Germany’s Federal Cartel Office fines supplier of portable navigation devices for online RPM

By Gabriele Accardo

On 12 May 2015, Germany’s Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) imposed a fine of 300,000 euros on United Navigation GmbH, Ostfildern, for enforcing resale price maintenance on retailers selling its portable navigation devices between 2009 and 2014. The investigation was launched upon an exchange of information with the Austrian Competition Authority.

During the relevant period, United Navigation monitored the prices of online retailers specifically, and requested they raise prices up to the indicated level, so-called “street price”, as soon as prices dropped below the price level considered acceptable by United Navigation.

The FCO found that most of the retailers raised their prices after being contacted by United Navigation.

In other instances, United Navigation threatened to stop supplying the retailers or to bring legal claims for unauthorized use of copyright material. Otherwise, in order to induce retailers to raise prices, United Navigation granted retailers certain advantages or benefits, such as bonuses