At the end of 2011 the Competition Protection Commission adopted, for the first time, guidelines regarding the exchange of information between competitors.
The guidelines define:
- the characteristics of the exchange of information (eg, market coverage, frequency and publicity);
- the market characteristics which facilitate the unlawful exchange of information; and
- the conditions for exemption of the exchange of information from the general cartel prohibition.
In addition, the commission lists in the guidelines examples of the unlawful exchange of information on the basis of its own practice, the practice of the European Commission and that of member states' anti-monopoly authorities.
Further, the guidelines clarify:
- the types of information which competitors exchange most frequently;
- the characteristics of the unlawful exchange of information; and
- the characteristics of markets in which exchange of information may harm competition.
In general, the commission considers the exchange of strategic and sensitive information as unlawful. According to the guidelines, such information usually relates to prices (eg, actual prices, discounts, increases, decreases and price formulas), clients, production costs, turnover, profits, quality of production, marketing plans and strategies, risks, investments and technologies.
According to the commission, the unlawful exchange of information might occur even when competitors use publicly available information. This might be the case when, in addition to the public information, competitors exchange strategic information.
For further information on this topic please contact Ilko Stoyanov at Advokatsko Druzhestvo Andreev Stoyanov & Tsekova in cooperation with Schönherr Rechtsanwälte GmbH by telephone (+359 2 933 1072), fax (+359 2 986 1105) or email ([email protected]).