Facts
Decision


Recently, the Supreme People's Court finalised the first anti-monopoly case relating to sports events in China. The case has drawn attention due to the fact that it involves China's top soccer tournament, its extensive time span and significance.

Facts

Osports Beijing Culture Media Co, Ltd (Osports) filed a lawsuit with the Shanghai Intellectual Property Court, claiming that Shanghai Yingmai Culture Communication Co, Ltd, an exclusive and authorised partner of China Super League, and China Super League, the authorising party, had abused their dominant market position.

Decision

On 23 April 2021, the Shanghai Intellectual Property Court ruled in the first instance to dismiss all of Sports Entertainment's claims. Osports appealed to the Supreme People's Court against the first-instance judgment. The Supreme People's Court served the final judgment of the second instance on 19 June 2022 after hearing the case, rejecting the appeal and upholding the first-instance judgment.

The Supreme People's Court held that sports event organisers enjoy the civil right to exclusively operate event resources (ie, commercial rights of the event) in accordance with the law. The anti-monopoly law (AML) prevents and restricts the abuse of rights to exclude or restrict competition, but the monopoly state formed by the intrinsic exclusive property of rights does not constitute an abuse of rights. While the exclusivity of the right or the exclusive right itself cannot serve as the object of antitrust prevention and suppression, the improper exercise of the exclusive right can be prevented and restricted by the AML.

The Supreme Court indicated that the grant of business rights itself is generally legal. If the exclusive grant of business rights is commercially reasonable and demonstrates competition in the process of granting as the result of fair competition, it is, in principle, inappropriate to find that the exclusive grant of business rights constitutes the abuse of a dominant market position.

For further information on this topic please contact Hao Zhan or Ying Song at AnJie Law Firm by telephone (+86 10 8567 5988) or email ([email protected] or [email protected]). The AnJie Law Firm website can be accessed at www.anjielaw.com.