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Violation of GDPR cannot give rise to formal warning under competition law

June 2019 - Antitrust & Competition. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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A violation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) cannot give rise to a formal warning as provided for under competition law for violations of Germany’s Unfair Competition Act (UWG). That was the verdict of the LG (Regional Court of) Stuttgart.

It has been just over a year since the GDPR came into force, yet whether violations of the Regulation can give rise to formal warnings for competition violations or not remains a contentious legal issue. We at GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte can report, however, that the LG Stuttgart recently took the view, in line with the LG Bochum and LG Wiesbaden, that this is not possible.

In the case in question, a distributor selling automotive parts online was issued a formal warning by an interest group for violating the GDPR. The LG Stuttgart dismissed the action for an injunction in a judgment from May 20, 2019 (Az.: 35 O 68/18 KfH), ruling that the GDPR already sets out an exhaustive list of penalties for violations. As such, the plaintiff was not entitled to assert any claims based on UWG infringements, as this would contradict the provision in the GDPR and thus not be compatible with the primacy of EU law.

Nevertheless, the matter has yet to be clarified by Germany’s Federal Supreme Court. Lawyers experienced in competition law can offer advice.

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