TDC A/S liable to pay damages for illegal price fixing


05-11-2003

On 4 November 2003, the Eastern Division of the Danish High Court ordered TDC A/S to pay damages to Novo Nordisk A/S for having in the period 15 August 1998 to 15 August 1999 charged prices for renting of "fixed circuits" (data lines) that were higher than what was allowed according to a price provision in telecommunications legislation. The case was conducted by attorney Jørgen Grønborg and attorney Tom Kári Kristjánsson on behalf of DANSK IT acting for Novo Nordisk A/S.

DANSK IT had initiated the case against TDC A/S claiming that the latter had to pay back the part of the price that was higher than what was allowed according to the above-mentioned price provision in telecommunications legislation. The case was a "test case" and as a consequence of the judgment handed down by the Eastern Division of the High Court, TDC A/S should - according to DANSK IT - expect to meet with a total claim for damages in the amount of a three-digit million figure from TDC A/S' other customers that have rented fixed circuits in the period 15 August 1998 to 15 August 1999.

In its judgment, the Eastern Division of the High Court established that TDC A/S already from 1 January 1998 had charged prices that were contrary to the price provision in telecommunications legislation. However, TDC A/S does not have to pay damages for the entire period in which the prices were illegally high, but only from the time when TDC A/S should have known this. The High Court found that from 15 August 1998 TDC A/S should have known that the prices were illegally high and therefore Novo Nordisk A/S was awarded damages for the period from 15 August 1998 to 15 August 1999, when TDC A/S reduced its prices to a legal level after having been pressured by the National IT and Telecom Agency.

Moreover, TDC A/S was ordered to pay DKK 200,000 in legal costs to DANSK IT.

Questions about the judgment may be addressed to attorney Jørgen Grønborg and attorney Tom Kári Kristjánsson.

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