COMPETITION • EUROPEAN AND FRENCH LAW • RESTRICTIVE AGREEMENTS
Hardcore restrictions or “black clauses” are restrictions of competition contained in a vertical or horizontal agreement that, by their gravity, result in the loss of the exemption for the entire agreement. With regard to vertical agreements, Article 4 of Regulation No 330/2010 refers in particular to terms imposing of minimum sales price, customer or territory restriction clauses (prohibition of active or passive sales, cross-supplies in selective distribution systems, etc.). With regard to horizontal agreements, Article 5 of Regulation No 1217/2010 on research and development agreements refers in particular to clauses limiting R&D activities, no-challenge clauses, price fixing and market sharing, while Article 4 of Regulation No 1218/2010 on specialization agreements condemns clauses on price -fixing, limitation of output or sales , market sharing and product quotas. In addition to the loss of the benefit of the exemption, hardcore restrictions are excluded from the Commission Notice on agreements of minor importance (2014/C 291/01): they can therefore be examined irrespective of the market share of the undertakings.