The Online Intermediation Services Regulation (2019/1150/EU) comes into force in all EU Member States, including the UK, on 12 July 2020. The Regulation aims to promote fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services. The main aim of the Regulation is to establish a legal framework that guarantees transparent terms and conditions for business users of online platforms, as well as effective opportunities for redress when these terms and conditions are not respected.
Online platforms covered by the Regulation include online market places, online software application stores and/or online social media, as well as online search engines, irrespective of their place of establishment, provided they serve business users that are established within the EU and offer goods or services to consumers also located within the EU.
On 18 June 2020, in order to comply with Article 15 of the Regulation, the UK Government made the Online Intermediation Services for Business Users (Enforcement) Regulations 2020, which also come into force on 12 July 2020. Article 15 requires the UK to ensure adequate and effective enforcement and to lay down the rules setting out the measures applicable to infringements of the provisions of the EU Regulation.
The UK Regulations provide that a failure of a provider of online intermediation services to comply with Article 3 (terms and conditions), Article 4 (restriction, suspension and termination) or Article 8 (specific contractual terms) of the EU Regulation is a breach of an obligation owed to a business user so that, where loss or damage is caused to the business user, the business user may bring a civil action against the provider of online intermediation services in respect of that loss or damage.
They also provide that organisations and associations that have a legitimate interest in representing business users or in representing corporate website users, as well as public bodies (as set out in Article 14(1) of the EU Regulation) may bring proceedings for an appropriate remedy to secure compliance by providers of online intermediation services or providers of online search engines with relevant requirements of the Regulation.
Finally, the UK Regulations set out the powers of the court in relation to an application for an appropriate remedy. To access the new Regulations, click here.