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E-Commerce Distribution Policies under EU Antitrust Scrutiny

Jens-Olrik Murach, Balthasar Strunz, Gibson Dunn Client Alert, June 20, 2017

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This month, the European Commission ("Commission") has started the already expected initiative to open formal investigations into the e-commerce practices of companies active in the European Union.

The Commission’s investigations inter alia focus on potentially illegal restrictions imposed by manufacturers of consumer goods on retailers regarding the online distribution of products to consumers or to retailers in other EU Member States, and whether wholesalers are illegally restricted from selling to retailers in other EU Member States. Another focus of the Commission’s investigations lies on the licensing and distribution of merchandising products, namely whether the licensors have restricted their licensees’ ability to sell licensed merchandise cross-border and online.

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