In its judgment of 14 March 2023 (Case No. 11 U 20/22), the Frankfurt am Main Higher Regional Court dismissed the action brought by the German Publishers and Booksellers Association (Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels) against eBay, the online marketplace represented by Raue, on the grounds of an alleged infringement of fixed book prices. The first civil senate of the Federal Court of Justice dismissed the appeal for non-admission filed against this decision by order of 12 October 2023. The judgement is thus legally binding. According to the ruling, the online marketplace eBay is not subject to the German Book Price Fixing Act (BuchPrG) and was therefore allowed to offer a discount campaign on books.
In January 2020, the association had obtained a temporary injunction against the online platform, which the Wiesbaden Regional Court overturned on formal grounds following an objection by eBay. Thereupon, the Börsenverein filed a lawsuit in order to obtain a fundamental decision in the matter.
The subject of the legal dispute is a “10 per cent advent discount” that eBay had advertised for its online marketplace in December 2019. Users could redeem the voucher, among other things, when buying price-bound books on the online marketplace.
According to the German Publishers and Booksellers Association, such a discount financed by third parties violates the fixed book price. The Wiesbaden Regional Court took a different view in its ruling in January 2022 and dismissed the action. With the decision that has now been announced, the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court has confirmed the first instance ruling and dismissed the Börsenverein’s appeal.
Raue provided comprehensive regulatory advice in the matter and represented eBay both in the preliminary injunction proceedings and in the main proceedings.
(20 October 2023)