June 2017: Revised antitrust law in Germany

Friday, 16. June 2017

With the publication of the 9th amendment to the Act against Constraints of Competition (GWB) German antitrust law has been changed in few but important aspects. The internet industry has been particularly impacted by the changes. The amendments stipulate that a transaction such as Facebook’s purchase of What’s App would require registration with the Federal Cartel Office. Online-platforms providing free services are now also subject to supervision prohibiting the abuse of market power. The new regulations also include liability for fines of affiliated companies and for legal successors (topic: avoiding fines via restructuring known in Germany as “Wurstlücke”), grant the press industry further privileges and implement the EU directive regarding damages for cartels into German law. The latter facilitates the enforcement of such claims against members of cartels. Just such private enforcement of antitrust claims is a growing issue a law firm like ours is equipped to face for the benefit of our clients.