New rules on digital gatekeepers ramp up antitrust enforcement in Germany

Click here to read the full article online

In January 2021, the latest reform of the German competition law (“ARC”) entered into force, including significant new rules regarding digital platform markets. These include new powers for the Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) under Section 19a ARC regarding digital gatekeepers with paramount cross-market significance for competition (for more details on the new norm, see here).

A big gamechanger in Section 19a ARC is that the rule does not necessarily require the finding of any anticompetitive effects. The FCO can prohibit certain practice categories listed in the law, unless the company can prove the practice is objectively justified. Some practice categories are further detailed by so-called regulatory examples. (The official English translation of the updated ARC, including Section 19a, can be found here). The new law has ramped up enforcement against digital gatekeepers. This post gives an overview of the pending proceedings and a first impression.