Resale Price Maintenance: A Debate About Competition Policy in Europe?

Author (Person)
Series Details Volume 5, Number 2, Pages 479-514
Publication Date May 2009
ISSN 1744-1056
Content Type


"At the Burrell Lecture in 2007, Sir John Vickers pondered whether, if the US Supreme Court in its forthcoming opinion in Leegin Creative Leather Products Inc v PSKS, Inc, DBA Kay’s Kloset. . . Kay’s Shoes reversed its nearly century old per se rule against minimum resale price maintenance (RPM), transatlantic comfort for the European position of hard-core categorisation of vertical price agreements would fall away. Although no great fan of RPM, he indicated that US developments might mean that the time was ripe for a serious debate about competition policy towards RPM in the EU."
"The objective of this article is to consider whether developments in economic thinking, and the Supreme Court’s Opinion in Leegin, might, or should, prompt a rethink or equivalent U-turn in competition policy towards RPM in the EU. In order to address this question, the article commences by examining the arguments and factors that led the Supreme Court to overturn such an entrenched and long-standing rule against RPM. It then considers whether these factors, or other similar factors, might be influential in the development of EU competition policy. Section B thus focuses on Leegin—the background to the case, the views of proponents and opponents of the per se rule, the Supreme Court’s opinion and how the ruling is likely to affect the scrutiny of RPM provisions in the US in the future. Section C then examines how RPM is currently treated under the EC competition rules. It considers the developments that have moulded present policy, whether a change in that policy is likely or desirable and how any change in policy might occur. Some conclusions are drawn in section D."
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