This term has a different meaning depending on the context in which it is used:
In EU competition law, regulations issued by the European Commission (www.practicallaw.com/A35081), or in certain cases the European Council (www.practicallaw.com/A36015). Block exemptions have been introduced for certain types of agreement, such as vertical agreements (www.practicallaw.com/A37186), technology transfer agreements and research and development agreements.
In UK competition law, exemptions for particular categories of agreement falling within the Chapter I prohibition (www.practicallaw.com/A34641) of the Competition Act 1998, and will be contained in orders made by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) (www.practicallaw.com/A36546). If an agreement meets the conditions set out in the block exemption it is automatically exempt from the Chapter I prohibition. Block exemptions are intended to provide legal certainty for businesses. (Block exemptions issued by the Commission, as defined above, may also provide an agreement with an exemption from the Chapter I prohibition by means of a parallel exemption (www.practicallaw.com/A36610).)
For further details, see Practice note, Distributorships: overview (www.practicallaw.com/6-107-3648).