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Digital Business Lawyer

Hamburg appeals court upholds marketplace ban

The extent to which a brand that sells its products through selective distribution can prevent its authorised resellers from using third party marketplaces to sell online has become one of the most hotly contested questions in EU competition law over recent years. In December last year, the hotly anticipated Coty judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (‘CJEU’)1 confirmed that a manufacturer of luxury perfumes could lawfully impose a blanket restriction on its resellers’ use of marketplaces. A more recent judgment of the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court (‘OLG’)2 in Hamburg, in which the OLG moved away from the narrow focus on luxury adopted by the CJEU in Coty, underlines the high degree of control that brands enjoy over the distribution of their products under the current competition regime. In this article, Becket McGrath, Partner at Cooley LLP and member of the Digital Business Lawyer Editorial Board, provides analysis of the OLG ruling and its significance for marketplaces that help retailers sell branded products online.

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