Rekomenduojamų perpardavimo kainų taikymo vertinimo pagal Europos bendrijos sutarties 81 straipsnį ypatumai.
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This research paper deals with the assessment of the use of recommended resale prices in vertical relations between the supplier and the reseller. The author of the paper states that usually the use of recommended prices does not raise competition concerns and does not infringe Article 81 of the European Community (EC) Treaty because it does not conform with the concept of an ‘agreement’ under this article and, therefore, does not restrict competition within the relevant market. It is alleged that a recommendation is a unilateral act and even if the reseller uses the recommended prices, the agreement between the supplier and the reseller cannot be automatically established. A recommendation becomes an ‘agreement’ if all the three following facts are established: firstly, the supplier expresses a clear intention to use the recommended prices jointly, i.e. with the help of the reseller; secondly, the supplier uses the means of direct or indirect inducement or coercion to induce or force the reseller to adhere to the prices recommended; thirdly, the reseller implements the supplier’s recommendations on prices, since in the case of resistance to the supplier’s suggested price policy a vertical agreement is not considered to have been made. The establishment of the fact of restricting competition (infringing Article 81(1)) is closely connected with the establishment of the fact of the agreement between the parties. If all the three abovementioned facts necessary for the establishment of the agreement between the supplier and the reseller are present, it may be alleged that the supplier and the reseller actually agreed on the fixing of a certain level of resale prices (fixed, minimum or maximum), even though in its form the agreement looks like the agreement on the provision of a list of recommended resale prices. In such a case the agreement on the use of recommended resale prices (and, actually, the agreement on price fixing) shall be assessed as per se restricting competition and, together with other relevant conditions, as infringing Article 81(1) of the EC Treaty. If the agreement on the use of recommended prices is not established, the unilateral recommendations of the supplier shall escape the prohibition of Article 81. Finally, it should be stressed that recommended prices usually benefit from the de minimis Notice or Block Exemption Regulation for Vertical Agreements, unless the quantitative criteria on market shares are not met or, as a result of pressure from or incentives offered by any of the parties to the vertical agreement, recommended prices amount to fixed or minimum sale prices.
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