Originally published as Covington E-Alert on April 27, 2010

 On 20 April 2010, the European Commission published new rules governing so-called “vertical” agreements, such as distribution and supply agreements. The new rules are set out in the Vertical Restraints Block Exemption Regulation and the related Guidelines (see DG Competition’s website). They will become effective as of 1 June 2010 for new agreements and as of 1 June 2011 for existing agreements. This gives companies with distribution agreements in the European Union little time to bring their agreements into line with the new rules.

Below, we highlight the key changes and their practical impact on the operations and agreements of companies operating within the European Union. The principal changes to be aware of concern the promotion and sale of products online, as the new Guidelines clarify how the general rules apply in the online context. Additionally, suppliers must now consider the market shares of their customers, as the new rules address the anticompetitive effects caused by strong buyers. Finally, suppliers now have more options to specifically tailor their distribution systems to their needs, due to the additional clarity and sophistication of the new rules.

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Photo of Jetty Tielemans Jetty Tielemans

Henriette (“Jetty”) Tielemans is co-chair of the firm’s Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice Group and a member of the European Advisory Board of the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP).  Ms. Tielemans was selected by the European Commission in Brussels to join the…

Henriette (“Jetty”) Tielemans is co-chair of the firm’s Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice Group and a member of the European Advisory Board of the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP).  Ms. Tielemans was selected by the European Commission in Brussels to join the five member team of the Commission’s expert group on privacy (GEXPD group).  She advises multinationals on all aspects of data privacy and data security at the EU and Member State level, and has assisted several companies with their compliance and international data transfer issues.