In its decision of 12 December, 2017, published on 19 January, 2018, the German Federal Court of Justice decided that ASICS may not forbid its dealers from using price comparison engines. According to the decision, per se prohibitions which are not tied to quality requirements are illegal. The Court found that the infringement of competition law was so obvious that no hearing was required for further clarification and that the case need not be submitted to the European Court of Justice.
Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartellamt: "In the Internet, dealers do most of their turnover via search engines and on internet market places. Consumers cannot find these dealers if manufacturers forbid retailers from using price comparison engines or the manufacturers' brand names for search engine advertising. In addition, many manufacturers of brand products have set up their own online shops and cooperate with large marketplaces like Amazon. If these manufacturers simultaneously impose online restrictions on their predominantly small and medium-sized dealers, the online business will ultimately be concentrated in the hands of the manufacturers themselves, a few large retailers and even fewer leading marketplaces. So we have to keep the markets open for small retailers for the benefit of consumers and small dealers".
The full text of the Bundeskartellamt's press release is available here.