On 8 May 2014, the Court of Justice upheld the General Court ("GC") judgment dismissing Bolloré's appeal against the Commission's re-adoption of its decision in the carbonless paper cartel. In 2009, the Court of Justice held that the GC had breached Bolloré's right of defense by confirming the Commission’s decision, imposing a fine on Bolloré for its direct participation in the carbonless paper cartel although the statement of objections made no mention of Bolloré’s direct involvement. Following this judgment, the Commission re-adopted its decision referring to the direct involvement of Bolloré in the cartel as well as to its subsidiary’s involvement based on Bolloré’s parental liability. This re-adopted decision was confirmed by the General Court.
With regard to parental liability, the Court rejects Bolloré's claim that it was not in a position to defend itself. The Court upholds the GC's conclusions that Bolloré should not only have defended itself with regard to the issue of control over the subsidiary but also its illegal actions. In addition, the Court confirms that Bolloré, being an addressee of the first Commission’s decision, knew that the objections were also addressed to it. Therefore, the GC did not err in law by stating that the claim of direct involvement in the second statement of objections was not a new claim. Consequently, the time elapsed between the first and the second statement of objections does not constitute a violation of Bolloré's right of defense.
Moreover, the Court concluded that Bolloré cannot reopen the question of the validity or amount of a fine, on the sole ground that there was a failure to adjudicate within a reasonable time, where all of its pleas directed against the findings made by the GC concerning the amount of that fine and the conduct that it penalizes have been rejected. Bolloré should launch a separate action for damages before the GC, but not request a reduction of the fine.