European Union lets luxury brands block goods from Amazon

Luxury manufacturers can block retailers from selling on Amazon

A RULING by Europe's top court could see luxury goods pulled from online retail sites such as Amazon.

Coty's case was unsuccessful initially - the trial court found that the contract terms conflicted with German or EU competition law - but the Higher Regional Court in Frankfurt sought guidance on appeal from the European Court of Justice.

The issue is significant in Europe, whose companies account for 70 percent of global luxury goods sales.

Beauty company Coty said it brought the case to protect the cachet of its brands like Chloe and Marc Jacobs.

Any third-party platform ban must have the objective of preserving the luxury image of the goods, be applied uniformly and not in a discriminatory fashion, and be proportionate to the objective pursued.

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Coty's German subsidiary and retailer, Parfumerie Akzente, had been selling Coty cosmetics on Amazon and other online sites, despite its parent asking it to stop.

A supplier of luxury goods can prohibit its authorized distributors from selling those goods on a third-party internet platform such as Amazon.
In their ruling, judges confirmed that luxury brands could restrict sales through online marketplaces without breaching European competition rules.

In two test cases in recent years, the German cartel office forced adidas and Asics to drop such bans, saying online platforms were crucial for small- and medium-sized companies and consumers.

Germany will now have to fall in line though, said a competition lawyer, who declined to be named.

The decision out of Luxembourg comes in response to contractual proceedings that the luxury retailer Coty Prestige initiated in Germany against one of its authorized retailers.

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