Nike has been fined by the European Commission for restricting the cross-border sale of goods carrying the logos of some of Europe’s top football clubs. The US$14.5 million (€12.5m) fine concerns merchandise such as mugs, bed sheets, and stationery, which carries the brand of the club, but not Nike’s trademark.
The European Commission stated said Nike’s illegal practices occurred between 2004 to 2017 and related to licensed merchandise for FC Barcelona, Manchester United, Juventus, Inter Milan, AS Roma, and the French Football Federation.
The European Union case focused on Nike’s role as a licensor for making and distributing licensed merchandise featuring a soccer club’s brands and not its own trademarks.
The sanction came after a two-year investigation triggered by a sector inquiry into e-commerce in the 28-country bloc. The EU wants to boost online trade and economic growth.
European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Nike’s actions deprived soccer fans in other countries of the opportunity to buy their clubs’ merchandise such as mugs, bags, bed sheets, stationery, and toys.
“Nike prevented many of its licensees from selling these branded products in a different country leading to less choice and higher prices for consumers,” she said in a statement.
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