by Louise-Astrid Aberg, Lionel Lesur and Philipp Werner
The Cour de cassation, France’s highest court for judicial matters, rendered a judgment on 15 January 2013 in a case involving Jaguar’s distribution agreements in France. The judgment follows an earlier ruling on the matter by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), from which the Cour de cassation had requested a preliminary ruling. The Cour de cassation ruled essentially that quantitative selective distribution systems must be based on specified criteria, but those criteria do not need to be objectively justified and applied in a uniform and non-differentiated manner. It therefore exactly applied to the facts at issue the definition provided by the CJEU as regards the nature of “specified criteria” in Article 1(1)(f) of Regulation No. 1400/2002 of 31 July 2002 on the application of Article 81(3) of the Treaty to categories of vertical agreements and concerted practices in the motor vehicle sector (i.e., the Vertical Block Exemption Regulation for the Automotive Industry (VBER 1400/2002)).
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