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Slovakia

Competing fairly

Updated 04. 2010

Legal requirements

Commercial competition is governed by the:

Anti-trust

The Competition Act defines the following forms of unlawful restriction on competition and mergers:

  • agreements restricting competition,
  • abuse of dominant market position,
  • mergers.

Agreements

Agreements and concerted practice between businesses and decisions taken by business associations which may have the effect of restricting competition are forbidden, unless the Act provides otherwise.

There is a particular ban on anti-competitive agreements which include:

  • direct or indirect fixing of the price of goods or other commercial conditions,
  • commitments to restrict or control output, sales, technical development or investment,
  • division of the market or sources of supplies,
  • commitments between the parties to an agreement that they will apply different conditions to identical or equivalent offerings from individual businesses which might thereby suffer a competitive disadvantage.

Abuse of dominant position

Abuse of dominant market position comprises mainly the following:

  •  direct or indirect enforcement of unfair commercial terms,
  •  the threat of restrictions or output restrictions at the expense of users,
  •  application of different conditions to identical or similar offerings from businesses which might thereby suffer a competitive disadvantage,
  •  making the signing of a contract conditional upon the other contracting party accepting other obligations which by their nature are unconnected with the subject of the contract.

Other types of unfair competition

Unfair competition may take the following forms:

  • misleading advertisements - advertisements for goods, services, property, company names, protected trademarks, marks of origin and other rights and obligations, which deceive or may deceive persons at whom they are directed,
  • misrepresentation of goods and services - any labelling which may create a false impression that the goods or services identified in this way come from a specific country, region or place or from a specific producer, or that they display special characteristic features or special qualities,
  • creating the risk of confusing goods and services - using a commercial name or a specific company label which a competitor is already lawfully using,
  • abusing the good name a company, product or service - exploiting the good name of a company, product or service of a competitor with the aim of securing a commercial benefit for yourself or others,
  • bribery - if a competitor directly or indirectly offers, promises or provides any form of benefit in order to secure preferential treatment or another unjustified competitive advantage for himself or another competitor in an unfair way and at the expense of other competitors,
  • price cutting - actions through which a competitor mentions or disseminates false information about the relationships, products or actions of another competitor, causing injury to that competitor,
  • violation of trade secrets - if a person unlawfully reveals, gives access to or exploits for himself or for another trade secrets which may be used in competition,
  • jeopardising the health of consumers and the environment - if a competitor distorts competition by manufacturing products, marketing products or undertaking actions which are harmful to legally-protected health or environmental interests, in order to obtain a benefit for himself or another at the expense of competitors or consumers.

State aid

The following are exempt from taxation:

  •  revenues of non-commercial legal entities arising from the activities for which these taxpayers were set up,
  •  revenues of municipalities and regional authorities from the renting and sale of their assets,
  •  revenues from the sale of assets included in bankruptcy proceedings and from liabilities written off during bankruptcy or restructuring,
  •  revenues from church collections, church activities and contributions made to registered churches and religious organisations,
  •  membership dues,
  •  interest from tax overpayments caused by the tax authority,
  •  payments for the administration of buildings owned by housing cooperatives,
  •  interest and other revenues from the provision of credit and loans and from dividends from shares, bonds and certificates of deposit,
  •  funding from grants provided on the basis of international agreements,
  •  revenues from public health insurance.

Consumer protection

The rights of consumers are defined the Consumer Protection Act.

Every consumer has the right to:

  •  products and services of normal quality,
  •  enforce complaints,
  •  compensation for damages,
  •  training,
  •  information,
  •  protection of their health, safety and economic interests,
  •  submit suggestions and complaints to supervisory bodies and municipalities for breaches of consumer rights' legislation.

The rights of consumers are set out in detail in the:

Sellers cannot refuse to sell to a consumer a product which is on display or otherwise ready for sale, or refuse to provide a service which they are capable of providing.

National competition authorities

             The Anti-monopoly Office   guarantees fair competition, which is a precondition for a properly-functioning market environment.

The corrections carried out by the office are based on the powers it has under the Competition Act.

The Office monitors mergers and:

  • regulates amalgamations of companies
  • supervises markets where there are dominant players, so that they do not abuse their dominant position,
  • takes action against businesses which sign anti-competitive agreements.

At the end of every administrative procedure it issues a decision which is binding on the businesses.

Strict provisions govern company mergers

Administrative procedures

Merger notification

Every business which finds itself in a monopoly or dominant position on a given market must report this to the Anti-monopoly Office.

Cartel agreements are not forbidden provided that they concern:

  •  common use of commercial, supply or payment conditions, except for price agreements,
  •  rationalising business activities,
  •  providing commercial discounts,
  •  a 5 % share of the Slovak market or a 30% share of a given market.

Merger agreements are subject to the checks and decision-making powers of the Anti-monopoly Office. The Office may approve such an agreement if the merger brings overwhelming commercial advantages.

Litigation

You may report suspicions of breaches of the Competition Act to the Anti-monopoly Office.

When establishing whether a business merger is subject to checks by the Office, it is essential to identify the participants in the merger correctly.

In connection with merger notifications, the Office refers to the following:

You may make a submission for proceedings using the Office's electronic submission form.

Help & advice

Help & advice

Professional advice in the area of competition is provided by:

E-mail a business organisation near you

The EU runs a network (Enterprise Europe Network) of local business organisations in most European countries that may be able to help you.

Choose your country and town and enter your enquiry below.

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