A Contemporary Analysis of Whether the EU Should Reconsider its Rules on Resale Price Maintenance

Author:Christopher Vannart and Giorgios Vrakas
Pages:1-12
Dundee Student Law Review, Vol. II, No. 3
1
A Contemporary Analysis of Whether the EU
Should Reconsider its Rules on Resale Price
Maintenance
Christopher Vannart
Giorgos D Vrakas
INTRODUCTION
The legal status of Resale Price Maintenance (RPM) agreements is a highly
controversial area of competition law in Europe. This paper aims to illustrate
why the European Union (EU) should reconsider its rules on RPM. This paper
consists of four parts. Part 1 will provide the definition for RPM agreements
which will be used throughout the rest of the paper. Having defined what RPM
agreements are, Part 2 will explore the European Commission’s hostile approach
to these agreements. This will be contrasted with the approach taken in the
United States. RPM agreements produce both pro- and anti-competitive effects.
These effects will be explained in Part 3. Finally, Part 4 will draw upon the
arguments advanced in this paper and will show that the European Commission
should change its approach to RPM agreements.
PART 1: WHAT IS RPM?
The most commonly recognised RPM agreements are minimum RPM
agreements, where upstream undertakings (manufacturers or suppliers) impose
a price floor on the resale of their products or agree such a price floor with
downstream undertakings (retailers or distributors). As is discussed below, these
agreements are presumed illegal in the EU. Another, less recognised, RPM
agreement is the maximum RPM agreement, where suppliers impose or agree a
price ceiling for their products. Maximum RPM agreements have generally been

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