Dear Readers,

In this edition of the CPI Antitrust Chronicle, we look at the topic of Vertical Restraints. Generally speaking, within competition law, a vertical restraint is an agreement undertaken at different levels of production, distribution, or supply (e.g. an anti-competitive agreement between a manufacturer and distributor).

Vertical restraints are a well-known and much-written about area within antitrust, but there are new developments. In September 2020, the European Commission published the Staff Working Document on its review of the Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (“VBER”) and is in the process of revising its VBER and Vertical Guidelines, which expire in 2022.

A main focus of this Chronicle addresses where things stand in this evaluation and revision process in Europe. For instance, will there be changes to the list of hardcore restrictions contained in the rules – those agreements typically treated as having the object of restricting competition under EU competition law?

Many of the past cases, and economic literature on Vertical Restraints, have focused on the physical world of manufacturers and distributors. Authors in this Chronicle also consider what’s new and different about the digital world that matters for the antitrust analysis of vertical restraints.

With perspectives from the EU, UK, and U.S., we hope this edition of the Chronicle furthers the discussion and debate on Vertical Restraints.

As always, thank you to ou

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