Reed Smith Client Alerts

On 10 May 2017, the European Commission published its final report on its two-year e-commerce sector inquiry (the Final Report). A handy 16-page summary is accompanied by a dense and largely uneventful staff working document running to nearly 300 pages. In summary, the Final Report essentially follows the conclusions (or rather lack of them) in the Commission’s previous preliminary report last autumn, and contains some uncomfortable reading for brand owners.

Auteurs: Edward S. Miller

The Commission’s findings in its preliminary report were analysed and summarised in our last client alert on the e-commerce inquiry, and were also featured in our webinar on the subject last April.

The Final Report contains some commentary on the use of territorial restrictions, geoblocking, restrictions on resellers’ use of online marketplaces, Google AdWords and price comparison sites, some warnings on resale price maintenance and some analysis of the current regime of licensing of rights to digital platforms like Netflix and Spotify. There are no surprises on these issues, nor any real indications of departures from existing practice. Given that the Commission’s conclusions on these issues in the Final Report largely follow the Commission’s preliminary report, our analysis in our last client alert referred to above also serves to summarise the Commission’s final findings, so we will not repeat it here.