Object Restrictions and Two-sided Markets in EU Competition Law after Cartes Bancaires

Renato Nazzini, Ali Nikpay, Jan 30, 2015

On September 11, 2014, the Court of Justice overturned the judgment of the General Court upholding the European Commission’s decision in Groupement des Cartes Bancaires. This paper contends that the Court of Justice’s judgment is significant in two respects: First, it attempts to clarify apparent ambiguities and discrepancies in the case law on object restrictions and provides a more structured framework than previously existed for determining whether an agreement is restrictive in this way. However, the paper argues that in doing so the judgment does not fundamentally alter the law in this area as some have argued. Second, the papers contends that the judgment makes important findings as regards two-sided markets, clearly establishing the principle that the interaction between them must be taken into account regardless of whether the restriction under review applies only to one side of the market.

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