New rules on the application of Irish competition rules to vertical agreements entered into force on 1 December 2010. The new rules consist of a revised statement by the Autorité de la concurrence (the „declaration“) and an opinion („opinion“) concerning vertical agreements and concerted practices. The revised provisions replace a December 2003 declaration and communication. Even if a distribution agreement contains an excluded restriction, the agreement may nevertheless benefit from the block exemption if the infringement clause can be dissociated from the agreement. Under these conditions, the remaining parts of the distribution agreement may be maintained. An unlawful restriction on exclusion cannot be dissociated from an agreement if such a separation would destroy the fundamental character of the agreement. If the agreement falls within the scope of the law, it is necessary to examine whether the restriction in question falls within the scope of the explicit exceptions in the declaration. Exclusive distribution agreements can be justified in terms of profitability. The Commission has attempted to reconcile the restrictions of competition resulting from exclusive distribution agreements with features which promote competition between brands. .

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