EC VBER study points to need to revise rules to keep pace with market changes

The European Commission’s (EC) final report on the evaluation of the Vertical Block Exemption Regulations (VBER) and vertical guidelines has indicated grounds for the possible revision of the rules which may be out of step with market developments and business practices.

While the online trade space in the past 10 years witnessed rapid expansion in online trade in both business to business and business to consumer level, the types of agreements covered in the VBER and guidelines have not substantially changed in their essence, the study said.

Feedback from law firms showed that the VBER and the vertical guidelines “do not sufficiently reflect market changes, especially digital progress, and consequently their relevance and effectiveness has been gradually decreasing”.

An increase of online sales channels puts agreements which include limitations on cross-selling, such as selective and exclusive distribution, under heightened scrutiny.

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