On 19 April 2012 the Court of Justice of the European Union, the EU’s highest court, handed down a judgment concerning abuse of dominance by reverse vending machine manufacturer Tomra. The court, upholding a decision of the European Commission and a GC judgment upholding that decision, confirmed that in order for there to be an abuse of dominance, it is enough that the practice in question tends to restrict competition or is capable of having that effect. It is not necessary for a practice to have an actual effect on competition. Certain exclusivity agreements, discount schemes and retroactive rebates entered into by Tomra with various supermarket chain customers in the EU were abusive, and justified the EUR24 million fine imposed by the EC. The case is important for dominant companies that enter into these types of arrangements and for the companies that deal with them.
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European court confirms treatment of exclusivity agreements, discount schemes, and retroactive rebates by dominant companies
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