The rapid online marketplace expansion brings with it a number of challenges for manufacturers and brands selling products in the European Economic Area (EEA). Brands that are grappling with unauthorized sellers and the damage they cause in Europe must ensure that any actions taken to redress these issues comply with applicable law. European authorities have provided guidance on how brands can manage online marketplace distribution in a lawful manner. In particular, European courts and regulators have made clear that many brands may sell their products through a selective distribution system pursuant to which resellers – including those on online marketplaces – must meet certain criteria before being permitted to sell. For many brands, implementing a lawful and effective selective distribution system in Europe will be the best way to protect themselves from the harms caused by low quality, unauthorized sellers.
When designing selective distribution networks and related reseller criteria, brands must be conscious of the entirely new “ecosystem” at issue in the marketplace-driven world of eCommerce. This new ecosystem requires a new way of thinking around the characteristics of high-quality resellers in the ever-evolving eCommerce channel, particularly with respect to online marketplaces. More specifically, brands must now give careful thought to the qualities sought across three distinct categories of resellers: brick-and-mortar, online, and online marketplace, as each category comes with its own distinct business realities.
The Vorys eControl Group provides multidisciplinary services uniquely designed to help brands protect and grow themselves in today’s European market. We understand the comprehensive and global approach necessary to solve the challenges brands face. Our team develops go-to-market strategies to enhance business value and brand equity in Europe. We will help you establish or refine your distribution model to maximize growth across channels and alleviate the pain points your brand may be experiencing. With a clear strategy in place, our team will help you develop the necessary legal and commercial foundation to execute it in a manner that is both legally compliant and supported by key internal stakeholders and customers. Once a brand has settled on its strategy and developed the necessary foundation, we lead enforcement efforts against unauthorized sellers in an efficient and effective manner.