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

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