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Exklusivitets- och trohetsskapande rabatter - En åtskillnad utan skillnad

Bergdahl, Thomas LU (2017) JURM02 20172
Department of Law
Faculty of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Sedan avgörandet i Hoffmann-La Roche, som meddelades 1979, har EU-domstolen framhållit att rabatter som är villkorade med exklusivitet utgör missbruk av dominerande ställning i den mening som avses i artikel 102 FEUF. I Hoffmann-La Roche tillämpades ett formbaserat angreppssätt genom vilket exklusivitetsrabatterna presumerades inneha konkurrensbegränsande ändamål till sin natur och var därför otillåtna. Med andra ord medförde exklusivitetsrabatterna inga konkurrensfördelar, utan syftade till att utesluta konkurrenter.

För rabatter som inte till sin natur ansågs inneha konkurrensbegränsande ändamål, skulle en prövning av konkurrensbegränsande effekt genomföras. I Michelin I etablerades att rabatter som inte var formellt villkorade med... (More)
Sedan avgörandet i Hoffmann-La Roche, som meddelades 1979, har EU-domstolen framhållit att rabatter som är villkorade med exklusivitet utgör missbruk av dominerande ställning i den mening som avses i artikel 102 FEUF. I Hoffmann-La Roche tillämpades ett formbaserat angreppssätt genom vilket exklusivitetsrabatterna presumerades inneha konkurrensbegränsande ändamål till sin natur och var därför otillåtna. Med andra ord medförde exklusivitetsrabatterna inga konkurrensfördelar, utan syftade till att utesluta konkurrenter.

För rabatter som inte till sin natur ansågs inneha konkurrensbegränsande ändamål, skulle en prövning av konkurrensbegränsande effekt genomföras. I Michelin I etablerades att rabatter som inte var formellt villkorade med exklusivitet skulle samtliga omständigheter beaktas för att konstatera huruvida det förelåg konkurrensbegränsande effekter. Det vill säga huruvida rabatterna hade trohetsskapande effekter.

Sedan Hoffmann-La Roche har genom ekonomisk forskning visats att premisserna vilket det formbaserade angreppssättet härleds, inte håller i praktiken. Rättsutvecklingen har därför gått mot ett mer verkningsbaserat angreppssätt som utreder omständigheter som har en faktisk påverkan på marknaden vad gäller negativ inverkan på effektivitet och konsumenternas välfärd. För att utreda konkurrensbegränsande effekt har därför kommissionen tagit fram det vägledande dokumentet vilket utgår från att kommissionen endast ingriper om rabatten hämmar konkurrensen för konkurrenterna som anses vara lika effektiva som det dominerande företaget. En sådan prövning kallas för det verkningsbaserade angreppssättet och inkluderar lika-effektiv-konkurrent-testet.

I Intel-avgörandet implementerade EU-domstolens det verkningsbaserade angreppssättet på exklusivitetsrabatter och stärkte lika-effektiv-konkurrent-testets ställning vid en prövning av exklusivitetsrabatter. Slutsatsen från avgörandet är att EU-domstolen klargör tillämpningen av det verkningsbaserade angreppssättet på exklusivitetsrabatter vilket är ett steg mot en starkare rättssäkerhet. Vad gäller lika-effektiv-konkurrent-testet utgör testet endast en av flera möjliga metoder att utreda konkurrensbegränsande förmåga, även om testet ställning förstärks i missbruksmål. (Less)
Abstract
In Hoffmann-La Roche, delivered in 1979, the CJEU held that rebates conditional upon exclusivity were abusive within the meaning of Article 102 TFEU. The CJEU applied a rule-based approach in which the exclusivity rebate was presumed to serve an anticompetitive purpose. Put differently, there was no plausible explanation other than the aim to eliminate competitors.

Where a rebate was not deemed to be abusive by its very nature, it became necessary to establish that it had anticompetitive effects. Michelin I established that, where a rebate scheme was not formally conditional upon exclusivity, it was necessary to consider all the circumstances to establish whether it amounted to an abuse of a dominant position. In other words, the... (More)
In Hoffmann-La Roche, delivered in 1979, the CJEU held that rebates conditional upon exclusivity were abusive within the meaning of Article 102 TFEU. The CJEU applied a rule-based approach in which the exclusivity rebate was presumed to serve an anticompetitive purpose. Put differently, there was no plausible explanation other than the aim to eliminate competitors.

Where a rebate was not deemed to be abusive by its very nature, it became necessary to establish that it had anticompetitive effects. Michelin I established that, where a rebate scheme was not formally conditional upon exclusivity, it was necessary to consider all the circumstances to establish whether it amounted to an abuse of a dominant position. In other words, the question was whether the scheme had a ‘loyalty-inducing’ effect.

The experience acquired since Hoffmann-La Roche, revealed in line with contemporary economic research, that the effects that were presumed regarding exclusivity rebates did not reflect reality. Therefore, an increasing consensus arose against the application of rule-based approach to exclusivity rebates. The Commission in its ‘Guidance on Article 102’ considered that it should enforce against rebates only where practices were likely to have anti-competitive effects on the market. To assess anticompetitive effects the ‘Guidance on Article 102’ stated that it only intervenes where the abuse was capable of hampering competition from competitors which were considered to be as efficient as the dominant undertaking. This is assessed under the ‘effects-based’ approach which also included the ’as efficient competitor test’.

In the Intel case, the CJEU supported the ‘effects-based’ approach and highlighted the ’as efficient competitor test’. The conclusion deriving from the case is that the CJEU’s clarification is a step towards legal certainty. However, the ’as efficient competitor test’ is only but a mere proxy depending on the specific context of the case. (Less)
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author
Bergdahl, Thomas LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Exclutivity and lojalty rebates - A distinction without the difference
course
JURM02 20172
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
EU-rätt, EU law, konkurrensrätt, competition law, antitrust, rabatt, rabatter, rebates, exklusivitetsrabatter, trohetsrabatter, exclusivity, lojalty, Intel
language
Swedish
id
8930154
date added to LUP
2018-01-31 16:22:26
date last changed
2018-01-31 16:22:26
@misc{8930154,
  abstract     = {In Hoffmann-La Roche, delivered in 1979, the CJEU held that rebates conditional upon exclusivity were abusive within the meaning of Article 102 TFEU. The CJEU applied a rule-based approach in which the exclusivity rebate was presumed to serve an anticompetitive purpose. Put differently, there was no plausible explanation other than the aim to eliminate competitors. 

Where a rebate was not deemed to be abusive by its very nature, it became necessary to establish that it had anticompetitive effects. Michelin I established that, where a rebate scheme was not formally conditional upon exclusivity, it was necessary to consider all the circumstances to establish whether it amounted to an abuse of a dominant position. In other words, the question was whether the scheme had a ‘loyalty-inducing’ effect.

The experience acquired since Hoffmann-La Roche, revealed in line with contemporary economic research, that the effects that were presumed regarding exclusivity rebates did not reflect reality. Therefore, an increasing consensus arose against the application of rule-based approach to exclusivity rebates. The Commission in its ‘Guidance on Article 102’ considered that it should enforce against rebates only where practices were likely to have anti-competitive effects on the market. To assess anticompetitive effects the ‘Guidance on Article 102’ stated that it only intervenes where the abuse was capable of hampering competition from competitors which were considered to be as efficient as the dominant undertaking. This is assessed under the ‘effects-based’ approach which also included the ’as efficient competitor test’. 

In the Intel case, the CJEU supported the ‘effects-based’ approach and highlighted the ’as efficient competitor test’. The conclusion deriving from the case is that the CJEU’s clarification is a step towards legal certainty. However, the ’as efficient competitor test’ is only but a mere proxy depending on the specific context of the case.},
  author       = {Bergdahl, Thomas},
  keyword      = {EU-rätt,EU law,konkurrensrätt,competition law,antitrust,rabatt,rabatter,rebates,exklusivitetsrabatter,trohetsrabatter,exclusivity,lojalty,Intel},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Exklusivitets- och trohetsskapande rabatter - En åtskillnad utan skillnad},
  year         = {2017},
}