In a judgment dated 16 February 2012, the Paris Court of Appeal overturned the decision No. 05-D-66 of 5 December 2005 in which the Competition Council had sanctioned Sony and Philips to a total fine of EUR 32 million for a practice of retail price fixing in the field of consumer electronics.
In application of the principle of loyalty of evidence, embodied in the same case by a judgment of 7 January 2011 issued by the plenary assembly of the Court of Cassation, the Court of Appeal overturned the unlawful recording of telephone conversations made without the knowledge of those concerned, and all pleadings referring thereto.
Noting that the evidence remaining in the case-file was insufficient to support the existence of an anticompetitive practice, the Court of Appeal overturned the decision and ordered the refund of the fine.
The Court of Appeal, however, referred the matter to the Competition Authority to resume, if appropriate, the examination of practices that now go back fifteen years.
Legal counsel to Sony: Gide Loyrette Nouel, with a team comprising Antoine Choffel and Emmanuel Reille, partners, Rita Eid, and Carole Thomas-Raquin, lawyer admitted to the Court of Cassation.
Legal counsel to Philips: Bredin Prat, with a team comprising Robert Saint-Esteben and Olivier Billard, partners, Sofia El Hariri, and Benoît Soltner, lawyer admitted to the Court of Cassation.