On February 16, 2022, the Cour de cassation confirmed that lack of mutual trust is a valid reason for a supplier to refuse to reappoint a former member of its selective distribution network, upholding an important decision of the Paris Court of Appeals in the automotive industry.[1]

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 12, 2022, former European Central Bank official Benoît Coeuré was appointed President of the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) following his hearing by both houses of the French Parliament.[1] He was unanimously appointed by members of the Commission for Economic Affairs of the Assemblée Nationale, while the Commission for Economic Affairs of the Sénat displayed a more balanced distribution of votes (only 12 in favor out of 22 votes cast).

On January 5, 2022, the Paris Court of Appeals annulled a €2 million damages award that the Paris Commercial Court ordered feminine hygiene products company Vania to pay Carrefour[1] as a result of its participation in a cartel in the body care sector, which resulted in maintaining artificially high prices between 2003 and 2006, and for which Vania was fined €45.03 million by the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) in 2014.

On January 5, 2022, France’s top civil court ruled that the question of jurisdiction in the case opposing pharmaceutical company Roche and the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) in respect of the communication campaign led by the FCA in the Avastin/Lucentis case was particularly complex, and decided to refer it to the Tribunal des conflits to be settled.

On January 4, 2022, the Cour de cassation confirmed the rulings of the president of the Court of Appeals validating dawn raids carried out in May 2017 by the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) in the rendering sector.[1]

On December 22, 2021, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) published its annual review for 2021.[1]  As done already on the occasion of the presentation of its Annual Report 2020/2021,[2] the FCO’s President, Andreas Mundt, emphasized again that the protection of competition in the digital economy remains one of the FCO’s top priorities.  He underlined that also merger control will continue to serve as a key tool to achieve this goal.  In addition, he pointed out that the FCO would welcome powers of intervention also with regard to infringements of consumer rights.

In a press release dated December 15, 2021, the French Competition Authority (the “FCA”) announced the opening of a public consultation on Google’s proposed commitments in the “related rights” case.  These commitments seek to address the preliminary competition concerns expressed by the FCA Investigation Services, who are still pursuing the proceedings on the merits following an interim measures decision issued in April 2020.