Restrictions of online sales and vertical agreements: Bundeskartellamt vs. Commission? Why Coty and Asics are compatible

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Series Details Volume 14, Number 2-3, Pages 445-461
Publication Date June 2018
ISSN 1744-1056
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There has been an on-going debate about restrictions of internet sales and vertical agreements during the last years. Producers started to impose restrictive rules for the distribution of their products via the internet, arguably due to the increase of “free-riders” negatively affecting fair price competition (as the so-called free-riders benefit from, for example, “no cost” expert advice given in brick and mortar shops).

In this respect, it has been subject to controversy, whether online restrictions imposed by producers operating a selective distribution network on their retailers qualify as restrictions by object or restrictions by effect. In this respect, the European Court of Justice’s judgement in Pierre Fabre as well as the German decisions in Adidas and Asics fuelled controversial debates.

However, the ECJ’s ruling in Coty might have shed light on restrictions of online sales in selective distribution agreements.

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