The European Commission has revised the Vertical Restraints Block Exemption Regulation and accompanying Guidelines, which were 10 years old, and adopted the new Regulation 330/2010 of 20 April 2010 and its Guidelines of 19 May 2010. These new texts take into account the development of the internet as a force for sales and for cross-border commerce. As to the question of “who can sell trough the internet”, it maintains the right for approved distributors to use the internet freely to advertise or sell their products. A ban of online sales can thus exist only in exceptional cases when objectively required. In the interests of both networks and consumers, manufacturers remain free to decide how to distribute their products providing that their agreements do not contain any hardcore restrictions of competition (i.e. fixing the resale price or re-creating barriers to the EU’s single market). Under the new Regulation, they are expressly allowed to decide to sell only to dealers that have a “brick and mortar” shop (thus to exclude “pure players”) and to manage the use of the internet by requiring rules pertaining to sales conditions, the website quality, advertising and referencing, etc. to be respected.
Access to this article is restricted to subscribers
Already Subscribed? Sign-in