Mediation of flights on the internet

The operator of an internet portal on which clients are able to book mediated flights does not violate the prohibition of unfair hindrance according to  § 4 Nr. 10 UWG if the data concerning the air connection on which the mediation bases are freely accessible and are ascertained from the homepage of the airline by means of an automatic request (so called „screen scraping“) and if the operator of the internet portal agrees to the terms of use of the airline which prohibit the automatic request of flight data during the booking

The plaintiff is an airline which offers cheap scheduled flights. It does not distribute its flights through travel agencies, travel operators or other mediators but exclusively over their homepage or call center. Since the year 2007, the defendant runs on its internet site “www.     .de” a portal on which clients can book flights of different airlines online. There the client chooses in a search mask for a flight route and a flight date. After that a list of corresponding flights of different airlines appears; including flights of the plaintiff.

The plaintiff sees in the actions of the defendant a misuse of its booking system and an prohibited creeping in its direct distribution system.

Unfair is a hindrance, if it is directly for the purpose of hindering the development of competitors and to block them through these actions or also when the hindrance leads to the effect that competitors are not able anymore to advertise their products on the market in an adequate manner through their own effort. The requirements of an unfair hindrance are not on hand in this case.

  • judgment of the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) of 30. April 2014 , case  I ZR 224/12