different levels. Such agreements are generally prohibited, however, the EC Treaty provides for exemptions from the general prohibition. The Commission decides whether or not an exemption is given. In its Block Exemption Regulation (EC) No. 2760/1999 and its Guidelines, the Commission is presenting the conditions according to which an agreement is deemed in line with competition law. Said Regulation expires on 31. May 2010. This summer the Commission has submitted a follow-up Regulation and Draft Guidelines for consultation. The drafts serve to take into account the latest developments of e-commerce.
The Block Exemption Regulation increases legal certainty and relieves antitrust authorities of the burden of assessing individual agreements. Certain agreements are deemed in line with competition law only if the market shares of both the supplier and buyer are taken into account. The Guidelines contain pragmatic solutions for several issues raised by e-commerce, however do not address the issue of how to deal with online auction platforms.