In the case of standardization agreements with different types of disclosure models from previous years in the field of intellectual property by those described in point 286, it would be appropriate to check on a case-by-case basis whether the disclosure model in question (example. B a disclosure model that does not require disclosure from previous years, but only encourages) effective access to the standard. In other words, it is appropriate to consider whether, in a specific context, an informed choice between the technologies and intellectual property principles associated with them is not prevented in practice by the disclosure model of previous years. A common form of joint purchase agreement is an “alliance,” that is, a business association formed by a group of retailers for the group purchase of products. The horizontal agreements between the members of the alliance or the decisions taken by the alliance must first be considered as a horizontal cooperation agreement in accordance with these guidelines. Only if this assessment does not raise competition concerns is it appropriate to assess the relevant vertical agreements between the alliance and a single member of the alliance, as well as between the alliance and the suppliers. These agreements are covered, under certain conditions, by the Vertical Restrictions Exemption Regulation. Vertical agreements that are not covered by this category exemption regulation are not considered illegal, but require individual review. In some sectors where production is the main economic activity, even a simple production agreement can, in itself, remove important dimensions of competition and, therefore, directly limit competition between the parties to the agreements. In assessing the impact of a standardization agreement, it is necessary to take into account the market share of standard-based products or services. It may not always be possible to assess with certainty at an early stage whether, in practice, the standard is taken up by a large part of the industry or if it is only a standard used by a marginal part of the industry concerned.
In many cases, the relevant market shares of the companies involved in the development of the standard could be used as a substitute for estimating the expected market share of the standard (the parties to the definition of the standard having, in most cases, an interest in the implementation of the standard) (123). However, since the effectiveness of standardization agreements is often proportional to the share of industry involved in the definition and/or application of the standard, the high market shares held by the parties in the market or in the markets affected by the standard will not necessarily lead to the conclusion that the standard may have restrictive effects on competition. Joint marketing generally involves the exchange of sensitive business information, including marketing strategies and pricing. In most marketing agreements, a certain level of information exchange is required to implement the agreement. It is therefore necessary to consider whether the exchange of information can lead to a collusive outcome with regard to the activities of the parties inside and outside the cooperation. All negative effects resulting from the exchange of information are not assessed separately, but taking into account the overall impact of the agreement. (12) It should be noted that this test applies only to the relationship between the different chapters of these guidelines and not to the relationship between different exemption regulations by category.