By Andrew Morrison King & Wood Mallesons

As we wrote in April, the European Commission (the Commission) has been conducting an in-depth review of the European e-commerce sector with a particular focus on the impact of geo-blocking practices. The Commission initiative aims to ensure non-discrimination against customers in the single market on the basis of their geographical location. In particular, the Commission is seeking to remove the ability for companies to discriminate against customers where there is no objective reason for a different treatment between foreign and domestic customers.

The EU Services Directive allows providers of goods and services to implement geo-blocking where it is objectively justifiable (Article 20(2)). However, the Services Directive raises a number of issues and has been criticised as giving rise to significant legal uncertainty for businesses and enforcers. The Commission has therefore sought to remedy this in its draft geo-blocking regulation (the Proposed Regulation).

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