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Academic Articles Awards > Unilateral Conduct

Conditional pricing: Why the General Court is wrong in Intel and what the Court of Justice can do to rebalance the assessment of rebates

Luc Peeperkorn, Concurrences, art. N° 70835, pp. 43-63, 2015

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Readers’ vote will close on February 15, 2016. Readers’ vote will allow you to nominate 1 article for each of the Awards, i.e., 10 Academic articles, 10 Business articles, and the best Soft Laws. The readers’ short-list of Academic and Business Articles will be communicated to the Board together with the 20 articles nominated by the Steering Committees. The Board will decide on the award-winning articles. Results will be announced at the Awards ceremony to take place in Washington DC on the eve of the ABA Antitrust Spring Meeting on April 5, 2016.

This article provides arguments why in Intel the General Court is wrong in denying the relevance of the effects-based approach for the assessment of exclusivity rebates. Conditional rebates, including exclusivity rebates, and single branding/exclusive purchasing and tying obligations, should not be dealt with under a “by object” standard once the firm in question is dominant. Such treatment is not justified in view of the possible efficiencies, it would undermine the consistent application of Articles 101 and 102 in view of the similarities of the possible effects of the various rebate systems and obligations, and it would discourage pro-competitive agreements and conduct by both dominant and non-dominant firms. The goal of EU competition law is to protect competition for the benefit of consumers, not to protect competitors against competition, even if this competition is waged by a dominant firm. The Court of Justice can repair the damage to a consistent and proper application of Article 102 by confirming the effects-based approach, including the useful role that the “as efficient competitor test” can and should play as part of that approach, for the assessment of conditional rebates, including exclusivity rebates.

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