Restrictions on the Use of Third-Party Platforms in Selective Distribution Agreements for Luxury Goods
Final version published in (2016) 12(2/3) European Competition Journal 435-461
21 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2017 Last revised: 5 May 2017
Date Written: February 21, 2017
This contribution considers whether a manufacturer of luxury goods, who operates a selective distribution system, may lawfully ban its appointed dealers from selling the contract goods via third-part online platforms under the EU competition rules. On the basis of an analysis of the relevant legal provisions and the existing case law, it is suggested that, while the aim of protecting a luxury image should in principle be considered a legitimate objective under Article 101 TFEU, a blanket ban that does not take into account the characteristics of the third-party platform should be deemed disproportionate. However, a ban on the use of third-party platforms should not be seen as a hardcore restriction within the meaning of Article 4 of Regulation (EU) no 330/2010, as long as the distributor has other viable options of selling the goods via the Internet.
Keywords: EU Competition Law; e-commerce; third-party platforms; selective distribution systems; Article 101 TFEU; Regulation (EU) No 330/2010
JEL Classification: K21
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation