Prohibition of cartels; Exempted agreements

Company cooperations or cartels to promote performance-enhancing cooperation are exempt from the ban on cartels under certain statutory conditions.


Agreements between undertakings, decisions of associations of undertakings and concerted practices which have as their object or effect the prevention, restriction or distortion of competition shall be prohibited.

Cooperation that is overall beneficial to effective competition in the relevant market is permitted. The risk of making the correct legal assessment of whether or not a cooperation violates antitrust law is borne by each entrepreneur himself.

In practice, cooperation in production, marketing, purchasing, research and development as well as agreements on standards and for the purpose of environmental protection are significant.

For small and medium-sized enterprises, cooperation in the form of a medium-sized business cooperation pursuant to Section 3 GWB is also a possibility.

Competent authorities:

Insofar as the anticompetitive effect of the conduct to be assessed in Germany does not extend beyond the State of Bavaria: Bavarian State Ministry of Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy.

Otherwise, the Federal Cartel Office, and in the case of Europe-wide effects, also the European Commission (Directorate General for Competition) are responsible.

Links to more information

Status: 11.07.2022

Responsible for editing: Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Wirtschaft, Landesentwicklung und Energie

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