Vertical Agreements Article 101

The most significant change in the assessment of vertical restrictions resulting from the Commission`s audit of the vertical class exemption and vertical guidelines in 2010 was the introduction of a new requirement that neither the supplier nor the purchaser have a market share greater than 30% to allow an agreement to benefit from the safe port provided by the vertical class exemption. Has the Authority made any decisions regarding the steps taken by suppliers to enforce the terms of selective distribution agreements where such measures are aimed at preventing unauthorized buyers from being sold or sold by authorized buyers in an unauthorized manner? The Commission`s vertical guidelines do not distinguish between different types of online distribution channels, but they do contain some guidance on the use of third-party platforms. The vertical guidelines specify that a supplier may require, particularly in a selective distribution context, that buyers use third-party platforms only in accordance with the standards and conditions agreed between the buyer and the supplier for the purchaser`s use of the Internet. A supplier may also require customers not to visit the buyer`s website via a website that bears the name or logo of a third-party platform when the buyer`s website is hosted by the same third-party platform. However, no decision has been taken to date with regard to the Commission`s vertical restrictions, distinguishing the different types of online sales channels. The Commission`s investigation into Amazon`s e-book business, opened in June 2015 and concluded with a commitment decision in May 2017, focused on differences in the way online distribution channels are handled. The investigation focused on Amazon`s contractual rights to be informed of different or more favourable terms offered by publishers to competing online platforms and to offer at least as favourable terms. In January 2017, the Commission launched a consultation on Amazon`s proposed commitments to end the contentious practices and the Commission formally accepted Amazon`s commitments in May 2017. Furthermore, in its 1996 Leclerc/Commission the Court of the European Union stated that Article 101, paragraph 1, could apply when most or all producers in a given sector use selective distribution and that “the selective distribution systems in question restrict distribution to certain existing channels or that there is no viable competition, particularly with regard to price, given the nature of the products concerned.”