Object Vertical Agreements

Thirdly, if the agreement does not contain vertical restrictions, are the parties` positions in the markets in question so weak that the Commission`s de minimis communication can apply? If the criteria for de minimis communication are met, the Commission will not consider the agreement to fall under Article 101, paragraph 1, as it does not substantially limit competition. The limitation of market share, the non-release of certain vertical agreements and the conditions set out in this Regulation normally ensure that the agreements to which the category exemption applies do not allow the companies concerned to eliminate competition for a substantial part of the products concerned. In this communication, the Commission draws attention to the circumstances in which it considers that agreements that may have the effect of preventing, restricting or distorting competition in the internal market do not constitute a significant restriction of competition within the meaning of Article 101 of the Treaty. This negative definition of quirk does not mean that agreements between companies that exceed the thresholds set out in this submission constitute a significant restriction on competition. These agreements can have only a negligible effect on competition and therefore cannot be prohibited under Article 101, paragraph 1, of the Treaty (3). While the distinction between “wanted” and “effective” offences is somewhat blurred, “object violations” are in principle the result of conduct that is inherently (or manifestly) anti-competitive and therefore at the “more serious” end of the scale – “serious” in terms of the likelihood of causing damage and/or the absence of apparent or credible withdrawal characteristics. This exemption applies to the extent that these agreements contain vertical restrictions. The Commission is expected to focus on regulating digital markets by 2020. In 2018, Competition Commissioner Magrethe Vestager has appointed a group of special advisers to report on the future challenges of digitisation in the field of competition.