The most serious types of competition law infringement are
normally those involving agreements between competitors.
Cooperation between competitors can, however, also bring with
it substantial benefits.
Between hardcore cartel activity and keeping your
competitors at arm's length lies an enormous spectrum of
behaviour, which may be acceptable but is not risk free. There
can be a fine line between lawful and unlawful, the precise
location of which will depend on the facts of each individual
case. Unfortunately, the penalties for getting it wrong can be
To assist companies and their advisers in navigating this
minefield, the European Commission (the EC) has issued
guidelines outlining the analytical framework to be applied to
cooperation between competitors (in EU terminology, horizontal
agreements). These guidelines were refreshed at the end of 2010
and the new guidelines incorporate substantial changes, which
represent important clarification and refinements of the
They also incorporate, for...