Green Dot masquerading as blue.
Der Grüne Punkt
IPKAT reports a decision by the Court of First Instance of the European Communities. It held that the Green Dot – Duales System Deutschland – acted abusively when it collected a blanket fee for all packaging marked with a green dot, when some of that packaging was either not collected for recycling, or collected for recycling by other organizations.
The case is T 151/01.
According to the Commission’s Article 82 decision, DSD abused its dominant position within the meaning of Article 82 of the EC Treaty when it claimed the full fee for use of its Green Dot trademark in situations where it provides no service because the collection and recycling is carried out by competitors. The underlying principle followed by the Commission is “no service, no fee”.
In the Commissions view, the licence fee requirement means that customers have no realistic economic possibility of contracting with competitors of DSD. Whilst paying for the service provided by DSD’s competitors, these customers would have to either pay an additional fee to DSD, or they would have to organise separate packaging, distribution and merchandising lines (packaging with and without the Green Dot).
IPKAT wonders why the case has not been more widely reported. It is a holiday weekend, of course – Whitsun here, Late Spring bank holiday in the UK, and something in the USA too, but the decision was on Thursday.