Amazon has filed a lawsuit against EU antitrust regulators for allowing the Italian competition watchdog to pursue its own case against the company, arguing that it should be undertaken as part of a wider EU investigation.
The case was filed in the Luxembourg-based General Court – the second-highest court in Europe – and seeks to annul the EU’s decision to allow the Italian Competition Authority to undertake its own investigation, according to a court filing.
“When the European Commission decides to investigate a matter, European law says that national competition authorities cannot investigate the same topic,” Amazon said in a statement. “This did not occur in this instance, as the Commission’s opening decision attempts to exclude Italy.”
The move follows the launch of a probe in November by the European Commission into how Amazon determines the winners of its “buy box”, which allows customers to add items from a specific retailer directly into their shopping carts. The probe will also investigate whether the eCommerce giant prioritised its own retail offers and marketplace sellers that use its logistics and delivery services.
The Italian Competition Authority’s case was launched in 2019 and was concerned with the same issue, but with a focus on the Italian logistics market.
The European Commission has said that it will defend its case in court.
When filing antitrust charges in November, the EU accused Amazon of gathering data from independent sellers utilising its platform to benefit its own retail arm, which would compete with those same sellers. It also raised concerns of the company’s “possible preferential treatment” of sellers that made use of its logistics and delivery services.
Amazon has disagreed with the European Commission’s allegations of anti-competitive practice, arguing that it represents “less than 1% of the global retail market” and has to compete with larger retailers in every country where it operates.