On February 27, 2024, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) published its roadmap for 2024-2025 as every year,[1] outlining its enforcement priorities for the year ahead.  The FCA emphasized the need to take action in the same key areas of interest as in 2023[2]: (i) the digital economy, (ii) sustainability and the ecological transition, and (iii) the protection of purchasing power. 

On December 15, 2023, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) published its Revised Leniency Guidelines, which repealed and replaced the 2015 guidelines.[1]  The Revised Leniency Guidelines were adopted as part of the implementation of the “DDADUE” law,[2] the ECN+ directive,[3] and the “Damages” directive.[4]  They aim to provide greater legal certainty for leniency applicants and modernize the leniency application procedure.

Summary

On September 7, 2023, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) imposed fines totaling €31.2 million on five companies active in the nuclear dismantling sector for colluding on tenders organized by the French Commission for Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies (Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives, “CEA”) at a nuclear site in Marcoule, in the South of France.[1]

On September 6, 2023, the French Supreme Court (“Cour de cassation) upheld the Paris Court of Appeal’s judgment which had dismissed Carrefour’s damage claim against Vania Expansion (“Vania”) [1] following Vania’s participation in the home and personal care cartel.[2]  The French Cour de cassation noted that it is up to the alleged victim to demonstrate that it has not passed on the overcharge to consumers.

On June 29, 2023, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) published its Opinion on competition in the cloud sector following a sector inquiry.[1]  The Opinion examines various practices currently implemented or likely to be deployed in this sector which have the potential to restrict competition.  The Opinion provides a blueprint for future investigations, setting out the theories of harm that the FCA may put forward in the context of abuse of dominance, abuse of economic dependency, anticompetitive agreements or merger control cases. 

In a ruling dated June 28, 2023, the Cour de cassation[1] upheld the Paris Court of Appeals’ judgment which had reversed the 2010 decision of the French Competition Authority fining 11 banks for an anticompetitive pricing agreement in relation to check processing.  The Cour de cassation ruled that the FCA had improperly qualified the agreement as a “by object” infringement when no sufficient degree of harmfulness to competition was proven.  This ruling puts an end to a 13-year old judicial saga.

On March 23, 2023, the French Cour de cassation ruled that requests to restrict the French Competition Authority’s (“FCA”) communication actions relating to a fining decision qualify as applications for interim relief under Article L.464-8 of the French Commercial Code and therefore can validly be brought before the Paris Court of Appeals.[1]