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Hotels can defend themselves against the abuse of Booking.com's dominant position in their home jurisdiction

10/12/2020

Good news for hotels: the Court of Justice of the European Union ("ECJ") in its recent judgment held that hotel operators using the services of Booking.com may defend themselves against Booking.com’s unfair business practices before courts in their home jurisdiction.


What was the said case about? A German hotel sued Booking.com for abuse of dominant position in front of German courts.


In the agreement between Booking.com and the hotels, it was agreed that courts in Amsterdam shall have jurisdiction over all disputes arising from the agreement. The ECJ concluded that any action based on a legal obligation to refrain from abusing a dominant position falls within the scope of tort liability, even though such conduct may have taken place under a contractual relationship. The ECJ thus confirmed the territorial jurisdiction of courts of the Member States within which the hotels using the Booking.com platform have their registered offices.

This case is a landmark judgment for the entire hotel industry, as it allows hotels, that have been affected by the abuse of a dominant position, to gain better access to justice. In addition, the ECJ's reasoning in the judgment can also apply to actions for damages that arise out of the abuse of a dominant position.