Images are still loading please cancel your preview and try again shortly.

Accessibility tools

Vertical restraints

We have market-leading experience in dealing with complex antitrust issues related to supply chain management and distribution. Our cross-border antitrust team offers hands-on support, from distribution system design to implementation as well as effective defence against antitrust investigations in this space

Vertical restraints

With the growing focus of antitrust authorities on vertical restrictions in an era of increased digitalisation, particularly in Europe but also in China and the US, our global Antitrust and Foreign Investment team helps clients build successful distribution and other supplier-customer strategies in compliance with competition laws, while avoiding the pitfalls of prohibited vertical restraints.

We are mindful of the strategic importance of an adequate distribution system and have expertise in navigating vertical restraints in light of their potential impact on commercial arrangements. Our common aim is to offer practical advice to maximise the business potential of our clients while managing the commercial, financial and reputational considerations attached to antitrust compliance. This increasingly requires factoring in the challenges stemming from the digitisation of the economy, which is attracting heightened focus from competition authorities globally. Our One Team mindset ensures that our clients benefit from consistent and harmonised advice on a global level.

We offer a first-class service, covering a broad range of topics. This includes advisory work on the design and implementation of distribution systems, large-scale compliance reviews to stress-test your commercial agreements and identify potential risk areas along with mitigation strategies, as well as assistance in investigations by competition authorities. We have advised clients on vertical restraints across the globe, including in Europe, the US, China and Hong Kong, and can offer you strategic advice to manage any compliance risk.

How can we help you?

  • Assist with and respond to competition law investigations in respect of distribution relationships and e-commerce policy, leveraging our international perspective and innovative approach
  • Advise on the competition law implications of vertical restraints, such as exclusivities, online restrictions, resale price maintenance, parallel trade and most favoured nation or price parity clauses and deliver risk-minimising and value enhancing solutions 
  • Design and help implement efficient and compliant route-to-market strategies, including drafting or commenting on supply or distribution arrangements (e.g. exclusive distribution arrangements, selective distribution arrangements, franchises)


  • Conduct compliance reviews of distribution arrangements as well as audits of internal business practices in relation to, for example, parallel trade and resale price maintenance in order to identify any antitrust risk and propose efficient remedial strategies
  • Provide competition training to legal or commercial teams, with a special focus on vertical restraints and associated risks with practical recommendations
  • Actively contribute to regulatory changes, for example by participating in public consultations (e.g. the renewal of the European Vertical Block Exemption Regulation) in close collaboration with our clients while ensuring that our clients are kept up to date with developments and insights on the process

Our key experience with Vertical Restraints

Our recent experience includes:

Related insights

Matching Articles

Client Services:
Reset Filters

Related insights

Related Client Services

Antitrust & Foreign Investment

Linklaters’ Antitrust & Foreign Investment group is one of the world’s leading law practices. With 27 partners and over 120 dedicated lawyers, we help clients successfully navigate fast-evolving competition and foreign investment laws across the globe. Our approach is to combine a deep understanding of clients’ businesses and strategies with our know-how of the regulatory landscape – and to rely on our credibility with public sector decision-makers. The result is a clear track record of innovation in dealing effectively with complex global, EU and domestic transactional and behavioural matters.


Foreign Investment Control

At Linklaters, we have world-leading experience thanks to our dedicated and truly integrated global network. We are continually monitoring developments in this rapidly evolving area in order to remain ahead of the curve. We offer clients a one stop shop for handling merger control and foreign investment review filings: a single, central point of contact, as well as a consistently high level of quality.


Merger Control

Merger control is critical to the success of any M&A transaction. Linklaters’ truly global team works with clients to devise their global merger control strategy. We combine commercial, legal, economic and often political considerations to maximise the chance of a successful outcome. We offer clients a one stop shop for handling merger control and foreign investment review filings: a single, central point of contact, as well as a consistently high level of quality.



The need to manage and control the risk of cartel exposure at a global level has become a corporate imperative. Linklaters’ Antitrust & Foreign Investment team is one of the world’s leading global practices, with extensive experience advising those with “most to lose” on all of the major global cartel investigations.


Dawn Raids

In the event of a dawn raid, companies need immediate legal assistance. Linklaters has extensive experience of assisting clients with dawn raids, ensuring a unified and efficient response to authorities across multiple jurisdictions and protecting our clients’ rights in any subsequent cartel or other antitrust investigation.


Competition and Antitrust Litigation

Linklaters’ specialist competition litigators combine technical expertise with strategic advice to pursue or defend claims on behalf of our clients before national courts across Europe, before the EU courts, the US courts and elsewhere across the globe. The leading cartel litigation and white-collar crime practice successfully conducts and coordinates multi-jurisdictional litigation for clients to ensure the best possible outcome.


Market and Sector Investigations

Linklaters’ Antitrust & Foreign Investment team is at the forefront of advising clients on how to deal effectively with market and sector investigations. We get to grips quickly with the market dynamics at the heart of the investigation and the economics of your business, providing strategic advice and creative thinking throughout the process to ensure the best possible outcome.


Abuse of Dominance

Our team has extensive experience assisting clients with complex dominance related issues. We take an active role in the policy debate through our work for clients and in our other professional activities.


State Aid

In this evolving legal environment, companies with no previous (and often no foreseen) exposure to State aid issues are increasingly affected by the rules. Companies increasingly view State aid law as a powerful tool to challenge the legality of fiscal regimes and other State measures which favour their competitors. Our clients gain a competitive advantage from our wealth of experience in handling complex State aid cases.


Public procurement

Linklaters has extensive experience of advising on the application of the EU procurement Directives and the implementing regulations adopted in various Member States. We have been involved in many important projects for both private and public sector clients (including national governments), which have required a combination of detailed technical legal expertise, innovative thinking and commercial focus.


Economic & Utility Regulation

The team has advised on price controls, market access and liberalisation for utilities companies, as well as on the regulatory issues arising in the context of mergers and acquisitions and financing/restructuring transactions.



We help our clients to navigate this constantly-evolving landscape, and are currently directly engaged with some of the most significant enforcement in this area, working closely with clients and regulators to tackle the complex problems posed by this fast-paced, data-driven industry.


x Find a Lawyer