Short Reads

General Court rules that luxury watchmakers can limit supply of parts to approved repairers

General Court rules that luxury watchmakers can limit supply of parts

General Court rules that luxury watchmakers can limit supply of parts to approved repairers

01.11.2017 NL law

On 23 October 2017, the General Court (GC) dismissed an appeal of the Confédération européenne des associations d’horlogers-réparateurs (CEAHR) against the European Commission's decision to reject its complaint.

CEAHR had complained to the Commission that LVMH Moët Hennessy-Louis Vuitton, Rolex and the Swatch Group (the "luxury brand watchmakers") had engaged in anticompetitive conduct and abused their market power by setting up selective distribution systems for repair services and refusing to supply spare parts to watch repairers that were not part of their authorised repair and maintenance network.

The GC reiterated that selective distribution systems are not considered anticompetitive when they are objectively justified, non-discriminatory and proportionate. Contrary to the appellant's claim, when these conditions are met, there is no need to examine whether selective distribution systems have the effect of "eliminating all competition". In determining whether the selective distribution systems are objectively justified, the Court held, contrary to the view expressed by AG Wahl in the Coty case, that the protection of the brand image alone cannot be a valid justification for the restriction of competition. However, the objective of preserving the quality of the products and ensuring their proper use may justify such a restriction, in which case selective distribution systems are allowed. The Court concluded that the selective distribution systems in place met all the necessary conditions.

The GC also rejected a claim by CEARH that the refusal to supply amounted to an abuse of dominance because the selective distribution systems lacked any objective justification. In order to establish an abuse under Article 102 TFEU, the refusal to supply by a dominant undertaking must (i) not be objectively justified, (ii) be related to goods and services that are indispensable for the requesting person's activity, and (iii) be likely to eliminate all competition. Consequently, the lack of an objective justification is not in itself sufficient ground for finding an abuse under Article 102 TFEU. The GC confirmed the Commission's finding that there was a very low probability of all effective competition being eliminated.

Finally, CEARH claimed that the Commission did not properly appreciate the market power of the luxury watchmakers. The GC dismissed that claim and ruled that since the Commission had held that the watchmaker's conduct did not qualify as an abuse, the degree of market power of the watchmakers was irrelevant.

This article was published in the Competition Law Newsletter of November 2017. Other articles in this newsletter:

  1. General Court annuls UPC/Ziggo merger decision
  2. General Court upholds fine for 'gun jumping' EU merger control procedure
  3. European Commission orders the recovery of State aid of around EUR 250 million from Amazon
  4. Nike can restrict sales via online platforms within its selective distribution system
  5. Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal rules on cover pricing
  6. KLM and Amsterdam Schiphol airport offer commitments to reduce competition concerns

Team

Related news

13.09.2018 NL law
FlixBus-uitspraak over de strijd van nieuwe spelers op de openbaar vervoermarkt tegen het bestaande concessiemodel met exclusieve rechten.

Short Reads - Het verrichten van openbaar vervoer geschiedt op basis van een concessie. Een concessie is het recht om met uitsluiting van anderen openbaar vervoer te verrichten in een bepaald gebied gedurende een bepaald tijdvak, aldus artikel 1 van de Wet personenvervoer 2000 (hierna: de 'Wp 2000'). 

Read more

01.08.2018 BE law
Belgian Court of Cassation annuls decision prohibiting pharmacists from using Google Adwords

Short Reads - On 7 June 2018, the Belgian Court of Cassation, ruled that a decision of the Pharmacists Association Appeals Council (Appeals Council) prohibiting pharmacists from using Google Adwords to offer over-the-counter (OTC) products violated Belgian competition law because the Appeals Council did not sufficiently justify why such a prohibition was necessary for health reasons. The Appeals Council must now issue a new decision.

Read more

07.09.2018
Actuele trends in het luchtkwaliteitsbeleid

Articles - Zowel op Europees als op Vlaams niveau zijn er de laatste maanden een aantal evoluties merkbaar met het oog op de verbetering van de luchtkwaliteit. Beleidsmatig verbindt het bestuur er zich reeds lang toe om werk te maken van een betere luchtkwaliteit. Nieuwe maatregelen dienen om de luchtkwaliteit daadwerkelijk te verbeteren.  Ook individuele burgers eisen hun rol op in het debat.

Read more

01.08.2018 NL law
Court of Appeal in the Netherlands decides to appoint independent economic experts in TenneT v ABB

Short Reads - On 20 July 2018, the Court of Appeal of Gelderland published another interim judgment in the ongoing proceedings between TenneT, the grid operator in the Netherlands, and ABB in relation to the gas insulated switchgear (GIS) infringement. After the Dutch Supreme Court had confirmed in a judgment of 8 July 2016 [see our August 2016 Newsletter] that the passing-on defence is available under Dutch law, the Court of Appeal of Gelderland decided to appoint independent economic experts to provide input on the calculation of overcharge and the existence of pass-on.

Read more

27.08.2018
Gewassen verkregen door mutagenesetechnieken vallen nu ook onder GGO-richtlijn

Articles - Organismen die zijn verkregen door middel van mutagenesetechnieken of –methoden zijn genetisch gewijzigde organismen (GGO’s) in de zin van de GGO-richtlijn 2001/18. Dit is wat het Europees Hof van Justitie op 25 juli 2018 oordeelde in de zaak C-528/16. Hiermee schept het Hof klaarheid in het juridisch niemandsland rond teeltvariëteiten bekomen door middel van mutagenese.

Read more

Our website uses cookies: third party analytics cookies to best adapt our website to your needs & cookies to enable social media functionalities. For more information on the use of cookies, please check our Privacy and Cookie Policy. Please note that you can change your cookie opt-ins at any time via your browser settings.

Privacy – en cookieverklaring