Selective distribution system for luxury products allowed


The agreement between the distributor of branded (cosmetic) products and retailers that the ”luxury character of the products must be preserved” when the goods are offered does not violate European competition law. The distributor can prohibit the offer of the products on “amazon.de”. This is a qualitative selective distribution system which is permissible if the selection of resellers is based on objective criteria; this is the case if the characteristics of the products require such a distribution network in order to maintain the brand image. The safeguarding of the luxury image of goods, whose quality is not solely based on their physical characteristics, justifies the establishment of a selective distribution system. Furthermore, high-quality presentation may be necessary in order to be able to protect the quality of the luxury products. In any event, such an agreement is exempt from the strict antitrust rules under the exceptional provisions of the Vertical Block Exemption Regulation. [ECJ 06.12.2017, C-230/16; OLG Frankfurt 12.07.2018, 11 U 96/14]