European Algorithmic Antitrust and Resale Price Maintenance: Asus, Denon & Marantz, Philips, and Pioneer Decisions

November 2018

CPI EU News Column edited by Thibault Schrepel, Sam Sadden & Jan Roth (CPI) presents:

European Algorithmic Antitrust and Resale Price Maintenance: Asus, Denon & Marantz, Philips, and Pioneer Decisions By Dr. Aurélien Portuese (St Mary’s University London)1

On February 2, 2017, the European Commission announced the launch on its own initiative of three sets of investigations into suspected anticompetitive behavior in online commerce.2 The three sectors inquired have been (i) consumer electronics manufacturers; (ii) video games publishers; and (iii) hotels and tour operators’ price discrimination. As of the November 2018, the consumer electronics manufacturers sector is the first sector to be fined with an amount totaling €111 million for the companies Asus, Denon & Marantz, Philips, and Pioneer, following a press release on July 24, 2018.3 Since the Yamaha decision of 2003,4 it is the first time the European Commission has fined companies on the basis of resale price maintenance as prohibited by Article 101 TFEU.

Four Decisions for Algorithmic Resale Price Maintenance

All decisions, except Denon & Marantz, have been closed as of November 7, 2018.5 All decisions concerned vertical restraint instances wherein defendant companies relied upon “fixed or minimum resale price maintenance (RPM)”6 in order to restrict “the ability of their online retailers to set their own retail prices for widely used consumer electronics products such…

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