Nils Wahl: Luxury brands are to be able to prohibit trading on marketplaces
Manufacturers and brands can be allowed to restrict competition through a selective distribution system based on their luxury image. Nils Wahl, General Prosecutor at the European Court of Justice (ECJ), reported yesterday in his Opinion. In giving his preliminary Opinion, as is customary in ECJ proceedings, Wahl was referring to the current case of C-230/16 Coty Germany/Parfümerie Akzente. The ECJ has to clarify in this case whether the “luxury image” of a product can justify a selective distribution system and whether manufacturers can ban the sale of their goods via online marketplaces such as Amazon. Advocate General Wahl is of the opinion that manufacturers and brands may be allowed to restrict competition through a selective distribution system on the basis of a luxury image alone. As a result, a sweeping ban on the sale of luxury goods such as perfumery products on online marketplaces is permissible under certain conditions according to antitrust law. The Advocate General has left the situation for mass-market products open. Final clarity about the ECJ ruling is not expected for about six months.