Although these cooperation agreements are in principle considered anti-competitive and therefore prohibited, they may benefit from an exemption under Article 101, paragraph 3 of the Treaty, if they meet the following four cumulative conditions: in some of the opinions received so far, stakeholders have focused on standard patents and essential franco negotiations within patent pools and standard development bodies, as well as on joint retail alliance sales contracts. Stakeholders also asked for clarification on the rules on the exchange of information between competitors. In accordance with horizontal guidelines, the Commission will not intervene in standards-setting agreements that meet certain criteria: the new BER specialisation, Regulation 1218/2010, covers the applicability of Article 101, paragraph 3, from the TFUE to certain categories of specialisation agreements. If all four criteria are met, the efficiency gains generated by an agreement can be considered compensation for the resulting competition restrictions. However, joint valuation agreements were also examined. The Commission has introduced additional flexibility by adding joint operating agreements with exclusive licences. Therefore, a scenario in which only one party can manufacture and distribute products subject to the cooperation agreement on the basis of an exclusive license granted by the other parties is now covered. Horizontal cooperation agreements („cooperation agreements“) are agreements between real or potential competitors operating in the market at the same level of production or distribution. There are six general categories of cooperation agreements, including research and development („R and D“); Production; Purchases Marketing standardization, the usual concepts of the sector; Exchange of information („IE“). Certain categories of efficiency gains are explicitly covered by the guidelines and refer to the calibration of performance against industry best practices, facilitating the allocation of production to high-demand markets or low-cost enterprises, enabling significant cost savings, limiting risk risks and reducing research costs and benefits for consumers through the exchange of public information. The new BERs came into effect on January 1, 2011 and are valid until December 31, 2022. There will be a two-year transition period for agreements that are exempt until December 31, 2012 and that benefit from the exemption until December 31, 2012.
With regard to the class-based R -D exemption, it has been extended to research agreements in which one party only funds research and development by another party. It also provides companies with more flexibility to take advantage of the results of research and development. However, the relatively low combined market share threshold (25%), which includes firms likely to enter the market within three years, has been criticized for providing only very small firms. The new rules of the cooperation agreement have been revised and specify the category exemption regulations (DR), specialisation criteriA and horizontal guidelines. Regulations that exempt competition rules from certain R and D, specialization and production, which are unlikely to raise competition issues and which, with horizontal guidelines, indicate to companies the means to cooperate without having to break the rules on cartels and abuse of dominance by providing self-assessment factors. Both the category exemption and the horizontal guidelines provide limited guidelines for self-assessment of certain contractual restrictions in the R and;amp; D.