New rules enter into force as of 9 June 2017. Law adapts to digital markets. New merger control threshold. Introduction of parental liability. Facilitation of antitrust damages actions.

Following months of consultation, the German Parliament (Bundestag) on 9 March 2017 had adopted the amendment to the German Act against Restraints of Competition (Gesetz gegen Wettbewerbsbeschränkungen, hereinafter "GWB"). The Bundesrat (representing the German federal states) approved the amendment on 31 March 2017. The amendment will now enter into force as of 9 June 2017, but some parts (e.g. limitation period for antitrust damages action) come into force with retroactive effects as of 27 December 2016. The three main objectives of the amendment are to adapt the GWB to digital market realities, to transpose Directive 2014/104/EU on antitrust damages actions, and to introduce parental liability for infringements of subsidiaries.

The new adaptions discussed in this Legal Update:

  • Introduction of a new merger control threshold
  • Specifications on the assessment of market power
  • Presumption of harm in damages litigation
  • Recognition of a passing-on defence
  • Recognition of joint and several liability
  • Disclosure requirements and information exchange among authorities
  • Extension of limitation period
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