Noerr wins cable dispute for ZDF
Noerr has once again successfully represented the German TV channel ZDF in a dispute concerning feed-in fees for the dissemination of ZDF programmes in cable networks. The Noerr partners Johannes Kreile and Helge Heinrich acted for the broadcaster (case no.: 3U 132/14).
The appeal court, the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court, dismissed the action of the cable network operator Wilhelm.tel and held that ZDF does not have to pay any feed-in fees to cable network operators. The judges emphasised in their ruling that no claim to the payment of feed-in fees existed, in particular for antitrust law reasons. According to the judgment, there was no impermissible discrimination compared to major cable network operators either. In fact, the court stated that even as a dominant undertaking ZDF was permitted to treat market participants differently. The court did not see any grounds for abuse of a dominant position. Finally, the Higher Regional Court did not see how the competitiveness of a minor cable network operator would improve if it was also paid feed-in fees. The court denied leave for further appeal.
In the long-standing disputes between ZDF and cable network operators, a court has once again upheld ZDF’s claim that it is not obliged to pay any feed-in fees for having its programmes carried by cable networks. Just last year, the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court ruled in a judgment that ZDF did not have to pay any feed-in fees for having its programmes carried in NetCologne’s cable networks (case no.: VI U 15/13 (Kart)). Johannes Kreile and Helge Heinrich successfully represented the broadcaster in this dispute as well. ZDF regularly relies on Noerr as its legal counsel in litigation relating to feed-in fees. With one exception, Noerr has to date won all proceedings brought before the Higher Regional Courts for the client.
Representatives of ZDF: Noerr LLP
Professor Johannes Kreile (Copyright and Media Law, Munich) Helge Heinrich (Antitrust Law, Brussels)