Vertical restrictions in the online commerce

General antitrust

The UK Competition Authority and the EU Commission seek views from stakeholders on the vertical block exemption regulation
Bird & Bird (London)
The current Vertical Agreement Block Exemption Regulation (VBER) and its accompanying guidelines provide the framework of competition law regulation for suppliers and distributors across the EU. It is due to expire in May 2022. The VBER was retained into UK law following Brexit ensuring (...)

The OECD holds a roundtable on competition in digital advertising markets
OECD - Competition Division (Paris)
Digital advertising is now the leading form of advertising in most if not all OECD countries, and offers businesses the ability to reach consumers in ways that could only have been imagined previously. Increased Internet coverage and mobile phone penetration has fundamentally changed the (...)

The EU Commission conducts an extensive review in which it analyses the practice of applying the current vertical block exemption regulation and determines the scope and character of guidance to be provided
Bird & Bird (Warsaw)
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Bird & Bird (Warsaw)
Online platforms and e-commerce have significantly changed the business environment since the current Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (“VBER”) was adopted. They have had a huge impact on the way business is conducted and on the behaviours of consumers who can switch within different online (...)

The EU Commission publishes a review of the vertical block exemption regulation which addresses the questions of big data and access to data
Bird & Bird (Budapest)
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Bird & Bird (Budapest)
Issues around Big Data and access to data as an essential input are rapidly gaining importance in vertical relationships. This was made clear in the Commission’s recently published evaluation of stakeholder input in the context of the review of the VBER. In the past, the Hungarian Competition (...)

The EU Commission releases a staff working document evaluation on the vertical block exemption regulation which gives guidance on online restrictions
Ecija & Asociados (Madrid)
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Bird & Bird (Madrid)
The rapid development that the e-commerce sector has undergone in the last decade has meant its definitive implementation as one of the most relevant routes to market. This development has come along with important judgments of the European Court of Justice ("ECJ") on this matter. Cases such as (...)

The EU Commission publishes a staff working document on the vertical block exemption regulation but does not address any guidance on most-favored-nation clauses
Bird & Bird (Amsterdam)
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Bird & Bird (Amsterdam)
On 8 September 2020, the European Commission published its Staff Working Document (“Evaluation Document”) on the results of its evaluation of the VBER and its accompanying guidelines. One of the key gaps in the current framework is the absence of guidance on how retail parity clauses should be (...)

The EU Commission publishes a working document summarizing the findings of the evaluation phase of the review for the vertical block exemption regulation and its guidelines
Ashurst (Paris)
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Ashurst (London)
On 8 September 2020, the European Commission ("Commission") published a working document (the "Evaluation Report") summarising the findings of the evaluation phase of the review of the Vertical Block Exemption Regulation ("VBER") and the Guidelines on Vertical Restraints ("Vertical (...)

The OECD holds a roundtable on hub-and-spoke arrangements in competition
OECD - Competition Division (Paris)
Hub-and-spoke arrangements are horizontal restrictions on the supplier or retailer level (the “spokes”), which are implemented through vertically related players that serve as a common “hub” (e.g., a common manufacturer, retailer or service provider). The “hub” facilitates the co-ordination of (...)

The EU Commission publishes its report regarding the public consultation on the vertical block exemption regulation
Bird & Bird (The Hague)
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Bird & Bird (The Hague)
The growth of e-commerce over the last decade has had a significant impact on the market. Trends like the increased importance of online sales and the emergence of new market players such as online platforms significantly affected the distribution and pricing strategies of both manufacturers (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority publishes its revised Guidelines on vertical agreements
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
The Turkish Competition Authority (“Authority”) completed its work in progress on revising the Guidelines on Vertical Agreements (“Guidelines”) that was issued based on the Block Exemption Communiqué on Vertical Agreements (“Communiqué No. 2002/2”). It took approximately 2 years for the Authority to (...)

The EU Commission reaches alongside the Parliament and the Council a political agreement on the geo-blocking regulation for consumers wishing to buy products or services online
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Vienna)
One of the key elements in the EU’s strategy to deal with wide-spread phenomena Geo-blocking is the Geo-blocking regulation, which was proposed by the Commission in May 2016. The latest proposal of the Geo-blocking regulation (issued by the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee in (...)

The EU Commission issues its final report on the e-commerce sector
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission publishes final report on e-commerce sector inquiry* The European Commission’s final report on the e-commerce sector inquiry identifies business practices that may restrict competition. It allows the Commission to target its enforcement of EU antitrust rules in e-commerce (...)

The EU Commission publishes its final report following its e-commerce sector inquiry as part of a larger digital market strategy that aims to achieve better access for consumers and businesses to online goods and services
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
On 10 May 2017 the EU Commission published its final report in the e-commerce sector inquiry launched in May 2015 as part of a wider Digital Market Strategy which aims to achieve better access for consumers and businesses to online goods and services across the EU. The aim of the sector inquiry (...)

The EU Commission publishes a preliminary report on its e-commerce sector inquiry
Hausfeld (New York)
On September 15, 2016, the European Commission (“Commission”) published a Preliminary Report on its E-Commerce Sector Inquiry (“Preliminary Report”), presenting the outcome of over 1.800 responses received from manufacturers, retailers, e-commerce marketplaces, price comparison tools, payment (...)

The UK Competition Authority reopens a previously closed OFT hotel online booking investigation (IHG / Expedia / Booking.com)
DLA Piper (London)
Executive Summary: After initially accepting commitments in the hotel online booking investigation, the Office of Fair Trading’s (OFT) decision was quashed by the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT). The case was referred back to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), who has now re-opened (...)

The French Competition Authority issues an opinion following its sector inquiry on the distribution of medicinal products
French Competition Authority (Paris)
After gathering market players’ insight, and having carried out an in-depth analysis of how the sector operates, the Autorité de la concurrence publishes its opinion.* It calls for the stimulation of competition throughout the distribution chain, and in particular supports the supervised (...)

The ECN Competition Working Group on Competition Law gathers to discuss matters related to vertical restraints in the online sector
European Commission (Brussels)
Vertical Restraints in the Internet Economy - Meeting of the Working Group on Competition Law in Bonn* Bonn, 14 October 2013: On 10 October 2013 the Working Group on Competition Law met in Bonn at the invitation of the Bundeskartellamt. At this year’s meeting more than 100 competition law (...)

The EU Commission publishes rules regarding vertical agreements
Covington & Burling (Brussels)
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Covington & Burling (Brussels)
On 20 April 2010, the European Commission published new rules governing so-called “vertical” agreements, such as distribution and supply agreements. The new rules are set out in the Vertical Restraints Block Exemption Regulation and the related Guidelines (see DG Competition’s website). They will (...)

The EU Commission publishes rules for vertical agreements
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
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Dentons (Brussels)
On April 20, 2010, the European Commission (the Commission) adopted its new, long-awaited Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (the VBER) and accompanying guidelines applicable to distribution agreements in the EU. The VBER, which will enter into force on June 1, 2010, replaces Regulation (...)

The French Competition Authority issues an opinion on the EU Regulation 2790/99 and the guidelines on vertical restraints
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. The Autorité de la concurrence welcomes the modernization undertaken by the European Commission and recommends that the Commission better explains the balance it intends to guarantee between online trade and (...)

The French Competition Authority issues an opinion regarding exclusive access offers to TV content by internet service providers
French Competition Authority (Paris)
TV content access exclusivity offers by Internet service providers: The Autorité de la concurrence states its position*. Exclusive access must remain an exceptional solution, strictly limited in time and scope. Auto-distribution appears to be a satisfactory balancing solution, to the benefit of (...)

Anticompetitive practices

The French Competition Authority accepts a price discount system for commitments intended to protect pure players (Lego)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 27 January 2021, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) accepted the commitments offered by Lego France (“Lego”) after an investigation into the alleged bias towards brick-and-mortar stores resulting from Lego’s functional discount scheme. In order to resolve the case, the toy manufacturer (...)

The EU Commission fines a PC gaming platform and its publishers for geo-blocking practices (Valve / Bandai Namco / Capcom / Focus Home / Koch Media / ZeniMax)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
On January 20, 2021, the European Commission (“Commission”) fined Valve and PC video games publishers €7.8 million for restricting cross-border sales of PC video games within the EEA. Video games publishers requested Valve, owner of the PC video gaming platform Steam, to provide geo-blocked (...)

The EU Commission fines a PC gaming platform operator and five video game publishers €7.8 million for geo-blocking practices (Valve / Bandai Namco / Capcom / Focus Home / Koch Media / ZeniMax)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 20 January 2021, the European Commission (the “Commission”) announced that it had fined the US company Valve, owner of the popular online PC gaming platform “Steam” (“Steam”), and five publishers of video games (Capcom, Bandai Namco, Koch Media, Focus Home Interactive and ZeniMax Media) a total of (...)

The Italian Competition Authority renders two decisions in the context of the geo-blocking regulation (PV7 / Telepass / Addebiti) (PV9 / Enel)
Bird & Bird (Rome)
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Bird & Bird (Rome)
The Geo-blocking Regulation came into force on 22 March 2018. It provides that the Member States shall lay down the rules setting out the measures applicable to infringements of the Geo-blocking Regulation and the enforcement of these provisions falls within the jurisdiction of national (...)

The Amsterdam Court of Appeal upholds the legality for non-luxury brands to ban resale on third-party platforms (Nike / Action Sport / Amazon)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 14 July 2020, the Amsterdam Court of Appeal (the “Court”) handed down its judgment in the dispute between Nike European Operations Netherlands B.V. (“NEON”) and Action Sport SOC. COOP, A.R.L. (“Action Sport”), an Italian retailer of Nike’s sportswear, footwear and related products. The Court upheld (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a big tech company a record €1 billion and its wholesalers €139 million for a series of vertical restrictions within the distribution network and abuse of economic dependence (Apple / Tech Data / Ingram Micro)
AD LEGAL (Paris)
In a decision of March 16, 2020, the French Competition Authority (Autorité de la concurrence, hereinafter “FCA”) imposed a €1,1 billion fine on the Apple group (“Apple”) for (i) engaging in a series of vertical restrictions of competition within its distribution network and (ii) abusing the economic (...)

The French Competition Authority issues a fine of €1.1 billion on a big tech company and €139 million on two of its wholesalers for having implemented vertical agreements with some of its distributors and for abuse of economic dependency against its independent premium resellers (Apple / Tech Data / Ingram Micro)
Ashurst (Paris)
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University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris)
On 16 March 2020, the French Competition Authority ("FCA") announced that it had fined Apple EUR1.1 billion, the highest fine ever imposed to an undertaking, for having implemented vertical agreements with certain of its distributors and an abuse of economic dependency against its independent (...)

The Spanish Supreme Court rules that ride-hailing services do not restrict competition and the restrictions imposed on them are unjustified and disproportionate (VTCs)
Ecija & Asociados (Madrid)
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Bird & Bird (Madrid)
The ongoing conflict between ride-hailing services (known in Spain as "VTCs"), such as Uber, and the taxi sector has led to a new ruling from the Spanish Supreme Court that confirms the view of the Spanish Competition Authority (the "CNMC") that the restrictions imposed on the VTCs are (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority ends an infringement proceeding by adopting a commitment decision following a sports brand’s alleged anti-competitive conduct (Adidas / LDC)
CMS Albiñana y Suárez de Lezo (Madrid)
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CMS Albiñana y Suárez de Lezo (Madrid)
Background On 6 February 2020, the Spanish Competition Authority (Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia, hereinafter the “CNMC”) adopted a commitment decision to end the infringement proceedings (S/DC/0631/18) initiated in November 2018 against Adidas, S.A.U. (“Adidas”) for alleged (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority accepts commitments by a sports brand in connection with contractual provisions applied within its selective distribution network (Adidas / LDC)
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
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Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
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Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
The CNMC has reached a commitments decision with Adidas regarding restrictive practices in the Spanish retail market for clothing and footwear contrary to Article 1 SCA. Adidas submitted commitments addressing the CNMC’s concerns regarding certain clauses in the retail sports clothing company’s (...)

The EU Commission fines a film and TV production company for implementing territorial and online sales restrictions through merchandising licence agreements (NBCUniversal)
Liège University (Liège)
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Liège University (Liège)
On 30 January 2020, the European Commission (‘the Commission’) announced its decision to fine several film companies belonging to Comcast Corporation, including NBCUniversal LLC (‘Universal’), €14,327,000 for the implementation of territorial, consumer and online sales restrictions through their (...)

The EU Commission reiterates in a case regarding a film and TV production company its position that if a business allows for the non-exclusive licensing of its products in the EEA the licensor can no longer control the sale of the product (NBCUniversal)
Norton Rose Fulbright (Brussels)
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Norton Rose Fulbright (Brussels)
The European Commission has reiterated its position that if a business allows for the non-exclusive licensing of its products in the EEA, such licensor can no longer control where, to whom, and in what manner (online/off-line) the products can be sold within the EEA. On 30 January 2020, the (...)

The EU Commission imposes a €14.3 million fine on a film and TV production company for territorial and online sale restrictions of merchandising products (NBCUniversal)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 30 January 2020, the European Commission (“Commission”) announced its decision to fine several companies belonging to Comcast Corporation, including NBCUniversal, € 14,327,000 for limiting the ability of licensees to sell licensed merchandising products to other EEA countries and non-allocated (...)

The UK Court of Appeal rejects an appeal against a judgment of the CAT which upheld the Competition Authority’s decision finding the online sales ban of a company’s custom-fitted golf clubs to be an unjustified restriction (Ping)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 21 January 2020, the UK Court of Appeal rejected an appeal brought by the golf club manufacturer Ping Europe Limited (“Ping”) against the 2018 judgment of the Competition Appeal Tribunal (“CAT”), which upheld the Competition and Markets Authority’s (“CMA”) 2017 decision finding Ping’s online sales (...)

The UK Court of Appeal upholds the Competition Authority’s decision finding that a golf equipment supplier acted illegally by banning online sales of its products (Ping)
Ashurst (London)
On 21 January 2020, the Court of Appeal of England and Wales handed down a judgment dismissing the appeal by Ping Europe Limited ("Ping") against a judgment of the Competition Appeal Tribunal ("CAT"), upholding the CMA’s 2017 decision that Ping’s online sales ban constituted a restriction of (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority issues a preliminary injunction against the use of exclusivity provisions in vertical agreements by the owner of a training aggregator app (Bruce)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 5 December 2019, the Swedish Competition Authority (“SCA”) issued a preliminary injunction against IM WITH BRUCE (“Bruce”), the owner of a so-called “training aggregator” app which offers subscribers access to a variety of fitness studios, prohibiting Bruce from using exclusivity provisions in its (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority fines alarm system distributors over €1.5 million for anticompetitive agreements (Paradox)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
The Hungarian Competition Authority (“GVH”) fined a supplier of security alarm systems, Paradox Security Systems (“Paradox”), registered in the Bahamas, and two of its Hungarian distributors, Power Biztonságtechnikai Kereskedelmi Kft (“Power”) and Trióda Biztonságtechnika Zrt (“Trióda”), approximately (...)

The Czech Competition Authority rejects the appeal brought by an online travel agency company and confirms the fine imposed for entering into prohibited vertical agreements (Booking.com)
Bird & Bird (Prague)
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Bird & Bird (Prague)
Petr Rafaj, the Chairman of the Office for the Protection of Competition, rejected, by his final decision, the appeal brought by the company Booking.com B.V. ("Booking.com") and confirmed the fine amounting to CZK 8,336,000 imposed on the company for entering into prohibited vertical agreements (...)

The Indian Competition Authority orders an investigation against online travel agencies for possible abuse of dominance and for imposing vertical restrictions (MakeMyTrip / OYO)
Trilegal (Mumbai)
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Trilegal (Bangalore)
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Trilegal (Mumbai)
Introduction The Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (Informant), an association of hotels and restaurants in India, filed an Information with the Competition Commission of India (CCI) against MakeMyTrip India Pvt. Ltd. (MMT), Ibibo Group Private Limited (GoIbibo), (...)

The Paris Court of Appeal confirms the decision of the Competition Authority sanctioning a leader in garden machinery who imposed clauses restricting online sales to its distribution network (Stihl)
Ashurst (Paris)
The Court of appeal of Paris has confirmed the decision of the French Competition Authority ("FCA") sanctioning Stihl, a manufacturer of mechanical garden equipment, for prohibiting, between 2006 and 2017, the sale of certain dangerous products on its distributors’ websites. The Court of appeal, (...)

The Swiss Competition Authority fines a manufacturer of sports products for vertical price fixing with dealers (Stöckli)
Lenz & Staehelin (Zurich)
Introduction The Swiss Competition Commission (“ComCo”) fined Stöckli Swiss Sports (“Stöckli”), a Swiss manufacturer of Skis and other sport products, for vertical price fixing with its dealers with CHF 140’000. The fine was rather low, as Stöckli had filed a leniency application, albeit after ComCo (...)

The UK Competition Authority imposes a record-breaking £3.7 million fine on a piano supplier for online resale price maintenance (Casio)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
According to a press release issued on 1 August 2019, the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) imposed a fine of £ 3.7 million (approximately € 4.1 million) on piano supplier Casio Electronics (“Casio”) for online resale price maintenance (RPM). Between the years 2013 and 2018, Casio reportedly (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority investigates an alleged anticompetitive agreement in the e-commerce sector for having implemented vertical restraints (Hepsiburada / Anka Mobil)
Erdem & Erdem (Istanbul)
Introduction With its decision dated 10.07.2019 and numbered 19-22/326-M, the Turkish Competition Board (“Board”) launched a formal investigation against D-Market Elektronik Hizmetleri ve Ticaret A.Ş. (“Hepsiburada”) and Anka Mobil Tedarik A.Ş. (“Anka Mobil”) to determine whether the relevant (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a bicycle manufacturer €250.000 for online sale restrictions (Bikeurope / Trek Bicycle)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 1 July 2019, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) imposed a fine of € 250,000 on Trek Bicycle Corporation and its subsidiary Bikeurope B.V. (together “Bikeurope”) for having prohibited its authorised retailers from selling its bicycles online from 2007 to 2014, a restriction by object that (...)

The Dusseldorf Higher Regional Court overturns the Competition Authority’s prohibition of narrow best price clauses (Booking.com)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 4 June 2019, the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf (the “Court”) ruled that narrow best price clauses are not anticompetitive and overturned the decision of the Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) prohibiting Booking.com from using such clauses in contracts with hotel operators. ‘Narrow’ best price (...)

The EU Commission sends a statement of objections regarding the alleged geo-blocking of PC video games (Valve / Focus Home / Koch Media / ZeniMax / Bandai Namco / Capcom)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 5 April 2019, the European Commission announced via a press release that it had sent Statements of Objections to Valve – the owner of the ‘Steam’ video game distribution platform – and five video game publishers (Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home, Koch Media and ZeniMax) concerning their alleged (...)

The Czech Competition Authority imposes a fine of €322.000 on an undertaking for infringing national competition law by concluding illegal vertical agreements with accommodation establishments (Booking.com)
Bird & Bird (Prague)
On 18 December 2018, the Czech Office for the Protection of Competition ("Czech NCA") announced in a press release imposing a fine of in total CZK 8,336,000 (approx. EUR 322,000) on Booking.com for infringing the Act on the Protection of Competition by concluding illegal vertical agreements (...)

The Paris Court of Appeal specifies a manufacturer’s right to deny access to its selective distribution network to an applicant distributor in the electronic product market in compliance with competition law and civil law (Concurrence / Sony)
Osborne Clarke (Paris)
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Osborne Clarke (Paris)
This case concerned a consumer electronics manufacturer and a distributor between whom the relationship was particularly conflicting. A large number of commercial disputes were brought before the courts by the distributor to obtain the right to distribute the manufacturer’s products. Even though (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses cartel allegations against taxi app drivers on the basis that they were following the algorithm pricing and not actively colluding to fix prices (Samir Agrawal / ANI Technologies / Uber India)
Vaish Associates Advocates (New Delhi)
CCI closes allegation of cartelization between taxi aggregators* By way of an order dated November 6, 2018, the CCI dismissed allegations of concerted action against Ola and Uber Group (OPs). Allegations were levelled against the pricing algorithm adopted by the OPs which allegedly manipulated (...)

The EU Commission fines manufacturers of electronic goods for resale price maintenance (Asus / Denon / Philips / Pioneer)
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Paris)
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Norton Rose Fulbright (Brussels)
Vertical restrictions, including resale price maintenance (RPM), have not generally been an EC enforcement priority over the last 10 years, but a series of rulings in July 2018 signalled a potential change in that trend. Although the EC considers RPM to be a “hardcore restriction” of (...)

The EU Commission fines four electronic manufacturers for fixing minimum resale prices for online retailers (Asus / Denon / Philips / Pioneer)
K&L Gates (Houston)
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K&L Gates (Sidney)
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K&L Gates (Boston)
This article has been nominated for the 2019 Antitrust Writing Awards. Click here to learn more about the Antitrust Writing Awards. On 24 July 2018, in four separate decisions, the European Commission (“Commission”) levied fines totalling EUR 111 million on four well-known manufacturers of (...)

The Frankfurt Higher Regional Court finds that a luxury perfume provider can prohibit unauthorized distribution over third-party websites (Coty Germany / Parfümerie Akzente)
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Paris)
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Norton Rose Fulbright (Brussels)
This judgment of the Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt/Main of 12 July 2018 applying the preliminary ruling of the CJEU of 6 December 2017 in the case Coty Germany GmbH v Parfümerie Akzente GmbH will reassure manufacturers of luxury products that they can protect such products from unauthorised (...)

The Hamburg Higher Regional Court finds that a ban on selling products through online platforms can be justified if its objective is to preserve product image and ensure personal consultation with customers in the light of the Coty judgment (Aloe2Go)
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Paris)
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Norton Rose Fulbright (Brussels)
The Higher Regional Court of Hamburg had the opportunity to establish a position regarding potential restrictions of competition in selective distribution arising out of bans on selling products through eBay and similar platforms. The Higher Regional Court referred to recent case law of the (...)

The Dusseldorf Higher Regional Court finds that sellers of high quality cosmetics cannot invoke exhaustion of rights under the EU Trademark Regulation if they have not presented the products in a way that avoids impairment of the brand’s reputation (Kanebo)
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Paris)
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Norton Rose Fulbright (Brussels)
The Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf decided that neither online nor offline sellers can invoke exhaustion of rights under Article 15(1) of the EU trademark regulation if they sell high-quality, prestigious cosmetic products without appropriate presentation to avoid impairment of reputation. (...)

The German Federal Court of Justice confirms that a general prohibition for retailers to use price comparison engines is illegal (Asics)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
ASICS dealers allowed to use price comparison engines - Federal Court of Justice confirms Bundeskartellamt’s decision* In its decision of 12 December, 2017, published on 19 January, 2018, the Federal Court of Justice decided that ASICS may not forbid its dealers from using price comparison (...)

The EU Court of Justice prohibits the members of a purely quantitative selective distribution system to sell contractual products on Internet platforms which may have an impact on Asian jurisdictions (Coty Germany / Parfümerie Akzente)
Delcade Avocats & Solicitors (Paris)
Introduction In its Coty Germany ruling of 6 December 2017, the European Court of Justice (hereafter the “ECJ”) decided that forbidding the members of a purely qualitative selective distribution network of luxury products to sell those products on Internet platforms does not infringe the (...)

The EU Court of Justice rules in favour of restrictions on the use of platforms in a selective distribution system (Coty Germany / Parfümerie Akzente)
Gibson Dunn (Brussels)
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Willkie Farr & Gallagher (Brussels)
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Gibson Dunn (Brussels)
This article considers how much the Coty Ruling has shed light on the extent to which a manufacturer can restrict the sales of its products over online platforms, especially in the wake of the recent German Case involving ASICS and basic principles developed at EU level to assess obligations (...)

The EU Court of Justice holds that a restriction imposed on an authorised retailer not to sell goods through online third-party platforms does not constitute an infringement (Coty Germany / Parfümerie Akzente)
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
In its hotly anticipated ruling in the Coty case, the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) has held today that, in the context of a selective distribution system, a restriction imposed on an authorised retailer not to sell the goods through online third-party platforms does not infringe Article (...)

The EU Court of Justice rules that companies may restrict online distribution of luxury goods under certain conditions (Coty Germany / Parfümerie Akzente)
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
Coty Germany sells luxury cosmetic goods in Germany through a selective distribution network Under Coty Germany’s selective distribution system, shops of authorised distributors must comply with a number of requirements (setting, decoration and furnishing). Authorised distributors can sell the (...)

The EU Commission issues a final report on its e-commerce sector inquiry and updates its digital single market plans
Norton Rose Fulbright (Brussels)
EU issues final report on its e-commerce sector inquiry and updates its digital single market plan* On May 10, 2017, the European Commission published the final report on its sector inquiry on competition in the e-commerce sector (the E-Commerce Report) and a mid-term review of its digital (...)

The Dusseldorf Higher Regional Court confirms that a general prohibition for retailers to use price comparison engines violates competition law (Asics)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court confirms Bundeskartellamt’s decision on prohibition of use of price comparison engines* Yesterday the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court confirmed the Bundeskartellamt’s decision of principle against the running shoes manufacturer Asics. According to the decision the (...)

The UK Competition Authority issues a statement of objections to a golf equipment manufacturer for banning the sale of its golf clubs online (Ping)
McDermott Will & Emery (Paris)
ONLINE SALES RESTRICTIONS REMAIN A HOT TOPIC: UK CMA ISSUES STATEMENT OF OBJECTIONS* On 9 June 2016, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) issued a statement of objections (SO) to Ping Europe Limited (Ping), a golf equipment manufacturer, alleging that Ping had breached EU and UK (...)

The UK Competition Authority fines a company for retail price maintenance on online sales (ITW)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 24 May 2016, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) fined ITW Limited, a supplier of refrigerators, £ 2,298,820 for retail price maintenance on online sales. From 2012 to 2014, ITW required dealers to adhere to its minimum advertised price policy for Foster commercial fridges and (...)

The Frankfurt Court of Appeal submits preliminary reference on how to treat bans on sales via third-party internet platforms in selective distribution systems (Coty Germany)
Reed Smith (Brussels)
European Court of Justice to Rule on Legality of Online Sales Bans*An appeal court in Frankfurt has asked the European Court of Justiceto clarify the application of the competition rules to online sales. The Frankfurt court made its request in the context of a dispute between a leader in beauty (...)

The Frankfurt Court of Appeal submits preliminary reference on how to treat bans on sales via third-party internet platforms in selective distribution systems (Coty Germany)
Heinz & Zagrosek (Köln)
Ban on sales via third-party internet platforms in Germany and Pierre Fabre – recent referral to the Court of Justice* The question of how to treat bans on sales via third-party internet platforms in selective distribution systems and the impact of the Court of Justice’s Pierre Fabre ruling (see (...)

The EU Commission lists geo-blocking practices which may prevent online shoppers from purchasing goods or digital content based on their location
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (London)
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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (London)
On 18 March 2016, the European Commission published its initial findings on ‘geo-blocking’ practices, which may prevent online shoppers from purchasing goods or digital content based on their location. The Commission’s figures suggest that geo-blocking is a widespread practice throughout the EU: (...)

The EU Commission presents its initial findings on geo-blocking with respect to consumer goods in an e-commerce sector inquiry
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 18 March 2016, the European Commission published its initial findings of its sector inquiry into the e-commerce sector in relation to geo-blocking practices. The Commission de nes geo-blocking as commercial practices whereby online providers prevent users from accessing and purchasing (...)

The Frankfurt Higher Regional Court holds that manufacturers of branded goods are entitled to prohibit authorised retailers in selective distribution agreements from distributing their goods via third-party online platforms (Markenrucksäcke / Branded Backpacks)
Hogan Lovells (Munich/Frankfurt)
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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Berlin)
I. The Facts The parties argue in a civil law proceeding whether a manufacturer could make the supply of goods to an authorised distributor in a selective distribution system subject to a contractual obligation not to resell goods via online sales platforms such as Amazon and advertise them via (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority closes the investigation it launched ex officio into consumer electronics suppliers and retailers for exchange of information (Samsung / Gold)
University of Sussex (Brighton)
This case note analyses the decision of the Turkish Competition Authority (TCA) in which it has decided that consumer electronics suppliers and retailers did not restrict competition by exchanging information with regard to price increases and decreases. Background Opened ex officio, the (...)

The Polish Competition Authority accepts commitments concerning the online sales of prams and strollers (Emmaljunga)
Hansberry Tomkiel (Warsaw)
In its decision no RGD 2/2015 of 30th June 2015 (the “Decision”), the Polish Office for Competition and Consumer Protection (“Competition Authority”) accepted commitments proposed by the Poland-based company “Investment Trading Consulting” (“Company”), Polish exclusive distributor of prams and (...)

The EU Court of Justice and several National Competition Authorities adopt decisions regarding Most Favoured Nation clauses and rebate schemes that are relevant and applicable in the context of ASEAN competition law (Booking.com / Post Danmark)
Rajah & Tann (Singapore)
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Rajah & Tann (Singapore)
,
McCarter & English (Washington)
This article has been nominated for the 2016 Antitrust Writing Awards. Click here to learn more about the Antitrust Writing Awards. Introduction As we move into the second half of the year, we examine two recent competition enforcement cases in Europe, and consider their relevance and (...)

The Italian Competition Authority issues a commitment decision and closes an investigation regarding contracts concluded between an online booking website and its partner hotels (Booking.com)
Giannino SI (Monserrato)
By a commitment decision made on 21 April 2015 in the Mercato dei Servizi Turistici-Prenotazione Alberghiere Online case (thereinfter Online Hotel Reservation) the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) has closed an Article 101 TFEU investigation against Booking. The ICA has launched the (...)

The Italian Competition Authority launches an investigation for alleged vertical agreements in the online hotel booking sector (Booking.com / Expedia)
Chiomenti (Milano)
On 7 May 2014, the Italian Competition Authority (Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato, the “Authority”) launched an investigation against Booking.com BV (hereinafter, “Booking”), Booking.com (Italia) S.r.l., Expedia Inc. (hereinafter, “Expedia”), and Expedia Italy S.r.l. for alleged (...)

The German Competition Authority investigates an absolute prohibition to use online marketplaces and price comparison engines imposed on the dealers by a supplier of sports goods (Asics)
Ashurst (Milan)
Bundeskartellamt raises objections against ASICS’s restrictions of online sale* On 24 April 2014 the Bundeskartellamt issued a press release stating that, based on preliminary investigation, it has found that ASICS Deutscheland’s selective distribution system restricts competition among its (...)

The German Competition Authority finds that a selective distribution system which allows for the sale of running shoes to final customers only via authorised dealers poses a number of serious restraints to competition (Asics)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt takes a critical view of restriction of online distribution by ASICS* After a preliminary examination the Bundeskartellamt has found that the selective distribution system of ASICS Deutschland, which allows for the sale of running shoes to final customers only via authorised (...)

The German Competition Authority decides to prohibit a hotel booking portal from continuing to apply its best price clause (HRS)
Ashurst (Milan)
German Federal Cartel Office bans use of MFN clauses by HRS and opens new proceedings against Booking.com and Expedia* On 20 December 2013, Germany’s Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) issued a press release concerning its decision to prohibit the hotel booking portal HRS from continuing to apply its (...)

The UK Competition Authority opens a consultation on the revised commitments proposed by online travel agencies in relation to rebates (IHG / Expedia / Booking.com)
Ashurst (Milan)
UK OFT weighs revised commitments in the online hotel accommodation bookings* On 20 December 2013, the United Kingdom’s Office of Fair Trading (“OFT”) opened a consultation on the revised commitments proposed by Booking.com B.V. (“Booking.com”), Expedia Inc (“Expedia”) and InterContinental Hotels (...)

The German Competition Authority closes its investigation against an online book trader for price parity clauses (Amazon)
Ashurst (Milan)
Amazon Marketplace ends price parity* On 26 November 2013, Germany’s Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) issued a press release stating that it has closed the investigation into Amazon’s “price parity” clauses applied in agreements with traders that operated on its Marketplace platform. In fact, on 27 and (...)

The German Competition Authority closes its proceedings against an online book trader for enforcing price parity clauses on its marketplace platform (Amazon)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Amazon abandons price parity clauses for good* 26 November 2013: The Bundeskartellamt has today terminated its proceedings against Amazon for enforcing price parity clauses on its Marketplace platform after the company had met the requirements set by the authority. Andreas Mundt, President of (...)

The US District Court for the Southern District of New York establishes the existence of a collusion to eliminate retail price competition for e-books and imposes restrictions on deals with publishers for the next five years (Apple)
DLA Piper Weiss-Tessbach (Vienna)
U.S. District Court rules Apple colluded on E-Book Prices* On 10 July 2013 the District Court in Manhattan ruled in United States v. Apple Inc., et al that Apple conspired with five major publishers to raise prices on e-books. The publishers settled and denied any wrongdoing. However, the case (...)

The UK Competition Authority issues draft commitments in an investigation regarding the hotel online booking sector (IHG / Expedia / Booking.com)
Accenture (Dublin)
Hotel Online Booking: The OFT announces its intention to accept binding commitments* On 9 August 2013, the OFT issued draft commitments in the Hotel Online Booking investigation. The OFT has investigated the relevant markets for over 2 years and has provisionally found that certain hotels (...)

The UK Competition Authority establishes vertical restrictions on the market for the supply of mobility scooters (Roma Medical Aids)
Max Findlay (London)
Not playing nicely* Recently, there have been two striking cases of organisations behaving badly in a way that the outside world would think was well out of order. In the first example – the Roma Medical Aids case – it isn’t just about somebody breaking the rules. It’s about a company acting in a (...)

The German Competition Authority continues to view the best price clause used by a hotel booking portal in a critical manner (HRS)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt continues to view HRS’s best price clause critically* The Bundeskartellamt has confirmed its competition concerns about the best price clause used by the hotel booking portal HRS. After examining the statements of HRS and all other relevant market participants, the (...)

The French Competition Authority carries out a sector inquiry in the area of prescription medicine distribution in private practices
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. The Autorité de la concurrence is submitting to public consultation an initial assessment in which it has identified several potential sticking points* Medicinal products are the second-largest (...)

The German Competition Authority launches a web survey targeting 2,400 sellers who offer their products on major internet platform (Amazon Marketplace)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt surveys Amazon Marketplace sellers* Today the Bundeskartellamt launched a web survey of 2,400 sellers who offer their products through Amazon Marketplace. Within the framework of administrative proceedings under competition law the Bundeskartellamt is examining the effects of (...)

The Paris Court of Appeal rules that dermo-cosmetic products do not have objective properties that could justify the prohibition of their sale on the Internet (Pierre Fabre / Cosmétique)
Vogel & Vogel (Paris)
In answer to the question of whether a general and absolute ban on selling cosmetics and personal care products online constitutes a hardcore restriction of competition by object, the European Court of Justice said that yes it did, if "having regard to the properties of the products at issue, (...)

The French Supreme Court rules on selective distribution networks and outside-network sales made on an online auction website (eBay)
Vogel & Vogel (Paris)
Four perfume brands have filed a legal action against the world’s number-one online auction site, eBay: they accuse eBay of allowing on its sites the sale by non-authorized third parties of products covered by a selective distribution channel. The judge found that eBay, a site bringing together (...)

The EU Court of Justice Advocate General Mazak recommends that prohibition on internet sales be considered as a per se infringement (Pierre Fabre)
Jones Day (Brussels)
,
Jones Day (Brussels)
,
Jones Day (Dusseldorf)
On March 3, 2011, Advocate General (AG) Mazák delivered an opinion to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Pierre Fabre Dermo-Cosmétique SAS (PFDC). PFDC, a French manufacturer of cosmetics and personal care products, prohibited its retailers from selling via the Internet. AG Mazák advised the (...)

The Danish court of first instance fines a jewellery producer for resale price maintenance (Lise Aagaard Copenhagen)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 26 November 2010, the Court of First Instance of Copenhagen imposed a fine of approximately € 80,000 on Danish jewellery manufacturer Lise Aagaard Copenhagen A/S and a fine of approximately € 3,000 on one of its executives for preventing two Internet retailers from granting discounts. (...)

The Paris Court of Appeal reduces damages awarded for the sales of perfumes through a website by unauthorised distributors (eBay / Christian Dior / Kenzo / Givenchy / Guerlain)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 3 September 2010, the Paris Court of Appeal delivered its judgment in a case between eBay and SA Parfums Christian Dior, SA Kenzo Parfums, SA Parfums Givenchy, and SA Guerlain (which are perfume and cosmetics suppliers belonging to the LVMH group – hereinafter the “LVMH group”). On 30 June (...)

The German Competition Authority imposes a fine of € 2.5 M for resale price maintenance on the Internet sales of GPS systems (Garmin)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
According to a press release of 28 June 2010, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) has imposed a total fine of € 2.5 million on Garmin Deutschland GmbH (“Garmin”), a manufacturer of mobile navigation devices (e.g., GPS systems), and one of its employees, for engaging in resale price maintenance (...)

The US DoJ issues a business review letter regarding a proposed online subscription news service (Global News Service)
Stanford University - Stanford Law School
U.S. Department of Justice does not challenge online subscription news service* On 24 February 2010 the Department of Justice issued a business review letter regarding a proposed Internet media subscription news aggregation service (Global News Service) that would be operated by MyWire, Inc. (...)

The French Competition Authority accepts commitments from a technology company and a mobile telecommunications company to waive the distribution exclusivity of mobile phones (Orange / Apple)
Norton Rose Fulbright (Paris)
On 11 January 2010, the French Competition Authority handed down its first decision of 2010, accepting the commitments undertaken by Apple and Orange to waive any distribution exclusivity on current and future iPhones models. Such Commitment Decision, taken pursuant to Article L. 464-2 I of (...)

The Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court confirms a judgment allowing a restriction on using auction websites in a selective distribution system (Scout)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In its judgment of 25 November 2009, the Higher Regional Court of Karlsruhe (the “Court”) upheld a judgment of the Regional Court of Mannheim which allowed the manufacturer of high quality school bags which operated a qualitative selective distribution system to prohibit its distributors from (...)

The Latvian Competition Authority detects prohibited concerted practices among distributors of household appliances (Samsung Home Appliances)
Konkurences padome (Riga)
Competition Council detects Prohibited Concerted Practices among Distributors of Samsung Home Appliances* On 30 October 2009 the Latvian Competition Council (CC) adopted a decision in which it found that concerted practices among five distributors of Samsung appliances infringed Article 81 of (...)

The Latvian Competition Authority detects prohibited concerted practices among distributors of a consumer goods electronics company (Samsung Home Appliances)
European Commission (Brussels)
Latvia: Competition Council detects Prohibited Concerted Practices among Distributors of Samsung Home Appliances On 30 October 2009, the Latvian Competition Council (CC) adopted a decision in which it found that concerted practices among five distributors of Samsung appliances infringed (...)

The Paris Court of Appeal makes refers to the Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling on whether or not a general and absolute ban on internet sales by approved distributors constitutes a ’hardcore restriction’ on competition (Pierre Fabre)
Norton Rose Fulbright (Paris)
In a judgment dated 29 October 2009, the French Court of Appeal made a reference for a preliminary ruling under article 234 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (the “EC Treaty”), whereby the ECJ was asked to answer “the question whether a general and absolute ban on Internet sales to (...)

The German Competition Authority fines a contact lens provider €11.5 million for fixing minimum resale prices and restricting the Internet and wholesale sales of its products (CIBA Vision)
Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson (London)
On September 25, 2009, the German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) levied a fine of €11.5 million against contact lens provider CIBA Vision Vertriebs GmbH (CIBA) for fixing minimum resale prices and restricting Internet and wholesale sales of its products. This is the third decision imposed by the (...)

The Munich Higher Regional Court accepts the prohibition of selling through auction websites (Amer Sports)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In a recently published judgment of 2 July 2009, the Higher Regional Court of Munich (the “Court”) found that a manufacturer of sports products (Amer) was allowed to prohibit its distributors to resell its products through auction websites, such as eBay. Amer had been sued by the German (...)

The Paris Court of Appeal suspends a decision concerning the prohibition of Internet sales in selective distribution (Pierre Fabre)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 18 February 2009, the President of the Paris Court of Appeal partially suspended the decision of the French Competition Council against a manufacturer of cosmetics, Pierre Fabre Dermo-Cosmétique (“Pierre Fabre”). In its decision of 29 October 2008, the Competition Council found that Pierre (...)

The Paris Court of Appeals confirms the Competition Authority’s interim measures preventing exclusive rights regarding the distribution of smartphones (Orange / Apple / France Télécom)
White & Case (Paris)
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Dalkia Wastenergy (Paris)
In a decision dated 4 February 2009, the Paris Court of Appeals confirmed decision n° 08-MC-01[[ French Competition Council (Conseil de la concurrence), 17 December 2008, Decision n° 08-MC-01, Bouygues Telecom/ Apple-Orange (iPhone). of the French Competition Council concerning practices (...)

The French Competition Authority orders the suspension of an exclusivity French mobile market (Orange / Apple / France Telecom)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Conseil de la concurrence considered that the agreements entered into between Orange and Apple were likely to introduce further rigidity, to increase consumer captivity due to smartphones attraction and, through the implementation of a differentiation strategy, to reduce competition in a (...)

The Hamburg Regional Court rules on exclusive smartphone distribution agreements (Apple / T-Mobile)
Gleiss Lutz (Munich)
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Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy (Munich)
On 4 December 2007 the German Regional Court of Hamburg issued a decision on the compatibility with competition law and the law against unfair practices of the exclusive distribution agreement concluded between the German mobile network operator T-Mobile and the American multinational (...)

The French Competition Authority accepts the commitments taken by 10 companies of the cosmetic industry to introduce more competition into the online sales of their products (Bioderma / Caudalie / Cosmétique Active France / Expanscience / Johnson & Johnson / Lierac / Nuxe...)
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. Conseil de la concurrence facilitates online sale of cosmetic products: 10 companies of the cosmetic industry committed to introduce more competition into online sale of their products.* The Conseil de la (...)

The French Competition Authority agrees to commitments from hi-fi and home cinema equipment suppliers in order to allow their selective distributors to carry out online selling (Bose / Focal / Triangle)
Simmons & Simmons (Paris)
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Hewlett Packard (Boulogne-Billancourt)
On 5 October 2006, the Conseil de la concurrence (French Competition Council) issued a decision in which it accepted to withdraw the litigation proceedings after three of the main companies active in the Hi-fi and home cinema equipment sector (Bose, Focal JM Lab and Triangle) agreed to (...)

The Dutch District Court of Zutphen holds in an interim judgment that the vertical restraints block exemption regulation covers the application of dissimilar terms and conditions of supply to internet retailers (Groen Trend & Schouten Keukens / AEP Home Products)
JBT Corporation (Netherlands)
In December 2005 interim proceedings were brought before the District Court of Zutphen in a dispute between AEP Home Products (“AEP”), a supplier of kitchen appliances of the brands Atag, Etna and Pelgrim, and two of its buyers namely the internet retailer Groen Trend and the specialist shop (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Indian Competition Authority issues an interim behavioral remedy to relist franchise hotel properties on certain platforms before concluding the abuse of dominant position investigation against them (MMT-Go / Treebo / FabHotels)
CUTS Institute of Regulation & Competition (New Delhi)
In a first-of-its-kind order, the Competition Commission of India (“CCI”) has used its power to grant interim relief to applicants in a two-sided digital market. On 9 th March 2021, CCI ordered MMT-Go to relist properties of Treebo and FabHotels on its platform. CCI received information against (...)

The French Competition Authority accepts the commitments made by an online travel agency (Booking.com)
European Commission (Brussels)
The French, Italian and Swedish Competition Authorities Accept the Commitments Offered by Booking.com* In their investigations of so-called "price parity" clauses (also called "best price" clauses) contained in agreements between online travel agencies (OTAs) and hotels, the French Competition (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority fines an electronics company for resale price maintenance on online sales channels (Sony)
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
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ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
This case summary includes an analysis of the Turkish Competition Board’s (the “Board”) Sony decision (22.11.2018; 18-44/703-345) in which the Board evaluated the allegations concerning resale price maintenance (“RPM”) against Sony Eurasia Pazarlama A.Ş. (“Sony”) upon complaint of a former distributor (...)

The Indian Competition Authority opens an investigation into a processors manufacturer for abuse of dominant position (Velankani Electronics / Intel)
Vaish Associates Advocates (New Delhi)
CCI directs investigation against Intel for abuse of dominant position* The CCI by way of order dated November 9, 2018 under section 26(1) of the Act, directed the DG to investigate Intel Corporation (the Opposite Party/ OP/Intel) for alleged abuse of dominant position in the market for (...)

The EU Court of Justice prohibits selective distributors from selling luxury products on third-party online platforms (Coty Germany / Parfümerie Akzente)
Kyriakides Georgopoulos Law Firm (Athens)
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Kyriakides Georgopoulos Law Firm (Athens)
On 6 December 2017, the Court of Justice of the European Union handed down its Judgment on the awaited Coty Germany v Akzente case. The case concerned whether a supplier of luxury cosmetics, operating a selective distribution system for its products, may validly prohibit its authorized (...)

The EU Court of Justice finds that a luxury goods supplier may prevent its authorized retailers from using third-party platforms to sell its products to preserve the products’ luxury image (Coty Germany / Parfümerie Akzente)
Covington & Burling (Brussels)
,
Covington & Burling (Brussels)
On 6 December 2017, the Court of Justice of European Union (CJEU) issued its long-awaited Judgment in Coty Germany GmbH v Parfümerie Akzente GmbH. Taking an approach similar to that adopted by Advocate General (AG) Wahl in his Opinion in July, the CJEU found that a supplier of luxury goods may (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority rejects the complaint that agreements between a major IT company and several OEMs on the exclusive pre-installation of mobile apps infringed competition rules (Yandex / Google)
University of Sussex (Brighton)
This case note analyses the decision of the Turkish Competition Authority (TCA) in which it has rejected the complaint of a rival IT company, Yandex, that agreements of a major IT company, Google, with a number of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) on the exclusive pre-installation of its (...)

The German Competition Authority condemns an athletic equipment company for restricting online sales of its small and medium-sized authorized dealers (Asics)
Ashurst (Milan)
Germany’s Federal Cartel Office finds ASICS’ restrictions of online sales illegal* On 27 August 2015, the Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) concluded its proceedings concerning certain anticompetitive restrictions in the distribution system of ASICS Deutschland (“ASICS“), and found that ASICS breached (...)

The French Competition Authority obtains extensive commitments from an online hotel booking company (Booking.com)
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence, in coordination with the European Commission and the Italian and Swedish authorities, has obtained particularly extensive commitments from Booking.com aiming to boost competition between online booking platforms and give hotels more freedom in commercial and (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority approves voluntary commitments of an online hotel booking company subject to a fine (Booking.com)
Klarna (Stockholm)
The Swedish Competition Authority decided, on 15 April 2015, to approve the voluntary commitments presented by Bookingdotcom Sverige AB and Booking.com BV (below, jointly referred to as “Booking.com”). The commitments are associated with a fine of SEK 5 million (approx. EUR 550 000) for (...)

The Italian Competition Authority initiates antitrust proceedings concerning the use of the most favored nation clauses in the online hotel reservations space (Booking.com / Expedia)
Ashurst (Milan)
Italian competition authority investigates online hotel bookings* On 7 May 2014, the Italian Competition Authority (“Agcm”) initiated proceedings (decision only available in Italian) against Booking.com and Expedia in the online hotel reservations space. This is yet another case in the wake of (...)

The French Competition Authority issues a first commitment decision addressing competition concerns in the Internet connectivity market (France Telecom / Cogent)
Autorité de la concurrence (Paris)
France: First Commitment Decision related to Internet Neutrality issued by the Autorité de la concurrence* On 20 September 2012, the Autorité de la concurrence (the Autorité) issued for the first time a commitment decision concerning competition concerns relating to certain restrictions allegedly (...)

The EU Commission makes a statement on the ongoing investigation’s progress into the alleged abuse of dominance in the search engine market (Google)
Ashurst (Milan)
Almunia offers Google settlement talks* Last 21 may 2012, Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia made a statement on the progress of the on-going investigation into Google’s alleged abuse of dominance in the search engine market, which the Commission was investigating since November 2010 (see (...)

Mergers

The Chinese MOFCOM conditionally clears an off-shore joint-venture involving European computer technology groups (ARM / Giesecke & Devrient / Gemalto)
First Principles Economics (London)
On the 6th December 2012 MOFCOM published its 6th and last merger decision of the year - a clearance, with conditions, of the Trustonic joint venture between ARM, Giesecke & Devrient (G&D), and Gemalto. Process The parties submitted their initial notification on 4th May 2012. MOFCOM (...)

The Chinese MOFCOM approves an acquisition subject to conditions in the IT industry (Google / Motorola Mobility)
Jones Day (Beijing)
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Gibson Dunn (Hong Kong)
,
Jones Day (Beijing)
On 19 May 2012, the PRC Ministry of Commerce ("MOFCOM") approved the acquisition by Google Inc. of Motorola Mobility, Inc. under the Chinese Anti-Monopoly Law ("AML"), but imposed conditions to require that Google continue to license the Android operating system and the patents acquired from (...)

The US District Court for the District of Columbia demands behavioral remedies from two strong competitors in related markets before approving a vertical merger that will allow the combined company to enter the online travel search market (Google / ITA)
Crowell & Moring (Washington)
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Crowell & Moring (Washington)
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United Airlines (Chicago)
U.S. antitrust agencies, in a flurry of recent actions, have reinvigorated vertical merger enforcement, claiming competitive harm from what, in the past, would potentially have been viewed as efficiency-enhancing vertical integration. The Department of Justice (“DOJ”), in particular, has (...)

The US District Court for the District of Columbia requires conduct remedies before allowing a vertical merger between a popular generic online search engine and a widely-used flight information services provider (Google / ITA)
Economists Incorporated (San Francisco)
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Economists Incorporated (Washington)
On July 1, 2010, Google Inc. (“Google”) and ITA Software, Inc. (“ITA”) announced an agreement for Google to acquire ITA for $700 million. On April 8, 2011, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced that it would allow the proposed acquisition subject to certain conditions. DOJ filed a complaint (...)

The US District Court for the District of Columbia requires conduct remedies before allowing a vertical merger between a generic online search engine and a widely-used flight information service provider to go forward (Google / ITA)
Robins Kaplan (Minneapolis)
According to conventional wisdom, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission prefer structural merger remedies like divestiture over remedies that require ongoing monitoring of post-merger conduct. Structural remedies offer comparative ease of implementation and require (...)

The US District Court for the District of Columbia conditionally approves a joint-venture under behavioral remedies in the online video distribution and video programming industries (Comcast / NBC Universal)
Crowell & Moring (Washington)
,
Crowell & Moring (Washington)
,
United Airlines (Chicago)
U.S. antitrust agencies, in a flurry of recent actions, have reinvigorated vertical merger enforcement, claiming competitive harm from what, in the past, would potentially have been viewed as efficiency-enhancing vertical integration. The Department of Justice (“DOJ”), in particular, has (...)

The US District Court for the District of Columbia seeks behavioral remedies before approving a joint-venture to prevent exclusionary conduct in the online video distribution and video programming markets (Comcast / NBC Universal)
American University’s Washington College of Law (Washington)
The Federal Communication Commission’s recent decision to allow the transaction between Comcast and General Electric’s NBC Universal (NBCU) affiliate to proceed subject to conditions helped to fill a gap in the contemporary treatment of vertical mergers. The existence of this gap was (...)

The US DoJ clears an acquisition subject to conditions in the IT industry (Google / ITA)
Jones Day (Houston)
,
Jones Day (Silicon Valley)
The U.S. Department of Justice has announced that, to allow Google’s proposed acquisition of ITA Software, DOJ and the parties have agreed to a set of requirements that will govern Google’s future operation of the ITA business. This action is notable as another challenge to a vertical merger and (...)

The German Competition Authority blocks a joint venture creating an online video on demand platform by the two leading TV broadcasters (RTL / Pro7Sat1)
NOCON (London)
I. Transaction RTL and Pro7Sat1 planned to set up an online video on demand (VOD) platform which allows users toaccess and watch professional video content. The concept of the platform was to provide content that has already been transmitted on TV and can be accessed free of cost for seven (...)

The US District Court for the District of Columbia imposes divestiture and behavioral remedies before approving a merger to maintain competition in the market for primary ticketing services (Ticketmaster / Live Nation)
Robins Kaplan (Minneapolis)
According to conventional wisdom, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission prefer structural merger remedies like divestiture over remedies that require ongoing monitoring of post-merger conduct. Structural remedies offer comparative ease of implementation and require (...)

The US District Court for the District of Columbia demands divestiture and licensing to create two new competitors and imposes conduct remedies to limit the benefits of vertical integration in a merger in the primary ticketing services market (Ticketmaster / Live Nation)
Kelley Drye & Warren (Washington)
,
Kelley Drye & Warren (New York)
,
Kelley Drye & Warren (Washington)
The Department of Justice Antitrust Division (“DoJ”), along with 17 state attorneys general, reached an agreement with the parties last week that allows the merger of Ticketmaster Entertainment, Inc. (“Ticketmaster”) and Live Nation, Inc. (“Live Nation”) to proceed. The parties agreed to a (...)

The US District Court for the District of Columbia seeks to divest part of a business and requires a licensing of software to mitigate the anticompetitive effects of a merger in the ticketing services industry (Ticketmaster / Live Nation)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Cologne)
,
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Washington)
After a decade of what was perceived by many as relatively restrained merger enforcement, the Obama administration has repeatedly and vocally vowed to “reinvigorate antitrust enforcement” and to “take effective action to stop or restructure mergers that are likely to harm consumer[s]”. Many (...)

The US District Court for the District of Columbia conditionally approves a vertical merger upon the implementation of structural and behavioral remedies in the market for primary ticketing services (Ticketmaster / Live Nation)
Crowell & Moring (Washington)
,
Crowell & Moring (Washington)
,
United Airlines (Chicago)
U.S. antitrust agencies, in a flurry of recent actions, have reinvigorated vertical merger enforcement, claiming competitive harm from what, in the past, would potentially have been viewed as efficiency-enhancing vertical integration. The Department of Justice (“DOJ”), in particular, has (...)

The EU Commission launches an in-depth investigation into a planned online travel agency which leads the parties to withdraw a merger application (T-Online / TUI / C&N)
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
,
DG Economic and Financial Affairs (ECFIN) (Brussels)
"Internet Joint Ventures and the Quest for Exclusive Content: The T-Online Cases"* Introduction EC and national competition law issues arising from the marketing of ‘premium’ content, such as travel services and sports news, via the Internet were at the centre of several recent competition (...)

Procedures

The German Federal Court of Justice grants Competition Authority the right to appeal against the Dusseldorf Higher Regional Court’s ruling regarding the use of narrow parity clauses (Booking)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 14 July 2020, the German Federal Court of Justice (“FCJ”) granted the Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) the right to appeal on points of law against the judgment of the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf in Booking. The Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf (see VBB on Competition Law, Volume 2019, (...)

The EU Court of Justice hands down an anticipated judgment in the luxury goods sector regarding the possibility to restrict sales on third party online platforms that are outside of the selective distribution network (Coty Germany / Parfümerie Akzente)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 6 December 2017, the Court of Justice of the European Union (the ECJ or the Court) handed down its eagerly anticipated judgment in Coty (C-230/16). In general, the ECJ closely follows the opinion of Advocate General Wahl (AG Wahl), published on 26 July 2016, in essentially holding that: the (...)

The French Supreme Court refers a case regarding an online sales ban back to the Paris Court of Appeal without waiting for an upcoming ruling of the EU Court of Justice on a similar case (Caudalie / eNova Santé)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 13 September 2017, the French Supreme Court ordered the Paris Court of Appeal to rehear a case for failing to sufficiently substantiate its finding that an obligation in Caudalie’s selective distribution system constituted a probable restriction of competition by object. In the selective (...)

The Paris Court of Appeal reduces by almost 99 percent the penalty imposed by the French Competition Authority on a manufacturer for prohibiting the sale of its products online to the members of its selective distribution network (Bang & Olufsen)
Magenta (Paris)
,
Dechert (Paris)
In its judgment of March 13, 2014, the Paris Court of appeal (Court of Appeal) reduced by almost 99 per cent the penalty imposed by the French Competition Authority (FCA) on Bang & Olufsen (B&O) in its decision of December 12, 2012 (Decision) for having, since 2001, prohibited the (...)

The French Supreme Court rules that the Paris Court of appeal has not given a legal basis to its judgment confirming the Competition Authority’s decision to end an exclusive distribution agreement in the mobile phone sector (Orange / Apple / France Télécom)
EDHEC (Lille)
Further to an agreement with Apple company, Orange became the exclusive carrier service provider and exclusive iPhone wholesaler over the French territory. Bouygues Télécom referred the matter to the French Competition Authority which ruled that this agreement seriously and immediately undermined (...)

Regulatory

The Spanish Competition Authority publishes its report on regional and local regulations imposed on private-hire driver licenses that ride-hailing apps
Bird & Bird (Madrid)
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Ecija & Asociados (Madrid)
Under its advocacy role, the Spanish Competition Authority (the "CNMC") published on 17 January 2019 a report on recent regional and local regulations imposed on private-hire driver licences (known as "VTCs") that ride hailing apps - such as Uber - for operating in Spain. As in other (...)

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