`horizontal cooperation` means agreements or arrangements between undertakings operating at the same level of the supply chain, i.e. actual (or potential) competitors, for example. B a joint R&D project of competing technology companies or a sales and marketing joint venture between competitors. In contrast, „vertical“ agreements are agreements between companies operating at different levels of the supply chain, for example.B. A contract for the supply of a supplier of raw materials to a manufacturer or a distribution agreement between a manufacturer and a retailer4 The DOJ and Federal Trade Commission (public health) guidelines stipulate that joint purchases do not raise anti-dominant cartel issues, unless such agreements can be considered „comparable“ infringements of competition law and are considered to be „comparable“ to competition law. as anti-competitive, whether they are or not. anti-competitive effects. In theory, such trade could still be justified under Article 101(3), but it is unlikely that it will be exempted, as it is generally linked to price or quantity fixing cartels. When evaluating marketing agreements, most of the general issues referred to in Section 3 will be relevant.
A few other points of the Guidelines should be highlighted: other types of subcontracting between competitors (referred to by the Commission as subcontracting for the expansion of production, for example.B contract manufacturing contracts) are not covered by the block exemption, but similar principles apply on the basis of the Guidelines. The Commission`s subcontracting notice7 may also be relevant. Irrespective of this risk, the Commission has established a relatively clear framework within which agreements can be concluded between competitors that include joint production, purchase or sale/marketing or cooperation with regard to R&D or IPR licences. These agreements are increasingly used to offer cost-effective alternatives to mergers and/or provide other effective means of securing business objectives through cooperation, and can be designed in such a way as to minimise any relevant competitive risk from the outset. As regards joint production/specialisation agreements including joint sale/distribution, the Guidelines specify that they may still be exempted even above the 20% ceiling, provided that joint sales are a necessary element of the overall regime: in other words, the parties would not have entered into the joint production agreement (the parties would also have to demonstrate: that the agreement generates significant efficiency gains that will be passed on. . to consumers). . . .