Berlin Court bans eBay ban

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A manufacturer of luggage (branded as Scout Heavy Duty Luggage) has been prohibited from banning an online merchant from selling their products on marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon.

The Kammergericht, the highest court in Berlin, has decreed: “The Scout manufacturers Sternjakob may not prohibit a Berlin merchant from selling their products on eBay or Amazon”.

The merchant fought for years against the protectionism of the Scout manufacturer and had already won the first round in 2009, before commencement of the appeals procedure.

The Berlin court order roughly translates as “The manufacturer Alfred Sternjakob GmbH & Co. KG must fulfil orders made by the online retailer in particular the Scout and 4You brands and must not make supply it a condition that the retailer can’t sell the goods on eBay or other marketplaces such as Amazon”.

Choice in EcommerceOliver Prothmann, founder and spokesperson for Choice in eCommerce (a European campaign group seeking to prevent brand manufacturers from limiting the sale and resale of their products online), welcomed the verdict saying “This is an important milestone for the online-seller and the trade overall“.

The judgement is especially significant as it is the first judgement since the new EU directives came into force. Oliver explains “The decision of the Supreme Court is an important step for more legal certainty. It shows that a flat ban on sales on Amazon, eBay and other marketplaces is not possible. A merchant can now cite this judgement in cases against other manufacturers. The decision shows once again that it pays to fight as a merchant and not simply accept such restrictions

We’ve seen several cases in the last year where manufacturers decided to cut off supply to some retailers selling on marketplaces. Hopefully this new judgement will have a positive effect on European manufacturers and make it easier for retailers to source products regardless if they’re for sale in their bricks and mortar store or if they’re destined for marketplaces.

12 Responses

  1. I have just cited this case with a big supplier who stopped me buying about a year ago.

    They were a bit dismissive.

    Chris – do you know what the next steps will be? Will it become EU law?

  2. Is this specific to selling on Ebay and Amazon or is it for any online venue? If manufacturers don’t want their goods sold online I don’t necessarily think that they should be forced into into supplying internet companies.

  3. Solution pretty simple, pump up the whole sale price to ALL ebay sellers 30% and make it standard company policy to every ebay seller.

    That should be enough to make the bags not worth selling.

  4. Where did this story come from? What’s a bet tamebay was fed this story? I wonder if we are getting the whole story here?

  5. Thanks for the clarification Chris. I would be interested for any follow up on my comments on the “eSellerPro tips for optimising listings” post if you get a chance.

  6. Anyone from Bigjigs reading this article?

    After banning retailers re-selling their products on marketplaces, I’d imagine it’s only a matter of time before they get taken to court.

    Enjoy!

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