ZDF v. Netcologne


In the prolonged legal disputes between the German broadcaster ZDF and cable operators, Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court (OLG) in its judgment handed down on 8 March 2017 again found in favour of ZDF, saying that ZDF did not have to pay any feed-in fees for feeding its programmes into the cable networks of Netcologne. ZDF was represented in these proceedings by the law firm Noerr

After the case had been referred back to Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court by the German Federal Court of Justice, the Court once again fully dismissed Netcologne’s approach of claiming feed-in fees based on the aspect of discrimination. The Court held that there was no claim to payment of feed-in fees, whether for the past or for future periods. The Düsseldorf Court pointed out that ZDF was under no obligation based on antitrust law to pay feed-in fees to NetCologne for signal transmissions. Neither was ZDF subject to a charge of discrimination within the meaning of Sec. 19(2) No. 1 Alt. 2 of the German Act against Restraints of Competitions (GWB), nor did the refusal to pay feed-in fees qualify as exploitative abuse. The Court further clarified in the interest of ZDF that the benefit gained by Netcologne from the provision of the ZDF programme service outweighed by far the dissemination benefit which ZDF enjoyed.

ZDF regularly relies on the advice of Noerr’s experts in the dispute over feed-in fees. The law firm has won all cases for the client before German Higher Regional Courts.

Noerr LLP represented ZDF with Prof. Johannes Kreile (Picture) (lead, Copyright and Media Law), Helge Heinrich (lead, Antitrust Law) and Manuel Jäger.

Involved fees earner: Johannes Kreile – Noerr; Manuel Jäger – Noerr; Helge Heinrich – Noerr;

Law Firms: Noerr;

Clients: ZDF Enterprises GmbH;