Publishers of technical information in the automotive sector depend on input from vehicle manufacturers to create their products (e. g. spare parts catalogues, repair manuals). ADPA, the European Independent Automotive Data Publishers Association, together with the German GVA (Gesamtverband Autoteile-Handel e.V.), is suing Peugeot / PSA before the Regional Court of Cologne to force the vehicle manufacturer to provide access to its technical information for reasonable, proportionate and non-discriminatory fees, as required by European type approval law.

The Cologne court has now suspended the proceedings and referred key questions of the case to the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The referral concerns the question of how to determine reasonable and proportionate fees for access to technical information, as well as the applicability of the current European type approval regulation to vehicles on the market. The ECJ is processing the case under docket number C-390/21. Key stakeholders, such as the EU Member States, the European Commission and the parties of the lawsuit, have been invited to file submissions by mid-November.

The Osborne Clarke Germany team representing ADPA and GVA is led by Marcus Sacré and consists of Christoph Pitzer, Elisabeth Macher and Paul Schmitz.

“This is a lighthouse case for the entire European automotive industry and beyond. The ECJ’s interpretation of the rules on “reasonable and proportionate” pricing will have far-reaching effects not only on competition in the European automotive aftermarket, and ultimately on pricing and choices for the end consumer, but also on the interpretation of similar definitions in all European legislation. The question what “reasonable and proportionate” fees are and how they are determined is relevant throughout all industry sectors. How fees should be calculated especially with regard to information and data is a question that will be extremely relevant in an ever more data-driven world”, says Marcus Sacré, Partner at Osborne Clarke Germany.

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