Our client Samsung has scored a victory in a cartel damages action brought before the Dutch court by Turkish television manufacturer Vestel. The proceedings relate to the European Commission’s decision of December 5, 2012, in which the European Commission found that a number of companies formed a cartel in the cathode ray tube market between 1997 and 2006. Vestel took the position that these companies, including Samsung, acted unlawfully against it by violating Turkish and European competition law. As a result, Vestel allegedly suffered damages in excess of EUR 2 billion. Vestel subsequently initiated civil proceedings in Turkey and the Netherlands.

After an extensive investigation, the Turkish Competition Authority decided in 2009 that there was no evidence of a violation of Turkish competition law. This decision was not appealed and the statute of limitations expired, making the decision final. Because the Turkish Competition Authority did not find any infringement, the Turkish Court subsequently dismissed Vestel’s claims in full. No further appeal has been filed against this decision. There is thus, according to the court, an irrevocable judgment by a Turkish court between the same parties on the same dispute.

Because Vestel’s (same) claims have already been finally decided in the Turkish proceedings, Samsung, LGE and Technicolor have argued in the Dutch proceedings that the Turkish judgment should be recognized in the Dutch legal system: it is a Turkish judgment that has res judicata effect under Turkish law and all the criteria of Section 431 of the Dutch Civil Code of Procedure (the so-called ‘Gazprom criteria’) have been met. The Dutch court agrees with this. In conclusion, the Dutch court recognizes the Turkish judgment. Vestel is therefore declared inadmissible in its claims against Samsung, LGE and Technicolor.

The ruling has been published. See also the court’s press release.