Resale Price Maintenance and Artificial Intelligence: A First Glimpse into Growing Challenges for EU Competition Law

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With artificial intelligence, and in particular pricing algorithms, under increasing scrutiny from worldwide competition regulators, the European Commission’s (the “Commission”) latest sanctions against four electronic consumer manufacturers for engaging in online resale price maintenance – the first such decisions adopted by the Commission, and its first ‘resale price maintenance’ decisions in 15 years – sheds important light on this topic. In particular, it confronts the issue of vertical restraints implemented by some manufacturers in the EU, at times in only a few national markets, whose effects are compounded by price comparison tools and pricing algorithms.