The EU Antitrust has imposed a fine of 12.55 million euros on the sportswear giant Nike. The accusation is that of having limited to the licensees the free sale of some Italian and international teams jerseys, such as Inter, Roma, Juventus, Barcelona, ​​Manchester United and those of the French Football Federation.

The investigation began in June 2017, analyzing some e-commerce irregularities, to the detriment of consumers and violating the rules of competition and the single market. Nike has been sanctioned for its activity as licensor for the production and distribution of what is called "trademarked merchandising", ie those items sold by clubs that include only the symbols of a team or a federation and not the trademarks of Nike. In these cases the Beaverton brand acts as licensor of Intellectual Property Rights and grants rights to third parties, authorizing them to produce and distribute such products.

Antitrust has fined Nike for 12.5 million euros For more than a decade there was a complex and strange mechanism for the football shirts market | Image 2
Antitrust has fined Nike for 12.5 million euros For more than a decade there was a complex and strange mechanism for the football shirts market | Image 3
Antitrust has fined Nike for 12.5 million euros For more than a decade there was a complex and strange mechanism for the football shirts market | Image 1
Antitrust has fined Nike for 12.5 million euros For more than a decade there was a complex and strange mechanism for the football shirts market | Image 0

The stores to which the concession had been assigned, were threatened with having to pay double license rights for each sale outside the territory of competence, as well as the warning not to release the products certification holograms anymore. However, this strategy did not only affect traders, but also the end consumer, as the Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager explains:

"Nike prevented many of its licensees from selling these branded products in a different country leading to less choice and higher prices for consumers."

The Antitrust Authority detected irregularities for a period of 13 years, from 1 July 2004 to 27 October 2017. Not only the jersey at the center of the investigation but also merchandising such as fans scarfs, cups, toy bags, and stationery. In the last two years, however, the American company has collaborated with the investigative commission, which is why the fine has been reduced by 40%.