Gabriela da Costa is a special counsel in the London office of K&L Gates' antitrust, competition, and trade regulation practice group and a key member of the firm's cutting-edge e-commerce and vertical distribution practice.
Gabi's niche e-commerce and selective distribution work is recognized in the Legal 500 2020 rankings, where she is named as a “Rising Star” in EU and Competition Law and described as a “unique” lawyer. She has been described as “incredibly efficient and very personable” in Legal 500 and is ranked as a Future Leader in Competition by Who’s Who Legal and a Rising Star in Competition and Antitrust by the Euromoney Expert Guides.
Gabi has led the design, implementation, execution, and enforcement of numerous high-profile go-to-market strategies for major consumer and B2B brands, both in Europe and globally.
She advises product manufacturers, including in fashion, electronics, personal care, sports goods, home goods and appliances, nutrition, and branded commodities (among others), on complex and in-flux competition law questions relating to the sale of their products in Europe, including:
- Resale pricing issues
- Partner authorization criteria and mechanics
- Online resale restrictions
- Online marketplace policies
- Cross-border resale restrictions
- AdWords restrictions
- Price monitoring software
- Discounting and rebate terms
- Direct-to-consumer sales (and brands’ interactions and protocols with their customer-competitors)
- E-concession structuring
- The establishment of own-brand marketplaces for resellers
- Market communications
- Partner portal designs
- Dominance / market power issues
- Competition law interactions with intellectual property laws; and
- Reseller strategy interactions with data privacy laws
Gabi has successfully enforced our firm’s strategies against unauthorized resellers in various territories, including obtaining an EU-wide court injunction against a major online reseller causing significant damage to our client’s brand, network partners and consumers.
She has also defended several major brand owners in challenges by the European competition authorities as well as third parties against their distribution practices, leading to the closure of several investigations without fines.
Gabi co-led our firm’s team in the most significant online sales restriction case in recent years in the UK, which went up to the UK Court of Appeal. She has also advocated clients’ interests before the European Commission, for example in the context of the e-commerce sector inquiry and the ongoing consultation into the EU competition rules on vertical agreements.
In addition to vertical restraints and dominance matters, Gabi advises clients on:
- Horizontal competitor interactions and agreements, including designing compliant structures and ‘rules of the road’ and monitoring industry association meetings; and
- Merger control, including handling multi-jurisdictional analyses and filings in M&A transactions.
Gabi qualified in early 2012. Prior to joining the firm, she trained and worked in the London office of a Magic Circle law firm and for the Civil Justice Division of the UK Ministry of Justice.
- Awarded Vice-Chancellor and Principal’s Medal for Excellent Undergraduate Academic Achievement (highest University of Pretoria academic award for student in any faculty)
- Awarded Butterworth’s Prize for final year student with best dissertation
- Awarded Law Society of the Northern Provinces of South Africa Prize for best student in Legal Practice
- Member of the Law Society of England and Wales
- Regularly speaks on optimizing go-to-market and marketplace strategy design, including at industry and e-commerce events and seminars.
- Delivers competition law compliance training to client sales teams, distributor partners, and trade association committees.
- “Now screening: Europe,” Ragtrader, April 2018
- “Agency Under EU Competition Law,” A Lexis®PSL document produced in partnership with K&L Gates, June 2015
- Regularly writes on online marketplace and e-commerce developments under EU vertical distribution laws, including for publications such as Lexology, the Journal of European Competition Law & Practice, and specialist industry papers.
- Author and reviewer of numerous competition law publications for LexisNexis PSL Service, including guidance and drafting notes on:
- vertical commercial agreements between non-competitors, including supply and distribution agreements;
- vertical commercial agreements between competitors;
- horizontal commercial agreements between competitors, including joint production, commercialization, purchasing, and research and development agreements;
- competition law issues in intellectual property agreements;
- technology transfer agreements; and
- competition law issues in corporate agreements.
- Has published articles and case notes in Croner’s Europe and Thomas Reuters.
- Research assistant and editor of Cloete (ed.) 2005 Introduction to Sports Law in South Africa (Durban: Lexis Nexis Butterworths).