Despite the pandemic, 2020 has been a very busy year for the Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) and courts in the field of competition law in Germany.  The following is merely a selection of interesting developments.  It does not include the recently adopted reform of the Competition Act, which merits its own blog. Generally, the FCO…

The government’s draft for new competition rules, including on (digital) platforms, published in September 2020 (see here) includes a provision specifically aimed at powerful digital gatekeepers, draft Section 19a ARC.  The proposal was debated in parliament on November 25, 2020, is largely expected to be adopted more or less in its current form and to…

On July 17, 2019, the German Bundeskartellamt (Federal Cartel Office, “FCO”) terminated its dominance probe into Amazon’s business terms towards sellers on its marketplace after Amazon agreed to various changes, see press release here here. Amazon will implement the changes within 30 days, not only in Germany, but for all of its marketplaces in Europe,…

On June 4, 2019, the Düsseldorf Court of Appeal quashed the decision of the Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) prohibiting Booking.com to operate so-called narrow most favored nation (MFN) clauses (or best price clauses) on its hotel booking platform with hotels in Germany, see press release here.  It thereby set a (preliminary) end to a long saga…

On February 7, 2019, Germany’s Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) issued its long-awaited decision in the Facebook case, see press release and background paper in English here. It qualifies Facebook’s current practice of collecting and matching data of its users from third-party services/websites, including on What’sApp and Instagram, without explicit consent as an abuse of dominance.  Facebook…

On September 4, 2018, the German Ministry for Economic Affairs has published a report by economic and legal experts analyzing some key issues of abuse of market power in the digital platform economy (see an English summary here.) The report provides an overview of the status quo and recommendations, and is understood to be the…

On May 14, 2018, the German and Austrian competition authorities have published joint draft guidelines on the new transaction value merger thresholds, including an English translation (see here). Comments can be submitted by June 8, 2018. It would certainly be helpful if members of the legal and economic community from jurisdictions with similar transaction size…

The Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) announced on February 1, 2018, to launch a sector inquiry into online advertising (here). This in line with the FCO’s focus on competitive conditions in the digital economy and big data. The FCO follows the French competition authority that started a separate online advertising sector inquiry in 2016 and has…

On December 19, 2017, the Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) published a press release on its preliminary assessment in the ongoing Facebook dominance probe, accompanied by a background paper (available in English here). The FCO considers that Facebook abuses its dominant position through imposing unfair general terms and conditions (“t&cs”). The published materials provide some interesting…

The Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) has published a background paper “Innovation – Challenges for the Antitrust Law Practice” in October 2017. It covers possible innovation aspects across different antitrust law areas, with a focus on merger control. The paper is a valuable contribution to the debate on innovation. It is an agency paper, so it…