Standardization agreements often result in significant efficiency gains. For example, EU-wide standards can facilitate market integration and enable companies to market their goods and services in all Member States, which can lead to wider consumer choice and lower prices. Standards that create technical interoperability and compatibility often promote competition between different companies` technologies and help prevent infiltration on a given supplier. In addition, standards can reduce transaction costs for sellers and buyers. Standards, such as. B the quality, safety and environmental aspects of a product can also facilitate consumer choice and improve product quality. Standards also play an important role in innovation. They can reduce the time it takes to put new technology to market and facilitate innovation by enabling companies to rely on agreed-upon solutions. The criteria set out in these guidelines apply to horizontal cooperation agreements on both goods and services (hereafter referred to as „products”). These guidelines complement the Commission`s (EU) Regulation (…] on the application of Article 101, paragraph 3, of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to certain categories of research and development agreements (4) (hereafter referred to as the „Category Exemption Regulation for R and; (D”) and the Commission`s (EU) Regulation […] on the application of Article 101, paragraph 3, from the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to certain categories of Specialisation Agreements (`Category Exemption Regulation in the Field of R`D`) (hereafter the Regulation on Class Exemption in the Field of R-D) and the Commission`s Regulation (EU) No. , paragraph 3, of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to certain categories of Specialisation Agreements (hereafter referred to as the Regulation on Class Exemption in the Field of R-D) The regulation on the application of the Standardisation Agreement must take into account the likely effects of the standard on the relevant markets. The following considerations apply to all standardization agreements that deviate from the principles set out in points 280 to 286. The new horizontal guidelines revised existing guidelines on the applicability of Article 101 of the TFUE to cooperation agreements and set out a framework for the analysis of the most common forms of horizontal cooperation agreements.
While these guidelines are not binding on the courts, they provide valuable insight into the relevant criteria to be considered when self-assessing horizontal agreements. This quick guide summarizes the assessment of competition in cooperation agreements between competitors under EU competition law. As a general rule, agreements that involve pricing, production limitation or distribution with customers limit competition. However, in the context of production agreements, this is not the case if: not all reciprocal distribution agreements have resulted in a restriction of competition. However, depending on the current situation, some reciprocal distribution agreements may have restrictive effects on competition. The assessment of such an agreement focuses on whether the agreement in question is objectively necessary to allow the parties to enter the other party`s market. If this is the case, the agreement will not lead to horizontal competition problems. However, if the agreement reduces the decision-making autonomy of one of the parties entering the market or on the markets of other parties by limiting its incentives, it should have restrictive effects on competition. The same is true for non-reciprocal agreements, but the risk of restrictive effects on competition is less pronounced.