Paris Court of Appeal Backs Orrick Client SFR in Ongoing Antitrust Case Against Telecom Competitor Orange

June.08.2018

Siding with the arguments of an Orrick antitrust team, the Court of Appeal in Paris has ordered telecom company Orange to pay €53.4 million in damages to our client SFR for violating antitrust protections in the market for telephone and Internet access for second homes.

The decision, the latest development in our team’s multi-year litigation effort in France on behalf of telecommunications company SFR, also requires Orange to pay interest to our client for the 2014-2016 period.

In finding that Orange had abused its market position, the Court of Appeal backed our unique definition of the relevant market for “fixed telephony in leisure phones.” The dispute was based on the fact that French leisure home owners are able to pay their phone subscriptions only when they are actually present in their country home (typically one month a year), while on the upstream market SFR had to pay Orange 365 days per year for the rental of the fixed line. Our team argued this made it impossible for SFR to compete against Orange for this particular category of customers – and the Court of Appeal agreed.

Partner Patrick Hubert and associate Malik Idri from Orrick’s Paris office led the team representing SFR. They were assisted by partner Marine Lallemand and of counsel Sarah Achille.