[ANSOL-geral] Microsoft vs Comissão europeia: mais confusão , vinda de um tribunal...

André Esteves aife netvisao.pt
Sexta-Feira, 30 de Abril de 2004 - 21:51:33 WEST

Mais confusão para a decisão da comissão sobre a Microsoft. Decisão de 
tribunal sobre outro caso de concorrência na Alemanha, invalida, segundo a 
Microsoft a decisão da comissão...

É questão de perguntar... Um processo relacionado com software livre poderia 
tb criar precedentes e pender a interpretação das directivas para o lado 

Existe algum caso deste gênero nos tribunais?

Um abraço,

André Esteves


Court Ruling in Europe Could Affect Microsoft

 Published: April 30, 2004

RUSSELS, April 29 - The European Court of Justice drew a legal line in the 
sand Thursday on the circumstances under which a dominant company must 
license its intellectual property for use by rivals. The ruling, involving 
two distributors of drugs, could have repercussions for the European 
Commission's antitrust case against Microsoft.

The case involved one American drug distribution company, IMS Health, suing 
another, NDCHealth, for using its copyright-protected geographical breakdown 
of the German pharmaceutical market.

Although the final word in this case rests with a court in Frankfurt, 
Thursday's judgment by Europe's highest court clarified European law in this 
field, where intellectual property law and competition law meet.

The court said in a statement that a refusal by a dominant company to license 
its copyright to rivals breached competition law only if this prevented 
products or services from coming to market, or if such a refusal was "capable 
of eliminating all competition on the relevant market." 

The judgment was welcomed by both Microsoft and the European Commission, which 
last month ruled that the software giant had abused its dominance by not 
sharing vital copyright-protected information with competitors. The 
commission fined Microsoft 497 million euros ($588 million) and ordered it to 
license the information necessary for restoring competition in the market.

On Thursday, Microsoft said the court's judgment "is a fatal blow to the 
commission's compulsory licensing case" against it. Microsoft is planning an 
appeal of the ruling to the European Court of Justice within a couple of 
months. The commission, on the other hand, said that the judgment supported 
its ruling last month.

 "We believe that these exceptional circumstances as set out by the court have 
been met in the Microsoft case," the European Commission spokeswoman, Amelia 
Torres, said.

Microsoft has said that its refusal to license copyright-protected information 
for its Windows system does not stand in the way of the development of new 
products or services.

Rivals including Sun Microsystems argue that this information is necessary for 
them to produce software for servers that can work as well with PC's running 
Windows as Microsoft's own server software does. This is essential, they and 
the commission argue, because over 95 percent of all PC's run on Windows. 
Servers connect networks of PC's. 

"All of the competitors concerned have successful products on the market, so 
it is clear that Microsoft's action has not prevented the launch of these 
products," Microsoft said.

"It is clear from any view of the market that the Microsoft technologies 
concerned in the commission's case are not 'indispensable,' in the terms of 
the court judgment, as competition is flourishing," the Microsoft statement 

Ms. Torres said that the mere presence of rivals was no confirmation that 
competition was healthy.

"Thank God there is still time to save competition," she said, adding, "This 
case is about products made by rivals being able to talk with Microsoft 
products, to the benefit of consumers."

One competition lawyer, who asked not to be named, said that if the court 
intended to require a dominant company to license its copyright only once the 
company had eliminated all its rivals, "This would render European 
competition law completely useless."
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