German Federal Cartel Office discontinues pilot proceedings against Adidas
On 2 July 2014, the German Federal Cartel Office announced in a press release that it had discontinued the proceedings against Adidas AG (Adidas). The proceedings against Adidas focused particularly on the blanket ban contained in its online sales conditions which prohibited Adidas’ dealers – authorized by Adidas to trade via its selective distribution system – from selling Adidas products on online marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon or Rakuten.de.
Following extensive investigations by the Federal Cartel Office involving dealers and sports equipment manufacturers, it notified Adidas of its competition concerns with regard to the design of Adidas' online distribution system. Adidas then revised its internet sales conditions, removing the ban on sales via online marketplaces by Adidas dealers of Adidas products. From now on, Adidas’ internet sales conditions also expressly allow authorized dealers to use branded names as search terms in search engine advertising, such as Google AdWords.
The Federal Cartel Office’s proceedings against Asics are still on-going. However, currently, the Federal Cartel Office is in negotiations with the Japanese sports equipment manufacturer aiming for a consensus-based conclusion of the proceedings. In the Federal Cartel Office’s preliminary assessment, the prohibitions contained in Asics’ internet sales conditions represent a blank ban on internet sales by Asics dealers. For more details in this context, see the Federal Cartel Office’s press release of 28 April 2014.