On 5 April 2017, the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court upheld the German Competition Authority (Bundeskartellamt's) 2016 Asics decision [see our February 2016 Newsletter]. At the time of writing, the full text of the judgment was not available.
The Court confirmed that contractually prohibiting retailers from using price comparison websites constitutes a "by object" infringement of competition law. The Court considered that the restriction imposed by Asics could not be justified to protect its brand image and pre-sales services.
In contrast, the European Commission's preliminary report of the e-commerce sector inquiry [see our October 2016 Newsletter] suggests that online price comparison restrictions which are imposed by a manufacturer in the context of a selective distribution system may, in principle, be permissible to ensure quality standards on the promotion of their products on the internet.