Katharina Bongs focuses on EU and German competition law and EU trade law.

EU Competition Law

Katharina represents clients in German and EU cartel and merger control cases. She acts before the European Commission, the EU Court of Justice and in national competition proceedings. She has experience advising in cartel defence cases, including leniency and settlement proceedings. Furthermore, she assists clients on how to structure their agreements to ensure competition law compliance and organises customised EU and German competition law compliance programmes. She deals with cases in a range of sectors, including intellectual property, industrial products, waste management and recycling.

​Trade & Customs Law 

In the field of trade law, Katharina specialises in EU customs law. Her expertise extends to advising clients on multi-jurisdictional customs matters, including classification, origin and valuation issues. She has experience in the field of duty suspensions, quotas, customs compliance and OLAF proceedings. She represents clients before national customs administrations, German courts and the European Commission.
Katharina is also part of the regulatory team and routinely deals with legal questions involving chemicals.
Katharina is qualified as a German lawyer. Prior to joining Van Bael & Bellis, in the course of her legal training, she worked, notably, at the Cologne office of a large German commercial law firm dealing with distribution law mainly in the automotive sector and EU law, with the German Federal Ministry of Economics dealing with anti-dumping measures and with the German Embassy in Oslo.


German, English, French, Spanish


  • Who's Who Legal - Competition (Future Leaders)


  • College of Europe, Bruges, Master of European Legal Studies, 2007
  • Higher Regional Court of Cologne, Second State Examination in Law, 2006
  • University of Bonn, First State Examination in Law, 2002
  • University of Salamanca, Spain, Erasmus Programme, 1998/1999
  • University of Trier, Diploma in International Law Studies in Anglo-American and French Law, 1999


Contributor to Van Bael & Bellis, Competition Law of the European Community (fifth edition, Kluwer, 2010 and upcoming sixth edition).

Regular contributor to the monthly competition law newsletter, VBB on Competition Law.

Teaching Posts

Katharina Bongs was a Graduate Assistant to Prof. Dr. Wagner at the Institute of Civil Procedural Law of the University of Bonn where she was involved in an international research project and the annotation of the “Münchener Kommentar” on tort law.

Professional Membership

  • Studienvereinigung Kartellrecht e.V.
  • EFA – Europäisches Forum für Aussenwirtschaft, Verbrauchssteuern und Zoll e.V. (European Forum for External Trade, Excise and Customs)
  • Aussenwirtschaftsrunde  e.V.

Bar Admissions


Publications and insights

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    • 25/02/2019
    • News

    Katharina Bongs is recognized as one of the top women competition law practitioners in their 40s in Europe by [email protected]

    Van Bael & Bellis counsel Katharina Bongs has been selected by a jury at [email protected] as being one of the top 40 women competition lawyers in their 40s who are in private practice in Europe. More than 800 women competition professionals in their 40s were nominated by clients and peers for [email protected]’s “40 in their 40s - Notable Women Competition Professionals in Europe, the Americas and Africa”. The jury for Europe consisted of Prof. Richard Whish (Emeritus Professor of Law at King’s College London), Karin Lunning (Deputy Director General of the Swedish Competition Authority), Nicola Northway (Partner at Baker McKenzie), Prof. Carl Baudenbacher (Former Judge and President of the EFTA Court), Annette Schild (Competition Lawyer), Prof. Philippa Watson (Barrister and Professor of Law at City Law School of University of London), Kaarli H. Eichhorn (Partner at Jones Day), Anne Riley (Head of Shell’s global antitrust team) and Dirk Arts (Partner at Allen & Overy). Further information is available here.

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    • 21/12/2018
    • Articles

    German Federal Cartel Office publishes paper on competition restraints in online sales

    In October 2018, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) published its fourth paper in the series “Competition and Consumer Protection in the Digital Economy”. The paper assesses the legal status of online sales restrictions subsequent to the judgment of the ECJ in Coty (see VBB on Competition Law, Volume 2017, No. 12) and the judgment of the German Federal Court of Justice in Asics (see VBB on Competition Law, Volume 2018, No. 1). Overall, the FCO appears to favour a considerably narrower reading of the Coty judgment than the European Commission (as reflected in the Commission’s Competition policy brief of April 2018), and leaves open the possibility that market place bans might be considered as hardcore restrictions under the Vertical Agreements Block Exemption Regulation (“VABER”) taking into account specific market circumstances in Germany. The paper also expresses concerns over the development of “hybrid platforms”, and the risk that this might lead to the exclusion of independent dealers, a concentration of the market and a restriction of consumer choice.

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    • 16/07/2018
    • Articles

    Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt finds Coty’s prohibition on sales via amazon.de to be justified for luxury products

    Vertical Agreements | According to a press release of 12 July 2018, the Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt has handed down its judgment in a dispute between Coty Germany GmbH (“Coty”), a supplier of luxury cosmetics, and Parfümerie Akzente, a member of its selective distribution system. The Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt found that Coty did not violate competition law by prohibiting Parfümerie Akzente from advertising and distributing its products via the third-party platform amazon.de.

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