Is there a procedure in which individuals can complain to the cartel enforcement authority and abuse of dominant position about allegedly illegal vertical restrictions? Price discrimination may be automatically exempted for vertical agreements covered by the category exemption. However, some measures to protect discriminatory pricing practices (for example. B, blocking cross-border sales, customer restrictions or vertical pricing) may be significant restrictions. If the vertical agreement is not subject to the category exemption, an analysis based on Article 101 of the TFUE is required. If the agreement is within the scope of Article 101 of the TFUE, a self-assessment is required on the basis of Article 101, paragraph 3, of the TFUE. The guidelines that support such an assessment are contained in the vertical guidelines and in the complementary guidelines. In recent years, franchising has become an increasingly popular sales structure throughout the EU. A franchise is a vertical agreement and should therefore not contain any of the severe restrictions set out in the VBER to qualify for the category exemption. Nevertheless, it is (…) On the merits, in Karen Murphy/Media Protection Services (2011), the ECJ examined whether distribution agreements between broadcasters who licensed Football Association Premier League content did not violate Article 101. The agreements required broadcasters to encrypt their signals in order to prohibit access to games to potential customers outside the territory of broadcasters.
The European Court of Justice found that agreements to prohibit or restrict the provision of cross-border services were useful in restricting competition, unless other circumstances warrant that such an agreement is not likely to affect competition. From the EU`s point of view, the legislation in this area consists mainly of Articles 101 and 102 of the TFUE, Regulation 330/2010 (general category exemption for vertical agreements), Regulation 461/2010 (sectoral exemption by category for the automotive sector), vertical guidelines and complementary guidelines (automotive sector). The Commission`s vertical guidelines show that setting a “fixed or minimum selling price or a fixed or minimum price to be respected by the purchaser” constitutes a marked restriction of competition and that such a fixing of resale prices can be obtained indirectly, including “an agreement linking the compulsory resale price to the resale prices of competitors”. As a result, these “price relativity agreements” almost always fall under Article 101, paragraph 1, are de minimis communication and vertical category exemption outside safe ports, and are generally considered unlikely to benefit from an individual exemption under Article 101, paragraph 3.