In May 2022 the European Commission (EC) adopted the Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (VBER) and the new accompanying Vertical Guidelines (Guidelines). See GT Alerts, The New VBER and Vertical Guidelines Explained: Key Takeaways, June 2022 and Distribution Agreements in the EU: Changes After VBER and Accompanying Guidelines are Revised, November 2021. The VBER continues to exempt agreements with genuine commercial agents for the application of competition law, and the Guidelines now also provide detailed guidance on how to assess that agency function on a per product or service basis. Otherwise, the provisions regarding agency agreements have not significantly changed. However, to prevent abuse of the exemption, the new VBER calls for a narrow interpretation of agency agreements that seek to benefit from the exemption.

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