Coverage

Business counsel express block exemption fears

17 September 2009

Counsel to leading companies today voiced their concerns about the European Commission’s draft version of its new Vertical Block Exemption at GCR’s Review of the Vertical Restraints Regime conference in Brussels.

Programme

08:30 Registration and coffee

09:00 Chairman's opening remarks

09:05 Setting the Scene

Overview of the current rules and their application to the main forms of distribution

Fiona Carlin, Partner, Baker & McKenzie

 9:35 View from the Commission

  • The revised Regulation and Guidelines
  • Main changes

Luc Peeperkorn, Senior Administrator, DG Competition, European Commission

10.20 Discussion and Q&A

10:35 Exclusive Distribution

  • How much more exclusivity will manufacturers be able to grant under the new rules? Do the new rules strike the right balance?
  • Do the new rules offer more flexibility to impose active sales restrictions?
  • How far can internet selling be restricted to protect an exclusive network?
  • Is the protection of parallel trade still a sacred cow (Advocate General’s opinion in Glaxo Spain)?

Frank Wijckmans, Partner, Contrast Law

Edvard Carleson, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Volvo CE

11:10 Coffee break

11:30 Selective Distribution

  • What interests should selective distribution protect and where do the real dangers lie?
  • How do/should trademark rights and unfair competition law fit in?
  • What will the future retail landscape look like and what role will competition law play?

Stephen Kinsella, Partner, Sidley & Austin LLP

12:05 Are there still stricter national rules to take into account?

  • The German and French approach to the unilateral conduct of non-dominant firms in distribution arrangements
  • When are non-dominant suppliers unable to discriminate or to refuse to supply despite being able to do so without offending the EC rules?
  • What effect does this have on the use of quantitative selective distribution and exclusive distribution?
  • Have the practical risks in France been reduced after the recent reform of the French Commercial Code?

Joseph Vogel, Partner, Vogel & Vogel

Markus Wirtz, Partner, Glade Michel Wirtz

12:35 Panel discussion and comment

Luc Peeperkorn, Senior Administrator, DG Competition, European Commission

Paul Lugard, Head of Antitrust, Philips International B.V.

Fabrizio Mecozzi, Legal Counsel, Nike Europe

Fabien Zivy, Head of Chief of Staff of the President, Autorité de la Concurrence

Jackie Holland, Director of Competition Policy, Office of Fair Trading

13:10 Lunch

14:20 Resale Price Maintenance

  • Will there be a sea-change in approach?
  • Given the fines being routinely imposed for RPM across the EU, how will it be possible in practice to assess whether RPM could fall outside of Article 81 or qualify for exemption on an individual exemption?

Joanna Goyder, Barrister, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP

Pamela Jones Harbour, Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission

15:00 Tea

15:15 Buyer Power and other Topical Retailer Practices

  • Will there be much greater concern about practices associated with buyer power?
  • What can be learnt from the supermarket inquiries in the UK and elsewhere?
  • The treatment of slotting allowances and category management arrangements.

Susan Hinchliffe, Partner, Arnold & Porter LLP

Adrian Majumdar, Partner, RBB Economics

16:00 What forms of distribution may dominant suppliers use?

  • Will there be a softening of approach?

Jean Yves Art, Director, Competition Law, Microsoft

16:25 Panel discussion and comment

Luc Peeperkorn, Senior Administrator, DG Competition, European Commission

Paul Lugard, Head of Antitrust, Philips International B.V.

Fabrizio Mecozzi, Legal Counsel, Nike Europe

Jackie Holland, Director of Competition Policy, Office of Fair Trading

Fabien Zivy, Head of Chief of Staff of the President, Autorité de la Concurrence

 17:10 Close of conference

Venue

Radisson SAS Royal Hotel, Rue du Fosse aux Loups 47, 1000 Brussels, Belgium

Ticket prices

Registration is unavailable.