In this edition of Competitive Edge, the Addleshaw Goddard competition team takes a detailed look at the European Commission's eagerly anticipated preliminary findings from its e-commerce inquiry.
The preliminary report published on 15 September 2016 by the European Commission is the first output of a comprehensive review of trends in e-commerce that are relevant to the way in which EU and UK competition law applies to online sales restrictions - both for consumer goods and for digital content. The Commission's inquiry forms part of its Digital Single Market strategy, which aims to ensure better access for consumers and businesses to goods and services.
The Commission's report identifies a number of areas where:
- it is concerned that companies may not be complying with the law as it stands;
- it believes the legal framework may be unduly permissive; and
- it may take enforcement action on a case-by-case basis, in line with the approach adopted in previous inquiries, such as those in the energy and pharmaceutical sectors.