On January 25, 2017, the FCO published its long-awaited draft notice with guidance on resale price maintenance (RPM) related questions in the food retail sector in Germany. The draft is up for public consultation, and interested parties can submit comments by March 20, 2017. It is available on the FCO’s website, including in English, see…

The second part of the blog on the FCO’s background paper on “Competition and Consumer Conduct – Conflict or Parallelism between Consumer Protection and Antitrust Law?” covers the interplay between consumer and competition protection and their legal tools in practice, including recent and potential future developments. (For the first part on the general principles please…

The Federal Cartel Office (FCO) held a conference with antitrust experts (professors and judges) on October 6. 2016, on “Competition and Consumer Conduct – Conflict or Parallelism between Consumer protection and Antitrust Law?” As part of the conference, the FCO published a background paper on the same topic, available in German, see http://www.bundeskartellamt.de/DE/UeberUns/Veranstaltungen/ArbeitskreisKartellrecht/arbeitskreiskartellrecht_node.html I. Background…

The German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) terminated antitrust proceedings against toy manufacturer Lego on July 18, 2016, following Lego’s agreement to change its current rebate system. Lego will enable online retailers to obtain in practice the same amount of discounts as available for brick and mortar shops. The FCO had opened proceedings against Lego based…

The question of how to treat bans on sales via third-party internet platforms in selective distribution systems and the impact of the Court of Justice’s Pierre Fabre ruling (see judgment of October 13, 2011, case C-439/09) have been on the agenda in Germany for some time. Recently, the Frankfurt Court of Appeals has submitted a…

The FCO has ended the year 2015 with quite a bang when it prohibited internet hotel portal booking.com to continue to use its “narrow” best-price clauses on December 23, 2015. The decision includes an order to remove this clause in general t&cs and contracts by the end of January 2016 as far as hotels in…

On November 18, 2015, the Düsseldorf Court of Appeal quashed the decision of the Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) that supermarket chain Edeka had abused its market power vis-à-vis suppliers by requesting special terms and conditions (“t&cs”) following its acquisition of discounter Plus in 2008 (so-called “wedding rebates”).  The ruling is not yet published, only a…

This blog deals with the 2nd part of the FCO’s discussion paper on internet platforms: possible theories of harm and intervention of competition agencies. For the first part on general concepts please see my previous blog. Merger control The FCO explains that reducing the number of platforms may actually increase competition, due to the easier…

On October 1, 2015, the FCO published a paper entitled “Digital economy – internet platforms between competition law, privacy and consumer protection” on the occasion of a conference of the working group competition law (consisting of experts from the FCO, German ministries, other competition authorities, academia and judges). The paper discusses various competition law issues…

On December 23, 2103, the Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) published an explanatory note on settlement proceedings in antitrust cases on its website. Since 2007, the FCO has increasingly terminated cases through settlements, so the note came rather late. Unlike the European Commission, the FCO has entered into settlement agreements without a specific regulatory basis and…