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Dominance / Abuse

Article 102 prohibits the abuse of a dominant market position within the common internal market or in a substantial part of it, in so far as it may affect trade between Member States. Abuse of dominance can take a variety of forms.

Examples of abusive practices covered by Article 102 include: 

  • Predatory pricing: This means pricing by a dominant company which has as a principal objective the elimination or weakening of a competitor. Predatory pricing could involve selective price cutting, unprofitable price levels and pricing aimed at a specific competitor.
  • Price discrimination: a dominant firm sells identical products at different prices under identical cost conditions or identical products at a common price under different cost conditions.
  • Refusal to deal: a dominant firm refuses to supply products to existing or new customers, or limits the access to an essential facility or a network.
  • Tying: a dominant firm selling products X and Y makes the purchase of product X conditional to the purchase of product Y. Product Y can be purchased freely on the market, but product X can only be purchased together with product Y.
  • Bundling: a dominant firm sells products X and Y together but not separately (pure bundle) or it sells products X and Y separately, but the price for the bundle is lower than the sum of the individual prices (mixed bundle).

Economic analysis plays a key role in the assessment of potential abuses in dominance cases. EE&MC defines in a first step the relevant market in which an alleged abuse occurs. Ensuing steps involve the establishment of dominance as well as the assessment of actual and potential effects of an alleged abusive practice on the relevant antitrust market.