The German Competition Authority has told Japanese sports shoe brand Asics it can no longer ban retailers from online marketplaces. In order to "protect its brand", Asics refused to let retailers sell its products online.
Too much hassle for sellers
Asics had forced its retailers to comply in an attempt to protect its brand's image as it felt that online sales would diminish that. Nike and Adidas do similarly in Germany and are therefore also under investigation, although Adidas has since loosened its policy.
Not only can retailers not sell Asics online, they were also banned from using the brand's logo in online advertisements and Asics' products were also not allowed on price comparison websites.
The German Bundeskartellamt (its Competition Authority) has now stated that small and medium-sized sellers experience too much hassle because of this prohibition. Their online losses could not be recouped elsewhere, while the ban also had negative effects on the price competitiveness and basically boiled down to an "actual ban on online sales".