Competition Law in Germany

Competition Law in Germany

Updated on Friday 04th December 2015

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Competition-Law-in-GermanyProtection against competition in Germany

The legislation against unfair competition was designed to protect German companies and consumers from misinterpretation and unlawful practices. The Competition Law applies in all industries, but most of all it applies to mergers and acquisitions. The legislation on competition in Germany specifies that if a company is breaching the law a customer or another company can claim for the discontinuance of such practice and is also entitled to sue for any damages.

Our law firm in Germany provides legal counseling in litigation cases with respect to the infringement of the Competition Law.

The Act against Restraints of Competition in Germany

Germany has implemented its first legislation on competition in 1999. Later on, when the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development introduced new standards for competition, Germany has amended its Competition Law (Gesetz gegen Wettbewerbsbeschränkungen, GWB). The latest amendment of the German Antitrust Law was enforced in 2013 when the Government wanted to align the country’s legal framework with EU Directives in order to provide a safe environment for merger and acquisition transactions (M&A).

Provisions of the new German Competition Law

The new legislation on competition in Germany introduced the SIEC (significantly impede effective competition) test, under which the authorities forbid large companies to create a stronger market position to the disadvantage of smaller enterprises. The German Antitrust Authority (Bundeskartellamt,BKartA) has introduced new measures in order to verify that the Competition Law is not infringed. The test consists in:

  • -          submitting M&A transactions over 15 million euros for control and review with the BKartA,
  • -          consecutive M&A transactions between two companies must take place within a maximum period of two years,
  • -          a seller must notify the BKartA if at least 25% of its voting shares are purchased by another company.

Transactions in the media industry also benefit from new reporting criteria under the German Competition Law. Our German lawyers can provide you with detailed information about the new notification thresholds for M&As in the press industry.

For complete information about the provisions of the new Competition Law, please contact our attorneys in Germany.