Digital Platforms and the New 19a Tool in the German Competition Act
CRC TR 224 Discussion Paper Series 2021, final version JECLAP 12 (2021) 513-528
26 Pages Posted: 5 May 2021 Last revised: 3 Nov 2021
Date Written: May 2, 2021
In this article we present and critically evaluate the newly introduced section 19a of the German Competition Act. The provision applies to operators of two-sided platforms and networks that the Bundeskartellamt classifies as being of ‘paramount significance for competition across markets’. Using examples of previous abuse cases, we discuss which firms may eventually be the addressees of the new instrument. We analyse the list of prohibitable practices and point to normative uncertainties as regards the assessment of platform activities. We discuss the merits of the abridged judicial review. Finally, we consider the pro-spect of continuing fragmentation in the legal treatment of digital platforms in the internal market and assess the interaction with the Digital Markets Act as proposed by the European Commission.
Keywords: competition law, abuse of market power, digital platforms, gate-keeper, Big Tech
JEL Classification: K21
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation