On 20 August 2012, the German competition authority imposed an agreed fine of EUR8.2 million on TTS Tooltechnic Systems Deutschland (TTS) for establishing and implementing a resale price maintenance system. The fine was agreed since the case was finished on the basis of a settlement with TTS.
TTS sells high-quality power tools, exclusively in specialist stores. These stores had been asked by TTS strictly to observe a ?non-binding price recommendation? (a recommended resale price) which had been communicated by TTS. They were threatened with disadvantages such as worse conditions or contract suspension if they deviated from this price. This was seen as effectively illegal resale price maintenance (RPM).
The case provides a reminder that the RPM rules in the EU as a whole, including Germany, must be taken seriously. Along with bans on cross-border trade, RPM restrictions are the provisions in vertical agreements (such as distribution or supply agreements) which are most likely to result in fines from the national competition authorities or the European Commission (EC).