Contextual Variety

47 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2018

See all articles by Adrian Kuenzler

Adrian Kuenzler

Yale University - Law School; University of Zurich; University of Münster

Date Written: March 19, 2018


Following the CJEU’s decisions in Pierre Fabre and Coty, a considerable amount of scholarship on the design of competitive markets has been concerned with one particular issue: should product manufacturers be allowed to impose firmer restrictions on distribution with the aim of upholding consumers’ views on product quality? This article asserts that when consumers are exposed to a variety of goods offered in the marketplace, they see product quality as more objective; when they are exposed to a variety of offers pertaining to differentiated goods, they perceive of quality as more subjective. Based on this observation, this article examines a recurring set of trade-offs that courts face when balancing the legitimate interests of product manufacturers to restrict distribution against their effects on consumer sovereignty. The article’s findings aim to advance debates about the overarching policy goals of the manner in which digital markets ought to be regulated.

Keywords: consumer law, competition law, trademark law, cognitive science

JEL Classification: D43, D60, D63, L15, L40, D43, K20, K21, K42

Suggested Citation

Kuenzler, Adrian, Contextual Variety (March 19, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Adrian Kuenzler (Contact Author)

Yale University - Law School ( email )

University of Zurich ( email )

Rämistrasse 71
Zürich, CH-8006

University of Münster ( email )

Universitätsstraße 14-16
Münster, 48143

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