Berlin Court bans eBay ban

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.