Eu Competition Rules On Horizontal Agreements Between Companies

For example, the guidelines consider a horizontal agreement to be economically advantageous if it is a means of risk-sharing, cost-cutting, increased investment, pooling of know-how, improving product quality and diversity, and introducing innovation more quickly. On the other hand, horizontal cooperation can create competition problems if it has negative effects on the market in terms of price, production, innovation or product diversity and quality. A category exemption regulation provides a safe haven for certain types of agreements between companies with limited cumulative market share (less than 25% for R and S; D and less than 20% for specialisation and joint production agreements). By their nature, these agreements are considered more positive than negative on competition and are therefore excluded from the general prohibition on restriction of competition. If the company`s market share exceeds the category exemption threshold, the agreement is not automatically illegal, but its impact on competition must be assessed individually. The second major development of horizontal guidelines concerns standardization, which is one of the most important development issues in some technical sectors. The guidelines are intended to explain how to ensure competitive selection of industrial standards and how access to selected standards is granted on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. In practice, many standards-setting disputes are related to the role of intellectual property rights and the lack of transparency in the choice of standard. If all four criteria are met, the efficiency gains generated by an agreement can be considered compensation for the resulting competition restrictions. The European Commission (“The Commission”) adopted new rules on horizontal cooperation agreements on 14 December 2010. The rules were adopted following a process of distributing a questionnaire to Member States and consultation with interested parties in 2008 and a public consultation in May and June 2010. The Commission considers that some of the restrictions imposed by EI are aimed at them.