The Vertical Block Exemption Regulation1 (VBER) – the antitrust law for most vertical agreements in Europe2 – entered into force on 1 June 2010. It creates, among other things, a safe haven for vertical agreements that fulfil certain conditions and practically protects them against the application of Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). Guided by the VBER and the vertical guidelines3 published by the European Commission (EC), it is up to companies to assess their vertical agreements themselves. The current VBER expires on May 31, 2022. The RBBs and vertical guidelines are part of the EU legal framework, which governs so-called „vertical“ agreements: these are concluded by companies at different levels of the supply chain and allow the parties to ensure a „path to the market“ for goods and services. Vertical agreements are the cornerstone of EU distribution and purchasing agreements and are one of the most common trade agreements that must comply with EU competition law. Consequently, the BERBs and the vertical guidelines have been instrumental in making available to undertakings an automatic anti-cartel unblocking system for vertical agreements, provided that they are within the market share thresholds and meet the other conditions and guidelines laid down by the VBER or the vertical guidelines respectively. Vertical agreements are agreements between companies operating at different levels of the production or distribution chain, for example. B an agreement between a producer and a distributor. Under existing EU law, companies must themselves assess the compliance of their vertical agreements with EU competition law, which prohibits agreements restricting competition in accordance with Article 101(1) TF.

The VDC exempts certain types of agreements from the prohibition in Article 101(1) if certain conditions are met, thus giving companies the certainty that their agreement complies with EU competition law. [2] Vertical agreements between competitors are examined in more detail. See Regulation (EC) No 330/2010, Article 2(4). [1] Commission Regulation (EU) No 330/2010 of 20 April 2010 on the application of Article 101(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to groups of vertical agreements and concerted practices, OJ L 347, 31.12.2010, p. 1. L 102, Apr. . . . .