IAB Europe wins suspension of TCF action plan implementation

tcf-original-Image by Jan Alexander from Pixabay

IAB Europe confirmed today that the APD has voluntarily suspended the six-month implementation period of IAB Europe’s Transparency and Consent Framework, or TCF, action plan.

IAB Europe’s action plan was unexpectedly validated by the APD on 11 January 2023, with a six-month deadline for implementation (11 July 2023).

TCF examination

The validation occurred while outstanding points are being examined by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), further to IAB Europe’s appeal against the APD decision of February 2022 before the Belgian Market Court.

As a result, IAB Europe lodged a second appeal before the Belgian Market Court against the APD decision to validate the action plan and requested interim measures.

This formal challenge turned out to be indispensable to prevent the APD from preempting the CJEU’s response and avoid implementation of changes to the TCF that may need to be rolled back when the CJEU’s ruling is rendered.

IAB Europe said it was pleased to confirm that the APD has decided as a result of IAB Europe’s appeal to suspend voluntarily the implementation period of the action plan.

The Belgian Market Court’s ruling on this second appeal is expected at the end of Q2 or beginning of Q3 2023.

If it then upholds the APD’s validation decision of January 2023, despite the fact that this validation decision was taken while the appeal against the February 2022 is pending, the implementation period will resume at that time.

This would postpone the deadline for implementation to Q4 2023 instead of 11 July 2023.

“The APD’s validation of the action plan was a welcome confirmation of the legality of the TCF, but its timing had raised legitimate concerns,” said Townsend Feehan, IAB Europe CEO.

“Many organisations in the sector have shared their surprise that the APD imposed a deadline for implementation despite the referral of key questions to the European Court of Justice.”

“Given the impact of that referral on the foundations of the APD’s decision of last year, and by extension on the action plan, that deadline in practice could have robbed the referral of its utility,” Feehan added.

“The voluntary suspension by the APD of the implementation of the action plan will enable the release of sustainable improvements to the TCF pending the decision of the Belgian Market Court.”

As the deadline of 11 July 2023 ceases to apply, IAB Europe will move forward with various iterations to the TCF that are less directly impacted by the CJEU procedure, including some that could not be contemplated in the allocated time.

More information regarding such iterations and their timing will be provided at a later stage, so as to enable TCF participants to prepare for them.

An updated FAQ regarding the TCF can be found on IAB Europe’s website, here.

See also:

IAB Europe seeks court decision on TCF action plan validation