Willkie Advises French Soccer Football League in Orange Football Broadcasting Appeal

July 21, 2010

France’s Supreme Court holds French broadcaster’s strategy for distributing exclusive content did not amount to unfair competition in violation of consumer legislation.

France’s Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal from internet service providers SFR and Free, confirming that the strategy of French broadcaster Orange for distributing exclusive content did not amount to unfair competition in violation of consumer legislation. The Court affirmed Orange’s right to broadcast exclusive content on its sports channel Orange Sports, which is made available solely to Orange’s internet service subscribers. The Court recognized that "it gives the consumer complete freedom on the choice of the internet service provider." The French soccer football league, represented by Willkie, supported Orange throughout the litigation, and in its introduction of significant market competition with respect to the acquisition of exclusive content, in particular football rights. The matter was handled by partner Jacques-Philippe Gunther and associates Adrien Giraud and Julien Vilquin.