Welcome to the Spring 2019 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.

At the end of the newsletter you can also find some of our recent news, which we think might be of interest to you and your team.

Please get in touch, or visit our webpage for more information about Bird & Bird's Retail & Consumer Group.

In this newsletter:

Competition & EU Law

How to hashtag in Hungary

The Hungarian Competition Authority recently closed the review of the first decision on social media marketing, namely on the use of appropriate tags in sponsored content.

Back in 2016 the Competition Authority started investigating social media marketing practices of certain dominant Hungarian influencers, including musician Kasza Tibi. During the investigation, the authority particularly assessed the posts and content published on the musician’s official Facebook page as of 1 August 2016 promoting certain telecommunications services, where the nature of such promotion was not made clear for the consumers. The case is known as the #kaszatibi decision.

Although in this case the Competition Authority was rather permissive and did not set out any fines for unfair commercial practices, it has set out principal guidelines that are to be followed.

Read more >

EC Expert Group calls for changes to antitrust enforcement in digital markets

In these final months of Margrethe Vestager's mandate as European Competition Commissioner, she is pursuing a serious reflection on whether or not traditional competition rules and principles are fit for purpose in this new, digitised era. The most comprehensive input to this discussion to date has been the publication of a Report on 4 April 2019, prepared by three special advisors appointed by Commissioner Vestager to explore how competition policy should evolve to continue promoting pro-consumer innovation in the digital age.

Read more>

Consumer Law

New legislation on the limitation period for consumer credit claims in Slovakia

In February 2018 the Constitutional Court of Slovak Republic ("CCSP") ruled that s.5b of the Consumer Protection Act is unconstitutional. Under s.5b the court is obliged to unilaterally take into account any weakening of a seller's claim against a consumer including, for example the limitation period, regardless of whether such weakness is raised by the consumer. The Slovak legislator has responded to the CCSP's ruling by introducing an amendment to the Slovak Civil Code in the form of a new Article 54a. Article 54a was adopted on November 27, 2018. Under Article 54a, any right which arises from a consumer contract cannot be enforced or secured if the limitation period of such right has lapsed.



The cookie crumbles: cyber insurance dust-up over denial of cover

The current spat between Mondelez International and Zurich American is a battle that has been waiting to kick off for a long time.

In short, Mondelez International, the company behind Oreo, Ritz Crackers and Toblerone, suffered losses as a result of the NotPetya attacks of 2017. Public statements by Mondelez International put the cost of that damage at over $100m. They were insured by Zurich American.

Will this looming landmark case change the face of cyber insurance for good?

Read more >


Singapore's new Registry of Geographical Indications

As of 1 April 2019, Singapore has established a Registry of Geographical Indications ("GIs"). GI holders will be able to register their GIs and benefit from increased protection.

So what's new?



New EU regulation sets strict limitations on added trans fats content in foods

As of 1 April 2021, per a regulation that the European Commission adopted on 24 April 2019 and that is yet to be published in the Official Journal, no food intended for the final consumer or for supply to retail will be allowed to be placed on the market where its content of trans fat, other than trans fat naturally occurring in fat of animal origin exceeds 2 grams per 100 grams of fat.

Read more >

EU organic logo may not be placed on meat from animals that have been slaughtered in accordance with religious rites if not first stunned

The Court of Justice of the EU, in case C-497/17, Oeuvre d’assistance aux bêtes d’abattoirs (OABA) v Ministre de l'Agriculture et de l'Alimentation and Others, confirmed that the EU organic production logo may not be placed on meat products from animals that were slaughtered in accordance with religious rites without first being stunned.

The issue was whether animals slaughtered without pre-stunning in accordance with Muslim religious law and that were certified "halal" could still be described as originating from "European organic farming".

Read more >

German Packaging Act 2019: higher hurdles for commercialisation, lower environmental impact of waste?

On 1 January 2019, the new German Packaging Act ("VerpackG") came into force. The act replaces the German Packaging Regulation ("VerpackV") and aims to further reduce adverse impacts of packaging waste on the environment.

Implementing the EU Packaging Directive 94/62/EC, the German Packaging Act aims to facilitate reduction and recycling of packaging waste by improving the dual system for waste disposal and recycling.

Read more >

Events and Activities

Brexit FAQ for Food & Beverage Businesses
8 May, webinar

Welltodo Founder Series
14 May, London

Future Trends in Food and Service
16 May, London

English Contract Law for European consumer-facing businesses - illustrating concepts and explaining jargon.

This series of seminars, held in English, provide international consumer-facing businesses operating in Europe with essential know-how and tools for English contract law. The seminars are running across a number of our European offices, including a newly added date in London. Please get in touch if you would like to attend.

Amsterdam: 28 March
Paris: 17 April
Milan: 8 May
Rome: 9 May
Madrid: 28 May
Copenhagen: 13 June
London: 11 July
Dusseldorf: 10 September
Helsinki: 17 September
Stockholm: 5 November

Our News

Bird & Bird experts Roelien Van Neck, Thomas Oster and Ariane Le Strat have spoken about online sales and geo-blocking in a webinar hosted by Lexology. They considered the practical implications of the Geo-blocking Regulation for traders selling online within the EU. You can watch the webinar here, and find out more about our expertise in this area on our Geo-blocking In Focus webpage.

Bird & Bird launches twoVenture, an online platform for the UK high growth community. twoVenture will provide relevant legal resources and documentation, as well as targeted legal and sector-focussed insights and access to Bird & Bird's lawyers.