Gleiss Lutz successfully represents Deutsche Telekom in antitrust litigation with Kabel Deutschland

Deutsche Telekom AG has won a major victory in a dispute over alleged anticompetitive overcharging for the co-use of cable ducts: On 28 August 2013, Frankfurt Regional Court dismissed Kabel Deutschland’s claim to the reimbursement of fees already paid as well as future price reductions.  

Kabel Deutschland had sued Deutsche Telekom for a total of 350 million in payments made since 2003 for the use of cable ducts. Kabel Deutschland had also sought a reduction of the annual fee from approx. EUR 101 million to 34 million.  

The broadband cable business, originally operated by Deutsche Telekom, was spun-off in the late 1990s and ultimately sold to other operators, including Kabel Deutschland. Agreements for the use of the cable ducts were concluded. Kabel Deutschland claimed that Deutsche Telekom had abused its dominant position in negotiating the relevant remuneration. Deutsche Telekom rejected this as unjustified, as conclusion of the agreements had been inseparably linked to the purchase of the broadband cable business. The relevant product market was thus the market for corporate acquisitions, in which Deutsche Telekom did not have a dominant position – an opinion the court shared.

The judgment is not yet binding.   Deutsche Telekom was advised by Dr. Petra Linsmeier (partner, antitrust) and Dr. Luidger Röckrath (counsel, dispute resolution, both Munich).