The European Commission adopted a Regulation block exempting agreements between manufacturers and distributors for the sale of products and services. The Regulation and accompanying Guidelines take into account the development, in the last 10 years, of the Internet as a force for online sales and for cross-border commerce, something that the Commission wants to promote as it increases consumer choice and price competition. The basic principle remains that companies are free to decide how their products are distributed, provided their agreements do not contain price-fixing or other hardcore restrictions, and both manufacturer and distributor do not have more than a 30% market share. Approved distributors are free to sell on the Internet without limitation on quantities, customers' location and restrictions on prices. The key documents can be found here:
Click here for the Commission Regulation on the application of Article 101(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to categories of vertical agreements and concerted practices.
Click here for the Guidelines on Vertical Agreements.
Click here for the Press Release.
Click here for FAQs.