Knowing your place: Hogan Lovells Advises Businesses Following EC Report on e-commerce and geo-blocking
15 September 2016
Hogan Lovells today responded to the EC's preliminary report on its e-commerce sector inquiry. Falk Schoening, partner at Hogan Lovells, said:
"It's clear that the Commission will continue gearing up antitrust enforcement in the online world, with substantial views and conclusions laid out over nearly 300 pages. This report demonstrates that the Commission is preparing not only for new regulatory proposals, but for further individual antitrust action. Companies should be aware that they many face investigations into their commercial agreements and practices.
"The inquiry is not only about online sales of goods. The report goes hand in hand with new rules for digital content being currently proposed by the Commission on copyright, portability of subscriptions and geo-blocking. Here the Commission has sent a shot across the bow to the market, clearly signalling that geo-blocking potentially infringes antitrust law, and might trigger investigations resulting in fines and unenforceable contracts.
"It can be expected that the Commission will now request agreements from companies dealing with e-commerce and licensing questions. While the first cases may go on for many years and involve in-depth analysis, there's no room for complacency – businesses must act now to consider competition law issues. For tech companies this report demonstrates that the Commission will be an important force in shaping online markets in the future in Europe."