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04 August 2011
The new block exemption regulation for horizontal cooperation agreements applies from June 6 2011 and replaces the previous 2004 regulation.
The new regulation takes into account the new rules introduced under the Competition Act, which entered into force in October 2010, as well as the relevant rules at EU level. (1)
Like its predecessor, the new regulation allows certain research and development (R&D) and specialisation and production agreements that are unlikely to raise competition concerns to benefit from a safe harbour under the Competition Act. In line with the respective EU rules, it is not only R&D activities carried out jointly that are caught by the new regulation, but also so-called 'paid-for research' agreements (ie, where one party finances R&D activities carried out by the other party).
The individual exemption system under the old rules has also been abolished. Undertakings are now requested to carry out a self-assessment of their horizontal agreements under the relevant competition rules.
Existing agreements will continue to benefit from the old block exemption regulation until the end of June 2013. As of July 1 2013, the respective agreements will fall under the new general block exemption framework and will have to be brought into line with the new rules.
The regulation has been published in the Official Gazette (72/2011) and its English translation is expected to be available soon on the agency's official website at www.aztn.hr.
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Gabriele Wahl Cesarec