Competition: Commission extends duration of R&D and specialisation block exemption regulations

The European Commission has adopted today two regulations extending the period of validity of the horizontal block exemption regulations on Research & Development and Specialisation Agreements (together ‘HBERs’). The HBERs were due to expire on 31 December 2022 and the Commission has prolonged them until 30 June 2023.

Allowing the HBERs to expire before the entry into force of new block exemption regulations would have created a regulatory gap, which would have negatively impacted legal certainty for businesses. This short extension of the HBERs will allow the completion of the review exercise taking full account of the feedback received in response to the public consultation on the draft regulations published on 1 March 2022. It is therefore necessary to ensure legal certainty.

The short extension follows a full-fledged evaluation process initially launched by the Commission on 5 September 2019 to gather evidence on the functioning of the HBERs and the accompanying Horizontal Guidelines. The current HBERs and Horizontal Guidelines will remain in force while the Commission continues its review process with the aim of adopting the new texts of the regulations and the new guidelines in the first half of 2023. More information on the review process can be found here.