On 10 October 2014, the General Court ("GC") struck down the Commission decision against Soliver NV (Case T-68/09) given that it had failed to establish that Soliver had participated in a single and continuous infringement of Article 101 TFEU in the automotive glass sector. The GC therefore annulled the EUR 4,396,000 fine imposed on Soliver.
According to well-founded case law, the GC found that the Commission had not established that Soliver knew or should have known that (i) "the collusion in which it was invited to participate formed part of the overall plan of that single and continuous infringement" and that (ii) Soliver was aware or should have been aware "of the general scope and the essential characteristics of the cartel as a whole." Analyzing the evidence on which the Commission relied to reach its findings, the GC found that the documents produced did not demonstrate that Soliver was aware or should have been aware of the modus operandi of the cartel.
The GC further found that the Commission did not err in finding that Soliver had engaged in anti-competitive contacts. However, the Commission did not qualify the contacts as a separate infringement but instead considered the infringement as single and continuous. Soliver was therefore not in a position during the administrative procedure to defend itself against the allegation of separate infringements. The GC under these circumstances is not empowered to qualify the infringement as such. Therefore, the decision and fine against Soliver were annulled.