On April 5, 2017, the Düsseldorf Court of Appeals has confirmed the FCO’s landmark decision in proceedings against Asics that a manufacturer of branded running shoes cannot generally ban its authorized dealers from using price comparison websites within a selective distribution system (link to the FCO’s press release on the Court’s decision in German here.
The FCO considers Asics as pilot proceedings and has already previously found (e.g. in Adidas) that such restrictions in selective distribution systems constitute hardcore restrictions which cannot be exempted. The Court has now confirmed this view (at least with respect to selective distribution systems for running shoes). It remains open after the Court decision whether a branded goods manufacturer, instead of a general, ban may impose concrete qualitative requirements for the internet presence of its authorized dealers on such third party websites, which might also ultimately lead to the result that using certain price comparison sites would be banned. Silke Heinz comments on the Court decision, i.e. what is publicly available from the FCO’s corresponding press release in the Global Competiton Review, see link here