Economic analyses of vertical agreements – a self-assessment

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Series Details Vol.17
Publication Date 2005
ISBN 90-411-2328-8
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Since the EC Block Exemption Regulation (BER) went into force in June 2000, companies are required to undertake a self-assessment of the possible consequences of their 'vertical agreements', that is, of agreements that arise in a channel of distribution between firms at different levels of trade or industry, i.e., between a manufacturer and wholesaler, between a supplier and customer, or between a licensor of technology and his licensee. Such an assessment can be extremely complex. Although the European Commission has issued regulatory guidelines to facilitate the self-assessment process, there can be little doubt that the in-depth analysis and guidance provided in this book will be greatly welcomed by business people and their counsel.

Economic Analyses of Vertical Agreements clarifies the steps, tests, determinations, and evaluations entailed in assessing vertical agreements, especially when an individual examination under Article 81 EC Treaty is required (as it is for all companies with more than a 30% market share in a relevant market). Among the terms and factors thoroughly explained, from the various pertinent points of view, are the following:

vertical restraints and their components;
exclusive and selective distribution agreements;
channel strategies;
single branding;
'free rider' rationale;
the European 'structured' rule of reason in Article 81 EC Treaty.

The presentation is particularly notable for its wide-ranging discussion of types of vertical restraints and combinations of vertical restraints and how each is impacted by the new vertical agreement rules. The author also discusses the relevant case law of the EC Courts.

Companies doing business in Europe - and their legal and economic advisers - will find here an absorbingly detailed overview of requirements and procedures, a clear analysis against which to measure strategic choices, and an enormously useful handbook to consult at every turn for expert guidance through the assessment of their vertical agreements.

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