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Luxury brands such as designer handbags and high-end cosmetics often depend on exclusivity to maintain their image. Some manufacturers fear that making these products available on the Internet will dilute the brand they've worked so hard to cultivate.
In European antitrust law, a key distinction is made between a restriction by object and a restriction by effect. Restriction by object, which would apply to price fixing and cartel behavior, is comparable to a per se violation of antitrust laws, meaning the behavior is determined to be unlawful without any required analysis of its effect on the market.
The American Way
While U.S. antitrust law and European competition law are similar in most ways, the subject of online sales marks a distinct difference in approach.