Revamped EU Vertical Agreements block exemption and accompanying guidelines enter into force

A new block exemption Regulation (EU No 330/2010) and Guidelines for vertical agreements came into force on 1 June 2010, following expiry of the previous Regulation 2790/1999.

Main changes in the regime are the introduction of a new safe harbour market share threshold of 30% for each party, i.e. not only for the supplier as previously, but also for the distributor. Below this threshold, the benefit of the block exemption applies, provided all other conditions are met. Further, the new guidelines provide detailed guidance on when restrictions on online sales will be permitted. The aim is to provide clear incentives as a basis to develop online activities and to ensure that every distributor is allowed to use the internet to sell products.

The new Regulation provides for a one year transitional period for existing agreements already in force on 31 May 2010, which satisfy the conditions for exemption provided for in Regulation 2790/1999.

The text of the new Block Exemption Regulation and Guidelines.