In mid December, UFC-Que Choisir, one of the leading French consumer bodies, brought a judicial action against Hewlett-Packard, Darty and Auchan on the basis of tied-in sale.

The aim of this lawsuit is to challenge the fact that most PCs or laptops are sold with an operating system pre-installed. The lawsuit is deliberately directed at three different participants in the computer manufacturing and distribution market - a computer manufacturer, a supermarket and a store specialising in the sale of IT equipment.

UFC-Que Choisir claims damages up to €30,000, and is seeking to obtain a judicial precedent that will establish the principles to be applied to this widespread practice.