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25 October 2012
The Competition Agency has for the first time accepted commitments under the new legal framework for competition. The commitments were offered by Primalab as the exclusive distributor and authorised repairer of Metrohm products on the relevant market for distribution of laboratory equipment, spare parts and services of Metrohm products in Croatia. The agency found that Primalab's exclusive distribution agreement contained a non-compete obligation during the term of contract concluded for an indefinite period of time, and for three years after the contract's termination. This breaches Croatian competition rules on vertical agreements. Thus, Primalab commited to amend the non-competition clause limiting its duration to five years (from January 1 2010 to December 31 2014) and to one year after the contract's termination, in order to protect the transfer of substantial know-how.
Following an April 2011 complaint by Ohm Lab, which is based in Zabok, the agency also undertook a formal proceeding to investigate whether Primalab abused its dominant position by refusing to sell spare parts and supplies to Ohm Lab. As a result of this, Ohm Lab was prevented from providing repair services as a non-authorised repairer. Here the agency also accepted commitments offered by Primalab to publish information on its official website that all Metrohm spare parts are available to customers for the repair of Metrohm products.
The agency's decisions make the commitments legally binding on Primalab without reaching any conclusion as to whether any infringement of Croatian competition rules has taken place. All commitments were offered by Primalab during the first six months of the proceedings. If Primalab were to breach its commitments, the agency could impose a fine of up to 10% of Primalab's total turnover.
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Gabriele Wahl Cesarec