Vogel News


A weekly update of important cases in French and European competition law, distribution law, consumer law and European business law.

All decisions cited are available for consultation in our Decisions database (full text)

French Competition Law

Disparagement: Criticism

The alleged acts of disparagement based on information which was eventually found to be objective and of which the untruthful nature was rejected by the Court of Appeal, cannot be characterized in the absence of any actual disparagement.
Court of Cassation, commercial chamber, 7 May 2019, LawLex20190000613JBJ

Sudden termination of established commercial relationship: Group of companies

The termination of an established commercial relationship between a French supplier and its Thai client cannot be imputed to the French parent company of the latter which is a separate legal entity.
Court of Cassation, commercial chamber, 7 May 2019, LawLex20190000630JBJ

Sudden termination of established commercial relationship: Established nature of relationship

Notwithstanding the existence of a framework agreement which had been renewed once, a relationship of thirteen months is not “established” within the meaning of Article L. 442-6, I, 5° (now L. 442-1, II) of the Commercial Code.
CA Paris, 24 April 2019, LawLex20190000592JBJ

Actions available for abuse of dependence: Applicable law

French law, and in particular Article L. 442-6, I, 5° (now L. 442-1, II) of the Commercial Code, applies to the sudden termination of an established commercial relationship between two partners when it is based on supply contracts governed by French law and the victim is domiciled in France, which is where his activity is located and the harmful event occurred.
Court of Cassation, commercial chamber, 7 May 2019, LawLex20190000608JBJ

Investigations : Professional secrecy

The fact that an email was sent by, or addressed to a lawyer, including as a certified copy, is not sufficient to automatically prohibit the seizure thereof if it does not concern the undertakings under suspicion referred to in the warrant authorizing the search.
CA Paris, 10 April 2019, LawLex20190000550JBJ

Investigations: Professional secrecy

The undertaking on whose premises lawyers’ letters were seized cannot contest the seizure when the companies referred to in the documents in question, to which the minutes of the operation were provided, have not themselves submitted any challenge.
CA Paris, 10 April 2019, LawLex20190000550JBJ

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French Distribution Law

Exclusive distribution: Duty to assist

The supplier’s obligation to assist must not adversely affect the distributor’s legal independence, require it to redefine a new financial plan or suggest a reorientation in the event of difficulties.
CA Paris, 3 April 2019, LawLex20190000488JBJ

Exclusive distribution: Ownership of customer-base

The refusal to give the distributor the client list at the end of the contract does not amount to a capture of its clientele, since customers who have subscribed to the loyalty program of the supplier are attached to the brand.
CA Paris, 3 April 2019, LawLex20190000488JBJ

Exclusive distribution: Extraordinary termination

A distributor who fails to pay an invoice of EUR 50,000, even after receiving a formal demand letter, incurs the termination of the contract.
CA Aix-en-Provence, 2 May 2019, LawLex20190000594JBJ

Motor vehicle distribution: Sudden termination of established commercial relationship

The court cannot find that the contractual breaches of performance by a supplier during the notice period did not cause any damage to its agent on the basis of the healthy profits achieved by the latter through his activity with other suppliers.
Court of Cassation, commercial chamber, 7 May 2019, LawLex20190000610JBJ

Franchise: Availability of distinctive signs

The fact that the registration of the French trade mark was not renewed on the date the contract was signed cannot entail the nullity of the latter when at that time, the sign was covered by an international registration offering a higher level of protection.
CA Paris, 10 April 2019, LawLex20190000545JBJ

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French Consumer Law

Unfair commercial practices: Material distortion of economic behavior of consumer

The court may not hold that a commercial practice is unfair without explaining, on the basis of precise factors, how the insufficiency of the information communicated by the professional is likely to materially alter the economic behavior of the consumer.
Court of Cassation, commercial chamber, 7 May 2019, LawLex20190000623JBJ

Duty to inform and advise: Evidence

The pre-contractual information obligation referred to in Article L. 111-1 of the Consumer Code requires the professional seller to ascertain the needs of the buyer and to inform the latter of the suitability of the equipment proposed for sale to his/her purpose, so that in the absence of an extremely accurate plan made beforehand by the seller or having the same qualities, a control of the measurements appears to be the means of verifying whether the purchased goods meet the customer’s requirements and whether the professional has fulfilled its obligation to inform.
CA Montpellier, 7 May 2019, LawLex20190000618JBJ

Unfair terms: Status as non-professional

A certified accountant who enters into a lease and maintenance agreement for copying equipment is presumed to use it for the purposes of his professional activity and therefore cannot claim unfair terms in the contract.
CA Chambéry, 7 May 2019, LawLex20190000606JBJ

Unfair terms: Powers of court

The court cannot declare a contract void (unwritten) without verifying whether it is able to subsist by the removal of the unfair term.
Court of Cassation, 1st civil chamber, 9 May 2019, LawLex20190000632JBJ

Liability for defective products: Rules governing compensation

A letter in which the insurer of an electricity supplier proposes compensation and only disputes the amount of the damage caused by the electric surge in question constitutes a partial acknowledgement of the creditor’s right to recover which produces an interruptive effect of the limitation period for the entire claim for liability for defective products.
CA Colmar, 3 May 2019, LawLex20190000609JBJ

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Europe

Jurisdiction: Concept of matters relating to a contract

A dispute concerning a payment obligation arising from a decision taken by a general meeting of the owners of property in a building, which does not have legal personality and has been specifically established by law in order to exercise certain rights – where that decision has been taken by a majority of members, but binds all members – must be regarded as falling within the concept of matters relating to a contract.
CJEU, Case C-25/18 Brian Andrew Kerr, Judgment of 8 May 2019, LawLex20190000642JBJ

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Vogel Global Competition Newsletter

Our quarterly newsletter discusses recent case law of the countries of the Vogel Global Competition Network.

No 1 – April 2019

Argentina – Argentina brings in new law and guidelines for competition enforcement by Francisco Rondoletti

Czech Republic – Problems persist with the Act on Significant Market Power by Jindrich Kadoun

Greece – Decision on the public works cartel case – entities that did not submit to the settlement procedure by Tania Patsalia

Poland – The Polish Competition Authority gains new powers to impose fines on managers by Krzysztof Kanton

United Kigdom – The CMA targets the UK construction industry by Tripti Malhotra

Ukraine – Ukrainian Competition Authority explains vertical exemption in pharma by Tetiana Vovk

No 2 – December 2018

Australia – New prohibition against concerted practices

Denmark – The Danish Competition Council’s decision on industry standard setting

Estonia – The Estonian Competition Authority – a shift towards stricter merger control?

Lithuania – Improving merger control in Lithuania

Polynesia – French Polynesia establishes competition framework

Romania – Romanian Competition Council sanctions private medical hospitals and stem cells banks for anticompetitive agreements

No 1 – March 2018

Croatia – Prohibition of unfair trading practices in the food supply chain

Denmark – Danish competition rules become more reflective of EU law

India – New target exemption under the Competition Act 2002

Malta – Maltese Competition Authority imposes interim measures on insurance companies

Romania – Exchange of sensitive information in merger cases – Romanian Competition Council assessment

South Africa – The South African Competition Amendment Bill – will it be business as usual in South Africa?

United Kingdom – UK competition law following Brexit – update

No 3 – November 2017

Belarus – Upgrading the Belarusian anti-monopoly regulation

China – How to assess ‘control’ under MOFCOM’s latest draft of measures for reviewing notifi cation of concentrations

Estonia – European Commission disapproves of Estonia’s fi ning practices

Belarus – Upgrading the Belarusian anti-monopoly regulation

China – How to assess ‘control’ under MOFCOM’s latest draft of measures for reviewing notifi cation of concentrations

Estonia – European Commission disapproves of Estonia’s fi ning practices

No 2 – July 2017

Chile – Legislative amendments to the Chilean competition defense system

Denmark – New Danish Marketing Practices Act

No 1 – March 2017

Cyprus – Combating cartels – the leniency program in Cyprus by Charis Papachristodoulou

Greece – Procedural modernization of Greek competition law – new settlement procedure for cartel investigations by Tania Patsalia