European Commission Signals Antitrust Enforcement Actions in the E-Commerce Sector

September 26, 2016

In May 2015, the European Commission launched an inquiry into the e commerce sector in the European Union.

On September 15, 2016, the Commission published a Preliminary Report setting out its initial findings.  The Report identified a number of potential competition concerns, including: (i) in relation to consumer goods, geographic sales restrictions, bans on sales via marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon, pricing restrictions, and online sales and advertising restrictions; and (ii) in relation to digital content, geo blocking, exclusivity of rights and content, bundling of online rights in licensing, and the long durations of some licensing agreements.  The Commission warned that businesses operating in the EU should review their business practices in light of the Report and that it might commence enforcement proceedings against individual businesses on the basis of its findings to date.