In the test case A.T.U / Carglass against Stellantis Europe S.p.A (formerly FCA Italy S.p.A), the Landgericht Köln (Regional Court, Cologne) now follows the plaintiffs represented by Osborne Clarke and prohibits Stellantis from making access to the vehicle data stream dependent on arbitrary conditions. 

The Regional Court had previously referred the decisive legal questions to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). Although the CJEU had very clearly declared Stellantis' practice unlawful, Stellantis attempted to convince the Regional Court that the CJEU had failed to take key aspects of the legal situation into account. This applied in particular to the relationship between the European rules on access rights on the one hand and cybersecurity requirements for vehicle manufacturers on the other. The Regional Court firmly opposed this and fully upheld the claim. 

“This confirms once again that the independent operators’ rights to access data must be fulfilled as provided for in European law to protect competition and consumer interests. They must not be restricted by arbitrary requirements imposed by manufacturers,” says Marcus Sacré, lawyer and Partner at Osborne Clarke, commenting on the decision.

“The courts do not accept the argument that the restrictions are absolutely necessary to ensure cybersecurity,” say Elisabeth Macher and Paul Schmitz, Osborne Clarke. “Nevertheless, vehicle manufacturers are legally obliged to ensure the cybersecurity of their vehicles. Manufacturers now face the challenge of fulfilling this obligation.”

The judgement is the first decision in main proceedings on these legal issues and will have an impact on six pending cases against other vehicle manufacturers before various courts. 

The Osborne Clarke team that represented A.T.U and Carglass before the Regional Court of Cologne consisted of Marcus Sacré, Elisabeth Macher and Paul Schmitz.

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