This is the result of the systematic and persistent action of the non-profit organisation that defends the rights of European citizens.
First, the condemnation, applied by the European Commission. Then the compensation, demanded by Ius Omnibus. Following the announcement by the European Commission to condemn the Comcast NBC Universal Group to a fine of 14.3 million euros for partitioning the European Union market for the sale of its merchandising products, the consumer rights organization wants to force the multinational to compensate residents in Portugal.
To this end, Ius brought 8 actions in the Court of Competition, Regulation and Supervision, which it won in the first instance. You can read the sentence here.
The judgment 5 June, of the Santarém court, upheld Ius claim in all points of law, condemning the American multinational, which is represented by PLMJ, to provide the association with the documents and information it needs in order to be able to calculate the increased costs of acquiring the licensed products as a result of these practices.
With this information, should the costs for consumers residing in Portugal have increased, the association intends to bring a collective action for damages in favor of consumers residing in Portugal.
In the words of European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, “Universal’s strategy to prevent traders from selling licensed products across customer groups and countries is against EU antitrust rules. Such sales restrictions undermine the very foundations of the EU Single Market and cannot be tolerated.” The products licensed by the censored scheme are varied, including mugs, bags, clothing, shoes, stationery, or toys that sport characters and images from NBC Universal movies, such as the so-called Minions, or the dolls of the Jurassic World.
For Daniela Antão, secretary general of Ius Omnibus, “this victory is very positive, because in addition to the fines imposed, it is essential to obtain from the infringers the compensation of damages caused to consumers so that companies realize that they must respect the competition rules. And so, even if in this case these products are not central to people’s lives, the mission of Ius is an essential endeavor to the very foundations of the Union’s single market.”
Comcast NBC Universal, which in 2022 generated revenue of $121.43 billion and has a market capitalization of $165.88 billion, is the leading provider of Internet access in the U.S. and owner of fixed and mobile networks under the Xfinity brand. In the UK, it owns Sky Mobile, Sky Broadband and Sky Business, and the global media and entertainment businesses, with the creation, distribution and streaming of entertainment, sports and news content, for television and film, being the owner of the iconic Universal studios, as well as theme parks.
Daniela Antão also stresses that “it is with great satisfaction that we have achieved these results with the contribution of 267 hours of pro bono work from one of the law firms that represents us, and therefore so far without any financial costs for Ius.”
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