Abuse of dominant position (Competition Law) [Ro.: abuz de poziție dominantă, De. Missbrauch der marktbeherrschenden Stellung, Fr.: abus de position dominante] (See also: anticompetitive behaviour, concerted practice, cartel, relevant market, undertaking, internal market, predatory pricing, rebate, excessive pricing) = anti-competitive business practices in which a dominant undertaking may engage in order to retain or increase its position on the market. Competition Law prohibits such behaviour, as it may damage fair competition between undertakings and may harm consumer welfare. Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU mentions some examples of abuse, i.e. unfair pricing, restriction of production output and imposing discriminatory or unnecessary terms in dealings with trading partners.

Abuse (Competition Law) [Ro.: abuz, De.: missbrauch, Fr.: abus] = The concept of abuse is an objective one, thus the intentions of the dominant undertaking do not have to be determined to find an abuse. The abuse has to have an actual or potential effect on trade between Member States of the EU, i.e. a cross-border element that gives it relevance for the functioning of the internal market. Unless there is a finding of abuse, there will be no infringement of Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU.

Dominant position (Competition Law) [Ro.: poziție dominantă, De.: marktbeherrschenden Stellung, Fr.: position dominante] = A dominant position can be held by one undertaking alone or collectively by several undertakings. The position must be held in the relevant product market of a ‘substantial part of the internal market’. The provision of Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU will not be applicable to abusive practices by non-dominant undertakings. Moreover, the fact that an undertaking has a dominant position is not in itself a recrimination, but simply means that, no matter the reasons for which it has such a dominant position, the respective undertaking has a special responsibility not to allow its conduct to impair genuine undistorted competition on the common market. This ‘special responsibility’ may include their responsibility not to restrict competition on markets other than the dominated one.


Useful Links

Legislation – The Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, Article 102 [English] – Council Regulation (EC) no. 1/2003 on the implementation of the rules on the competition laid down in Articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty [English] – Competition Law 21/1996, Romania [Romanian]

Case Law –ECJ, Case 6-72, Continental Can Company Inc. v Commission, 1973 – ECJ, Case 27/76, the United Brands v. Commission, 1978 – ECJ, Case 85/76, Hoffmann-La Roche v. Commission, 1979 – ECJ, Case 322/81, NV Nederlandsche Banden Industrie Michelin v. Commission (also known as the “Michelin I case”), 1983 – ECJ, Case C-62/86, AKZO v Commission, 1991,T,F&num=T-30/89&td=ALL – ECJ, Case T-30/89, Hilti v. Commission, 1991 – ECJ, Case T-83/91, Tetra Pak v. Commission, 1994 – ECJ, Case T-203/01, Manufacture française des pneumatiques Michelin v. Commission (also known as the “Michelin II case”), 2003 – Commission Decision, Case COMP/38.784, Wanadoo España v. Telefónica, 2007 – ECJ, Case T-201/04, Microsoft v. Commission, 2007 ­– ECJ, Case C-202/07 P, France Télécom SA v. Commission, 2009 – ECJ, Case C-52/09, Konkurrensverket v. TeliaSonera Sverige AB (also known as the “TeliaSonera case”), 2011 – ECJ, Case C-209/10, Post Danmark A/S v. Konkurrencerådet (also known as the “Post Danmark I case”), 2012 – ECJ, Case C457/10 P, AstraZeneca v. Commission, 2012 – ECJ, Cases T-56/09 and T-73/09, Saint-Gobain Glass France SA and Others v. Commission (also known as the “Italian Flat Glass” ruling), 2014 – ECJ, Case C-170/13, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd v ZTE Corp. and ZTE Deutschland GmbH, 2015 – ECJ, Case C-23/14, Post Danmark A/S v. Konkurrencerådet (also known as “Post Danmark II case”), 2015 – ECJ, Case C-413/14 P, Intel Corp v. Commission, 2017 – ECJ, Case C-177/16, AKKA/LAA v. Konkurences padome, 2017

Organisations and associations – European Commission – Directorate-General for Competition (European Union) – Austrian Competition Authority (Austria) – Belgian Competition Authority (Belgium) – British Competition Authority (United Kingdom) – Danish Competition Authority (Denmark) – Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (Finland) – French Competition Authority (France) – German Competition Authority (Germany) – Hellenic Competition Authority (Greece) – Italian Competition Authority (Italy) – Hungarian Competition Authority (Hungary) – Competition Authority of Luxembourg (Luxembourg) – Dutch Competition Authority (Netherlands) – Polish Competition Authority (Poland) – Portuguese Competition Authority (Portugal) – Romanian Competition Authority (Romania) – Spanish Competition Authority (Spain) – Swedish Competition Authority (Sweden) – American Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (United States of America) – American Antitrust Institute (United States of America)

Online Publications – Vermesan, C., 2015, The Price to Pay in Competition Law, Romania: [English] – Lazăr, I.; Lazăr, L., 2015, Abuzul de poziție dominantă în dreptul european al concurenței (II), Romania/Bucharest: “Universul Juridic” Magazine, No. 12, pp. 89-152, [Romanian] – Wils, W.P.J., 2014, The Judgment of the EU General Court in Intel and the So-Called 'More Economic Approach' to Abuse of Dominance, World Competition: Law and Economics Review, Vol. 37, No. 4, pp. 405-434 – Ahlborn, C.; Evans, D. S., 2009, The Microsoft Judgment and its Implications for Competition Policy Towards Dominant Firms in Europe, Antitrust Law Journal, Vol. 75, No. 3, [English] – Geradin, D., 2008, Pricing Abuses by Essential Patent Holders in a Standard-Setting Context: A View from Europe, [English] – Geradin, D.; Petit, N.; Walker, M.; Hofer, P.; Louis, F., 2005, The Concept of Dominance in EC Competition Law, Brugge/Natolin, College of Europe, Global Competition Law Centre, [English]


Bellamy, C., Child, G., (eds) 2008, European Community Law of Competition, United Kingdom/Oxford: Oxford University Press, 6th edition [English]

De Smet, D., 2008, The diametrically opposed principles of US and EU antitrust policy, European Competition Law Review, No. 29 [English]

Dethmers, F.; Engelen, H., 2011, Fines under Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, European Competition Law Review, No. 32 [English]

Jones, A.; Sufrin, B., 2016, EU Competition Law: Text, Cases and Materials, United Kingdom/Oxford: Oxford University Press [English]

Lazăr, L., 2013, Abuzul de poziție dominantă – Evoluții și perspective în dreptul european și național al concurenței, Romania/Bucharest: Editura C.H. Beck [Romanian]

Lorenz, M., 2013, An Introduction to EU Competition Law, United Kingdom/Cambridge: Cambdrige University press [English]

Monti, G., 2007, EC Competition Law, United Kingdom/Cambridge: Cambridge University Press [English]

Sauter, W., 2016, Coherence in EU Competition Law, United Kingdom/Oxford: Oxford University Press [English]

Whish, R.; Bailey, D., 2012, Competition Law, United Kingdom/Oxford: Oxford University Press [English]


by Vladimir Griga