Online sales ban ruling – leave to appeal refused by the Supreme Court
The golf club manufacturer Ping Europe Limited (Ping) had sought to ban all sales of its equipment online. The Competition and Market Authority (CMA) decided that Ping's actions constituted a restriction of competition by object under the Chapter I prohibition of the Competition Act 1998 and Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
Ping appealed this decision to the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT), which upheld the CMA’s decision.
Ping appealed the CAT’s decision to the Court of Appeal, but that was dismissed.
Ping applied for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court, which refused it “because the application does not raise a point of law of general public importance which ought to be considered at this time bearing in mind that the case has already been the subject of judicial decision and reviewed on appeal”.
This landmark case, in which Ping was fined £1.25m, sends an important signal that attempts by manufacturers to impose absolute bans on selling their products online are not permitted by law.