On December 19, 2023, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) fined Rolex for having prevented its authorized retailers from selling its products online for over ten years (the “Decision”).[1]  The FCA considered that such a prohibition constituted a vertical agreement restricting competition, rejecting Rolex’s argument that it was necessary to prevent counterfeiting and parallel trade.  The FCA imposed a fine of  €91 million, which is the highest fine imposed to date by the FCA in relation to a prohibition of online sales.  The FCA also investigated whether Rolex had engaged in resale price maintenance between 2011 and 2022, but ultimately rejected this prong of the complainants’ claim for lack of evidence.

In a ruling dated May 4, 2023[1], the French Competition Authority (the “FCA”) ordered interim measures against Meta following a complaint by Adloox, in light of suspicions that Meta was abusing its dominant position on the market for online advertising by imposing unfair conditions for accessing its ecosystem, thereby causing serious and immediate harm to both Adloox and other independent ad verification service providers.  These interim measures are imposed pending a decision on the merits of the case.  

On February 10, 2023, the French Constitutional Council (“Conseil constitutionnel”) considered that the second sentence of Article L. 464-2, I, paragraph 1 of the French Commercial Code, which provides that the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) may accept commitments in the context of antitrust litigation proceedings, but says nothing about its power to refuse them, complies with the French Constitution and, on this occasion, confirmed that companies can lodge appeals again FCA decisions rejecting suggested commitments.[1]

In a joint statement released on September 16, 2022,[1] TF1 and M6, the two main free-to-air television operators in France, announced their decision to abandon their merger project (the “Transaction”). Despite offering several commitments during an in-depth investigation, TF1 and M6 came to the conclusion that the divestitures required by the French Competition Authority (the “FCA”) would too strongly affect the transaction’s rationale. The FCA released on the same day a press release to “take note of the decision to withdraw [the] planned acquisition[2], in order to publicly clarify its position. 

On January 26, 2022, the Criminal Chamber of the French Cour de cassation (the French Supreme Court) has ruled for the first time that companies’ internal documents summarizing or forwarding outside counsel’s legal advice in connection with anticipated litigation are protected by the French legal privilege (secret professionnel).  The French case law is therefore gradually moving closer to the EU one.

On January 26, 2022, the Criminal Chamber of the French Cour de cassation (the French Supreme Court) has ruled for the first time that companies’ internal documents summarizing or forwarding outside counsel’s legal advice in connection with anticipated litigation are protected by the French legal privilege (secret professionnel).  The French case law is therefore gradually moving closer to the EU one.