Welcome to the first edition of our Retail & Consumer monthly news round-up. This newsletter focuses on key news and updates for retail and consumer-facing businesses around the world.

In this newsletter:

Commercial Contracts

Clientele Compensation Under Spanish Distribution Law - A Case Law Perspective  

Distribution agreements are not specifically regulated under Spanish Law. This lack of regulation implies that relations between parties are based on (i) the terms and conditions agreed by the parties; and (ii) interpretation by the Courts. This analogical application may prejudice suppliers, since the Agency Act recognizes some economic rights to the agent upon the termination of the agreement.

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Competition & EU Law

The Rise of Big Data - Intersection Between Competition Law and Customer Data

In recent years, the accumulation of large data sets by companies and the ability to process it through the rapid development of computer algorithms and artificial intelligence (together referred to as Big Data for the purposes of this article) have been discussed at great length in the competition law world. Competition authorities across Europe are paying ever-increasing attention to the phenomenon and there is a growing, but somewhat disparate, body of case law.

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Online Platform and Price Comparison Restrictions - Case Summaries 

  • Coty ECJ Judgment - can brand owners stop their distributors selling on online marketplaces?
  • Asics - price comparison site restrictions 

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Geo-Blocking Regulation - It's Just Around the Corner

The Geo-blocking regulation is almost finalised. This regulation is especially relevant for internationally active traders selling fast moving consumer goods online in different EU member states. They will have to carefully reassess their trading terms, logistics and distribution operations, as well as their digital sales organisation, in order to ensure compliance.

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Consumer Law

Advertising Wellness - How Far is too Far?

As the Wellness industry continues to boom, what words and health claims can be used by companies advertising products in the UK that are designed to enhance personal well-being?

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An End To Payment Surcharges? Implementation of PSD2 in the UK

Since the implementation of the Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations 2012 on 6 April 2013, businesses selling to consumers have been prohibited from charging fees for use of a particular payment method that exceed the cost borne by that business for the use of that method.
Upon implementation of PSD2 in the UK on 13 January 2018, new prohibitions will be effective for both B2C and B2B commercial contracts.

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Food Labelling In Italy - EU Regulation on the Provision of Food Information to Consumers

Food labelling is a hot topic for business operators, especially in the EU, which is one of the main markets worldwide for the food and beverage sector. The interest in this matter can be demonstrated by the harmonization of legislation at EU level by EU Regulation 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers.

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Planned Obsolescence and Consumers' Rights

Planned Obsolescence is a term which refers to a business practice that ensures that a version of a product becomes outdated or useless within a known period of time, calculated by the manufacturer company. This practice is in the spotlight because of several acknowledged manufacturers having admitted dubious practices related to Planned Obsolescence.

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UK Cyber Law Update

The Department for Digital Culture Media & Sport has issued the Government's response to the public consultation on the Security of Network and Information Systems. 

The Cybersecurity team at Bird & Bird will shortly be issuing updates focused on each of the relevant industry sectors. In the meantime, we have summarised the headlines.

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Making your Gender Pay Gap Report a Good News Story

The dispute at the BBC regarding women’s pay has put the new gender pay gap reporting obligations in the spotlight. With two months before the deadline for employers to publish their gender pay gaps, Associate Emily Clark asks what we can learn from the BBC and other organisations that have already reported and how to make this a good news story. 

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Will Retail & Consumer Businesses Need to overhaul their International Group Structures in Light of Change to the International Tax Landscape?

An issue facing retail and consumer companies is that international tax principles have been based upon a way of doing business that has its background in the early 20th century. Modern internet-based businesses have no need for a formal presence in a location in order to do business there. It has therefore been relatively easy for large retail and consumer businesses to trade remotely without establishing taxable presences in higher tax countries. Negative publicity in a number of high profile cases has led to the OECD and G20 countries undertaking the BEPS programme, which has sought to modernise international tax rules.

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