Luxury firms’ online battle boosted by EU court adviser’s Coty view

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LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) – An adviser to Europe’s top court said on Wednesday that U.S. beauty products maker Coty’s German unit can block retailers from selling their products via marketplaces such as Amazon or eBay.

The dispute between Coty and German retailer Parfuemerie Akzente, which sells Coty’s goods on sites including Amazon against Coty’s wishes, underscores a decade-long battle between luxury brands and online retailers.

Luxury brands say they should have the right to choose who sells their products to protect their luxury image and exclusivity.

“A supplier of luxury goods may prohibit its authorized retailers from selling its products on third-party platforms such as Amazon or eBay,” Advocate General Nils Wahl at the EU court of Justice said.

“Such a prohibition, which seeks to preserve the luxury image of the products concerned, is not, under certain conditions, caught by the prohibition of agreements, as it is likely to improve competition based on qualitative criteria.”

Reporting by Michele Sinner, writing by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Philip Blenkinsop