On February 16, 2022, the Cour de cassation confirmed that lack of mutual trust is a valid reason for a supplier to refuse to reappoint a former member of its selective distribution network, upholding an important decision of the Paris Court of Appeals in the automotive industry.[1]

On February 4, 2022, the Commission released a revised draft dual distribution guidance[1] within the broader context of the ongoing review of EU vertical rules.

On January 31, 2022, the Commission launched a formal investigation of Pierre Cardin and its largest licensee, the Ahlers Group (“Ahlers”) concerning the restriction of cross-border and online sales of Pierre Cardin-licensed products.[1] The Commission will investigate whether Pierre Cardin’s licensing agreement with Ahlers restricted parallel imports and sales to specific customer groups.

On January 26, 2022, the Criminal Chamber of the French Cour de cassation (the French Supreme Court) has ruled for the first time that companies’ internal documents summarizing or forwarding outside counsel’s legal advice in connection with anticipated litigation are protected by the French legal privilege (secret professionnel).  The French case law is therefore gradually moving closer to the EU one.

On January 26, 2022, the Criminal Chamber of the French Cour de cassation (the French Supreme Court) has ruled for the first time that companies’ internal documents summarizing or forwarding outside counsel’s legal advice in connection with anticipated litigation are protected by the French legal privilege (secret professionnel).  The French case law is therefore gradually moving closer to the EU one.

On January 19, 2022, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) closed its proceedings on furniture retailer KHG GmbH & Co. KG’s (Krieger/Höffner Group, “KHG”) envisaged accession to the purchasing cooperation Bedarfsgüter Großhandelsgesellschaft für Wohnung GmbH (“Begros”) which it had initiated in early 2021.  In the end, KHG and Begros were able to dispel the FCO’s concerns by offering substantial modifications to their initial plans.[1]

By an order issued on January 18, 2022,[1] the Italian Supreme Court rejected as inadmissible an application lodged by Kuadra S.r.l. (“Kuadra”) for cassation of a ruling delivered in 2019 by the Council of State,[2] which upheld an ICA decision fining Kuadra for its participation in an alleged anticompetitive agreement aimed at altering the outcome of a public tender for cleaning and maintenance services (the “Decision”),[3] after the TAR Lazio had set it aside at first instance.[4]

On December 22, 2021, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) published its annual review for 2021.[1]  As done already on the occasion of the presentation of its Annual Report 2020/2021,[2] the FCO’s President, Andreas Mundt, emphasized again that the protection of competition in the digital economy remains one of the FCO’s top priorities.  He underlined that also merger control will continue to serve as a key tool to achieve this goal.  In addition, he pointed out that the FCO would welcome powers of intervention also with regard to infringements of consumer rights.