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

EU Competition 

Katharina advises and represents clients in German and EU cartel and merger control cases. Her experience includes preparing leniency applications as well as assisting in cartel defence and settlement proceedings. She also advises clients on how to structure their agreements to ensure competition law compliance and organises customised EU and German competition law compliance programmes. 

​Trade & Customs 

In the field of trade law, Katharina specialises in EU customs law. Her expertise extends to advising clients on multi-jurisdictional customs matters and representing them before national customs administrations, courts and the European Commission.

Katharina is also part of the regulatory team and routinely deals with legal questions involving chemicals and energy. 

Prior to joining Van Bael & Bellis, Katharina qualified as a German lawyer. In the course of her two years of legal training, she worked, notably, at the Cologne office of a large German commercial law firm dealing with distribution 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


  • Chambers Global (Competition/European Law)
  • 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), the standard work of reference in the field of EU competition law.

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”
“European Forum for External Trade, Excise and Customs”

Bar Admissions


Publications and insights

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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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    • 29/06/2018
    • Articles

    German Federal Court of Justice rules on the statute of limitations for follow-up damages claims

    Private Enforcement | On 12 June 2018, the German Federal Court of Justice (“FCJ”) delivered a highly anticipated judgment that clarified that the suspension of the limitation period for cartel damages claims also applies to claims that arose prior to the entry into force of the new provision setting out the suspension.

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