Chapter 3: Conceptual framework of market definition
A general overview of the importance and reasons for market definition in EU competition law, and why this branch of the law has developed this figure whereas others do without it. It is argued that market definition has mediate and immediate goals. Ultimately, it is essential for the justification of the limitation of fundamental rights inherent in competition law, making its objectiveness and unicity a fundamental building block for these rules as a whole. Immediately, market definition pursues various objectives, depending on specific circumstances which go beyond the assessment of market power and which are often overlooked. The instrumental nature of market definition is distinguished from its unacceptable instrumentalization. The most common misunderstanding about the legal method of market definition, which is at the root of many of its distortions, is addressed: this method is specifically conceived as a simplified, incomplete portrayal of competitive restraints and is not supposed to faithfully allow structural inferences about market power. Finally, the legal value of the European Commission’s Market Definition Notice is discussed.
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