AdBlock Plus - Germany: First decision rendered
Yesterday, the Hamburg judges held that Eyeo's current adblocking practice – with or without whitelisting – does not amount to an intentional unfair obstruction of a competitor under the German Unfair Competition Act. The judges pointed out that AdBlock Plus gives users the option to block or select the advertising content they want to see. While AdBlock Plus does come with certain default settings, users can decide whether to install the software in the first place and have the option to leave or change its default settings. That given, the court saw no room for an argument of willful obstruction by Eyeo to the detriment of website operators.
The decisions in the other lawsuits pending in Cologne and Munich are awaited with keen interest. The several claimants filed motions with differing scope and invoked a variety of legal arguments, including unfair competition, copyright infringement and antitrust violations, and more developments are expected. In particular the District Court of Cologne, hearing the action filed by Axel Springer, has so far been more critical of Eyeo's market practices. All parties have indicated that they will appeal a decision not in their favor.