On July 26, 2017, Advocate General Wahl issued his opinion in the proceedings referred to the Court of Justice of the EU from Frankfurt’s Court of Appeals in case Coty vs. Parfümerie Akzente. The opinion confirms the Court’s longstanding jurisprudence that manufacturers of luxury goods can opt for selective distribution in order to protect a brand image and impose certain restrictions on authorized dealers. The opinion finds that the Court’s ruling in case Pierre Fabre has not changed this principle. In the case at hand, Wahl considers Coty’s prohibition for dealers to sell the luxury cosmetic goods via discernable third-party Internet platforms in principle as compatible with Article 101 TFEU. Wahl does not qualify the prohibition as a hardcore restriction, so that it can at least be exempted under the vertical group exemption regulation or individually under Article 101(3) TFEU. The opinion thus differs from the Bundeskartellamt’s position in similar questions. The Court of Justice now needs to rule. Silke Heinz is quoted on the opinion in Global Competion Review and by Bloomberg.
Opinion of Advocate General at the Court of Justice of the EU supports selective distribution and the possibility to impose certain restrictions in online sales
by Silke Heinz