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Braun Ellen
Dr Ellen Braun

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Hamburg

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Ahrens Boerries
Dr Börries Ahrens

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Hamburg

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31 March 2017

Today’s Adoption of 2017 Amendments to the German Act against Restraints of Competition

THE MOST IMPORTANT CHANGES AND THEIR PRACTICAL IMPACT

The EU antitrust damages directive (2014/104/EU) (the Damages Directive) should in fact have been transposed into national law by the end of 2016—however, the ninth amendment to the German Act against Restraints of Competition (GWB), correspondingly overdue, has only now been adopted. The new provisions, which are based on the Damages Directive, primarily facilitate the bringing of actions for damages by victims of anti-competitive conduct. However, legislators have also used this as an opportunity for a broad range of additional modifications. Areas of particular focus include closing the legal loophole in relation to liability for fines and strengthening enforcement powers in view of the challenges of digitalisation.
For the most part, the new provisions come into force with retroactive effect as of

27 December 2016. Yet the new substantive law on damages is only applicable to claims for damages arising after 26 December 2016 (with the exception of the provisions on limitation, which apply to all pre-existing claims that are not already time-barred); similarly, the new procedural rules, including the (substantive) claims for disclosure of evidence and exchange of information, are only applicable to actions filed after 26 December 2016. As a matter of fact, the new law will take effect on the day after its publication in the Federal Law Gazette, most likely at the beginning of April.
 
In the following alert we briefly summarise the most significant changes and comment on their practical impact.
 
 

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