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The General Court has dismissed Orange’s appeal against the European Commission’s decisions to conduct inspections at the premises of Orange and its subsidiaries, as part of its investigation into suspected breaches of Article 102 TFEU in the internet connectivity sector. The General Court did not consider the Commission's inspection decisions to be disproportionate, unnecessary or arbitrary and confirmed that despite the French competition authority not having found evidence of infringement on its inspection, the Commission was not bound by decisions of national courts or authorities pursuant to Articles 101 and 102 TFEU. The Commission is therefore entitled to take decisions, even where they conflict with a national decision.
The ECJ has delivered its judgment on Guardian’s appeal against the General Court's judgment that dismissed their appeal against the European Commission's decision fining them for participation in the flat glass cartel. The ECJ considered that although the long duration of the General Court proceedings could not be justified, a claim for compensation must be brought before the General Court rather than the ECJ. However, the ECJ did uphold Guardian's appeal alleging unequal treatment, ruling that in assessing the turnover that derives from the sale of products that are the subject of the infringement, no distinction can be drawn between internal sales and sales to third parties. The General Court's judgment on this point was set aside and the fine imposed on Guardian was reduced to €103.6 million.
Following a complaint from Virgin Media that the arrangements for "collective" selling of live UK television rights by the Football Association Premier League Limited (FAPL) breaches competition law, Ofcom has opened an investigation into whether the FAPL’s joint selling arrangements for live UK audio-visual media rights to Premier League (PL) matches have as their object or effect the restriction or distortion of competition in the UK and/or the EU, contrary to the Chapter I prohibition of the Competition Act 1998 and/or Article 101(1) TFEU. Virgin Media alleges that the number of PL matches for which live broadcasting rights are made available is lower than other European leagues, thereby raising prices for consumers of pay TV packages that include premium sport channels and for the pay TV retailers of premium sports channels.
For more information please contact Paul Stone, Partner
T: +44 (0)20 7203 5110