Code of Conduct

Rules for Compliance with Antitrust regulations


The association of companies in a federation is intended on the one hand to represent the interests of the members of the federation externally, and on the other hand to facilitate the exchange and communication between the members of the industry. However, there is the danger that the borderline to a prohibited coordination of behaviour of the competing enterprises is crossed. Therefore, it is of great importance that the members of the association, who are in competition with each other, are more sensitive to conduct is of great importance. The following guidelines and recommendations are intended to sensitise our members. The SPECTARIS Board has adopted these guidelines and instructs the Secretariat to check compliance with this "Code of Conduct“.


The Association shall carry out its activities exclusively within the framework of the applicable laws and regulations. The Association shall only plan, organise and carry out events which pursue permissible purposes. Minutes of these events shall be be prepared and made available to members.

Self-commitments of the members drafted by the association, for example on consumer or environmental protection, shall be transparent and accessible to third parties. Published statements, recommendations and press releases shall be formulated in such a way that they do not contain any constitute, promote or imply anti-competitive behaviour, in particular unlawful collusion, among the members of the association.

The Association shall decide on the admission of new members in compliance with its obligation under antitrust law. The admission criteria shall be transparent. To this end, it is essential that they be laid down in the association's statutes and applied consistently.


Prohibited are express agreements with competitors and concerted practices between them which have as their object or effect the prevention or restriction of competition.

Restrictive of competition in this sense are in particular:

  • The exchange, transfer or acceptance of information which allows conclusions to be drawn about the current or future market behaviour of individual undertakings.
  • Communications about prices, terms of sale, margins, offers, production or sales quotas, calculations, planning, capacities, market shares, investments, etc. of individual companies.

Permitted contents are:

  • Discussions on current legislative proposals and their consequences for the members as a whole, as well as the development of a joint position. and the development of a common position.
  • Discussions on lobbying activities and general industry indicators, economic data and trends.
  • Communication on freely available information and data (e.g., from annual reports) and general legal, social and economic issues. legal, socio-political, economic and other framework conditions.

The following conduct is prohibited:

  • Unfair business practices, exertion of pressure on market participants, predatory competition.
  • Agreements with the aim of partially or completely excluding customers, suppliers or other market participants from the market (boycott).
  • Agreements with the aim of dividing up markets in any way, be it according to customers, suppliers, sales areas, divisions, etc.
  • Vertical agreements between suppliers and customers, insofar as these restrict the freedom to set prices and terms of business with third parties or are intended to do so (most-favoured-nation clauses and exclusivity obligations such as total coverage of requirements, exclusive supplies and purchasing cooperation’s with compulsory purchasing).
  • Preventing potential competitors from entering the market
  • Anti-competitive mergers and acquisitions
  • Any collective or unilateral conduct that abuses strong market positions or aims to achieve market power or a dominant position by abusive means.

Permitted practices can be, after prior examination under cartel law:

  • Mergers to form specialisation and rationalisation cartels, but only to the extent that these are exempted by the cartel authorities
  • Cooperation for the promotion of research and development
  • Cooperation for industry-wide marketing activities
  • Cooperation for industry-wide quality initiatives

All members of the association must ensure that no topics prohibited under cartel law are discussed at association meetings such as conferences, congresses, trade fairs, association meetings and other meetings.

In order to prevent this and to maintain the necessary transparency, an agenda must be drawn up in advance of events and made available to the members. In addition, meeting cards containing the antitrust guidelines forparticipation in SPECTARIS meetings are to be displayed on site. If the problematic contents are nevertheless discussed, such discussions are to be terminated immediately and this is to be documented. This also applies to exchanges between individual members apart from the agenda and outside of association meetings.

For not only formal agreements, but also

  • agreed behaviour,
  • informal conversations,
  • informal gentlemen agreements,

which have as their object or effect the restriction of competition - even if they do not create a binding obligation -, are generally prohibited. Even the mere appearance of such practices is to be avoided.

In addition:

It is recommended that members operating abroad familiarise themselves with the competition rules and powers of the competition authorities applicable in each country.

Members should also ensure that all employees of their company are aware of the importance of complying with competition rules and act accordingly.

If there is any doubt about the legality of agreements or practices, qualified legal advice should be sought. The association can also assist in this regard.

Market information systems, benchmarking and industry statistics (hereinafter: market information procedures) as part of the association's activities.

Since market information procedures can restrict protected secret competition, special requirements must be observed here. All surveys within the framework of market information procedures, such as information on market conditions, statistical data, new products, consumer habits, etc., must be collected and published in anonymised form. The explicit or potential identification of individual market participants or their market behaviour as well as specific business transactions are prohibited. Particularly in markets with few participants or few transactions in the survey period, increased sensitivity is required. Therefore, prior to the introduction of such market information procedures, an examination of the respective market circumstances must be carried out as to whether and under which conditions a market information procedure is permissible. A prohibited price rigidity due to price concessions and a lack of competitive incentives is to be increasingly feared here. Therefore, no individual prices, maximum or minimum prices, may be determined and published. Industry-wide average prices may only be determined and published after prior examination under cartel law. The danger of market information procedures violating cartel law increases with the competitive relevance of the data collected, i.e. with their timeliness and level of detail.

Status: April 2021
Reviewed by Lawyer Markus von Fuchs
SKW Schwarz Rechtsanwälte