Competition investigation no threat to “Green Dot” system

European Commission will in next few weeks rule on licencing practices of Germany’s “Green Dot” company DSD

According to the EU’s competition authority, Dual System charges licensing fees for the “Green Dot” trademark, “even if no services are provided”. This would be a breach of EU competition law. However, a spokesperson for the Competition DG confirmed that the “Green Dot” system itself is not under fire. A DSD spokesperson told EURACTIV that the costs of a negative decision by the Commission would possibly be more than 100 million DM.

 

Background

The European Commission will in the next few weeks rule on the licencing practices of Germany's "Green Dot" company DSD. According to an article in Handelsblatt, Competition Commissioner Monti is accusing Duales System Deutschland of abusing its dominant market power.

 

Duales System Deutschland GmbH (DSD) is a German joint enterprise founded in 1990 by several industry sectors, which operates a unified, nation-wide system of collecting packaging waste. The company is responsible for running the "Grüne Punkt" (Green Dot) recycling trademark in Germany. Under the German Packaging Ordinance of 1991, DSD is the only undertaking which operates a comprehensible system for the collection and recycling of sales packaging.

In 1992, DSD notified the Commission about a number of agreements with a view to obtaining an exemption decision. The Commission published the DSD notification in March 1997. Since then, 13 companies from the cosmetics and electronic industries (among them L'Oréal, Wella, Schwarzkopf and Philips) officially complained about the DSD licensing practices. These companies want to process some of their waste through another recycling company.

 

Timeline

The Commission is expected to take a decision on this competition issue before the end of April 2001. DSD confirmed to EURACTIV that in case of a negative verdict, the company would take the issue before the European Court of Justice.

 

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