Remedies

Remedies for violations of competition law involving IP

What sanctions or remedies can the competition authorities or courts impose for violations of competition law involving IP?

The Competition Authority can make final or provisional decisions, open to appeal before the Paris Court of Appeal. It can also impose penalties.

It can implement interim measures for cases requiring urgent action. These measures can only apply if the alleged practice represents a serious and immediate threat to the overall economy, that of the sector in question, consumer interests or a plaintiff company. These can include the suspension of the practice in question as well as an injunction on the parties to return to the previous state. These must be strictly limited to what is necessary to deal with the urgent matters.

In addition, it can impose heavy financial penalties, that are either applicable immediately, or in the event of the non-performance of the injunctions, or a failure to comply with commitments agreed to. These financial penalties are proportional to the severity of the facts in question, the scale of damage caused to the economy, the situation of the penalised body or company or the group of which the company is a member and the eventual repetition of the practices prohibited thereby. These are set on an individual basis for each penalised company or body, with a statement of the reasons for each penalty. The maximum amount is, for a company, 10 per cent of its global turnover net of taxes, and €3 million if the offender is not a company. It can finally order the publication of the decision or certain elements of this in the press. 

Competition law remedies specific to IP

Do special remedies exist under your competition laws that are specific to IP matters?

French competition law does contain specific provisions applicable to appeals relating to problems relating to intellectual property rights.

Scrutiny of settlement agreements

How would a settlement agreement terminating an IP infringement dispute be scrutinised from a competition perspective? What are the key factors informing such an analysis?

An amicable settlement terminating a dispute relating to intellectual property rights could be scrutinised in terms of competition law, both national and European Union.

All of the provisions referred to in the preceding answers in this questionnaire could provide the basis for any such scrutiny, whether national of community rules.