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Tag Archives: 9th amendment to German Act Against Restraints of Competition

For the good of the consumer – consumer protection in the 9th amendment of the ARC

Provisions on consumer protection account for only a small part of the 9th amendment of the German Act Against Restraints of Competition (ARC), which recently came into force. However, the introduction of the reform has led to a highly controversial debate in the press and literature.

Consumer protection in Germany

Traditionally, private enforcement is the main means of protecting consumer rights in Germany. This involves consumers or, more probably, recognised consumer protection associations bringing private law actions to ensure that consumer protection provisions are applied. Unfair competition law plays a central role here. For example, consumer organisations issue cease and desist letters in response to breaches of general terms and conditions of business. If unsuccessful, they then take legal action.

Unlike previously, the debate about the 9th amendment of the ARC focused on strengthening public enforcement. Not that public enforcement of consumer protection law is completely unknown in Germany: the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht – BaFin) and the German Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur – BNetzA) already have powers to enforce consumer rights. BaFin is responsible for the protection of all consumers in the area of financial services, while the BNetzA monitors the misuse of phone numbers. As a result of the 9th amendment of the ARC, the German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) now also has powers to protect consumers.

Digital is trump! – Market definition and new dominance criteria for digital markets

Digital is trump! – Market definition and new dominance criteria for digital markets
On 9 June 2017, the 9th amendment of the German Act Against Restraints of Competition (ARC) entered into effect introducing important amendments for companies to German competition law. The reform deals with two main issues: the implementation of the European Cartel Damages Actions Directive (for a comprehensive coverage of the various new regulations) and the adaption of German competition law to the challenges of the digital economy.

The new provisions amongst others deal with merger control, the handling of “free” services, e.g. social media, and companies with the assessment of market power, in particular in the digital industry. This reform is likely to shape the competition law practice in Germany and Europe over the next years.

Mind the gap – New Size-of-Transaction Test in German merger control

On 9 June 2017, the 9th amendment of the German Act Against Restraints of Competition (ARC) entered into effect introducing important amendments for companies to German competition law (please see the highlights of the 9th amendment of the ARC here). The reform deals with two main issues: the implementation of the European Cartel Damages Actions Directive (for a comprehensive coverage of the various new regulations, please see here) and the adaption of German competition law to the challenges of the digital economy.

The new provisions amongst others deal with merger control, the handling of “free” services, e.g. social media, and with the assessment of market power, in particular in the digital industry. This reform is likely to shape competition law practice in Germany and Europe over the next years. Many questions remain open, especially in the practical handling of the newly introduced size-of-transaction test in German merger control. This will lead to an increased need for coordination between companies and the Federal Cartel Office (FCO).