Konkurrens och upphandling Nyhet

EU and competition

ECJ judg­ment on in­ter­net sa­les in a se­lecti­ve dis­tri­bu­tion sy­stem

On 6 December 2017 the European Court of Justice (ECJ) han­ded down its judg­ment in the Coty ca­se. The ECJ first re­con­fir­med that, sub­ject to cer­tain requi­re­ments, a se­lecti­ve dis­tri­bu­tion sy­stem ai­ming at pre­ser­ving the lux­u­ry cha­rac­ter of the contract pro­duct do­es not in­fringe EU com­pe­ti­tion law. The ECJ then went on to find that a requi­re­ment in a se­lecti­ve dis­tri­bu­tion sy­stem, whe­re­by the se­lecti­ve dis­tri­bu­tor is pro­hi­bi­ted from con­ducting in­ter­net sa­les over a third par­ty plat­form di­scer­nib­le to con­su­mers, do­es not in­fringe com­pe­ti­tion law. The sup­pli­er may thus requi­re that a dis­tri­bu­tor’s on­li­ne sa­les ta­ke pla­ce un­der the dis­tri­bu­tor’s brand and wit­hout the vi­sib­le in­vol­ve­ment of third par­ti­es.

The judg­ment is of con­si­de­rab­le in­te­rest. The European Commission has in prin­cip­le ac­cep­ted restric­tions on in­ter­net sa­les over third par­ty plat­forms as law­ful un­der EU com­pe­ti­tion law; on the cont­ra­ry, se­ve­ral Member State aut­ho­ri­ti­es ha­ve ta­ken a ne­ga­ti­ve stan­ce to such restric­tions. It re­mains to be seen what im­pact the judg­ment will ha­ve, in par­ticu­lar at the na­tio­nal le­vel.