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Case C-211/22, Super Bock: The Binon (formalistic) Era Is Over, And Vertical Price-Fixing Is No Longer The Odd One Out

 |  July 4, 2023

By: Pablo Ibañez Colomo (Chillin’ Competition)

A previous post on this platform revealed why formalism is ineffective in assessing whether an agreement limits competition. Simply including clauses for price-fixing or market-sharing does not automatically indicate a ‘by object’ infringement.

What’s more, the legal precedents do not support the rigid interpretation of Article 101(1) TFEU. The Court consistently highlights the importance of considering the economic and legal context in reaching any conclusion regarding the agreement.

Speaking of legal precedents, there was a small instance of formalism akin to Asterix’s Gaul. In the Binon case, the Court of Justice declared that vertical price-fixing restricts competition by object (Binon, para 44). This conclusion was solely based on the nature of the restraint itself…