ECJ’S perspective for selective distribution in the era of Amazon and eBay


Judgment of 6 December 2017, Coty Germany, C‑230/16, EU:C:2017:941


Eleonora Mateina[1]


The purpose of the article is to outline the key aspects of the selective distribution systems and to review the most significant decisions of the ECJ dedicated to this topic, i.e. decisions under cases С-230/16 (Coty); case С-439/09 (Pierre Fabre); cade С-26/76 (Metro) and case С‑59/08 (Copad).

The review facilitates the better understanding of the ECJ’ approach towards the selective distribution systems from 1977 until today.

The last decision rendered, i.e. those under case С-230/16 (Coty) is particularly interesting due to the fact that it concerns the selective distribution systems in the modern times when eBay and Amazon are major platforms for shopping. It is a great challenge for the producers of luxury goods and services to protect the luxury and exclusive character of their goods and services upon the existence of platforms for internet trade. The decision of the ECJ provoked lots of publications among the legal professionals focused on competition law, since it attempts to find the compromise between the permitted restrictions for distributors and retailers and the effective distribution within the EU. It was rendered based on a request for preliminary ruling by the Oberlandesgericht Frankfurt am Main and echoed in a decision of the Paris Court of Appeal.

The decisions of the German and the French courts following the ruling of the ECJ under the Coty case are subject to brief review herein.




[1] Eleonora Mateina is senior associate at Tsvetkova Bebov Komarevski, Attorney-at-law with more than 5 years’ experience in competition law, regulatory and dispute resolution. She is member of the Sofia Bar Association. Eleonora regularly authors articles in competition law and dispute resolution for domestic and international editions. She is actively involved as coach and arbitrator in moot court competitions. Eleonora is fluent in Bulgarian, English and Italian and has good conversant skills in French and Russian.