Orange Sport back on
France Telecom has won its appeal at Paris' Court Appeal for the right to sell its Orange Sport channel, with the court overturning an earlier ruling by the Paris Court of Commerce on February 23rd which obliged Orange to suspend sales of the channel to its triple-play customers.
The Court of Appeal ruled that Orange's strategy of offering its triple-play customers content available exclusively on the sports channel is standard market practice: "All Web suppliers seek to enrich their offers to make them more attractive with innovative services or the acquisition of exclusive rights," ruled the judges presiding over the case. Meanwhile, the French competition council is expected to rule in mid-June on whether France Telecom's exclusivity on its Orange Sport and Orange Cinema products breaches fair competition rules.
Telecoms groups SFR and Iliad Group, which brought the accusations of anti-competitive practice against Orange, were each fined EUR 10,000 by the court, according to reports in Le Figaro. There remains the possibility that the two could appeal again and take the case to Paris’ Court of Cassation, the highest court in the French judiciary.