Steger Comments on Bundeskartellamt Investigation Into Internet Distribution Systems

February 21, 2015

Prominent German newspaper Börsen-Zeitung (Stock-Exchange-Newspaper) turned to Antitrust Associate Jens Steger for his insights into German and European antitrust law regarding selective distribution systems with regard to internet sales.

Brand manufacturers usually use selective distribution systems for limiting internet sales due to the protection of their brand images. Germany’s Federal Cartel Office (the Bundeskartellamt) investigates such distribution systems with a strong view to a potential infringement of German and European antitrust law. The German courts recently issued an inconsistent ruling in terms of distribution systems that limit sales via the internet. As a result there is tremendous legal uncertainty among distributors and brand manufacturers regarding the risk of infringing antitrust law.

Jens analyzed the most recent cases of the Bundeskartellamt and the German courts and delivered suggestions for the implementation of legally justified selective distribution systems according to German and European antitrust law. He suggested brand manufacturers check their distribution agreements to reduce economic risks with regard to an infringement of German and European antitrust law.

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