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Legal Publication: Rules of  conduct

By a judgment rendered on 18 October 2017, the commercial chamber of the Cour de cassation (French Supreme Court) clarified the outline of a fair Legal publication. Thus, in order not to be offending and considered as unfair competition by denigration, the reproduction of the court decision must:
  • Be neutral in its presentation;
  • Do not include any comment.
In addition, any change made must not be such as to:
  • Deceive the reader about the scope of the decision or its motivation ;
  • Increase the impact of the publicity of judgment.
In this case, the author of the publication was accused of having recalled the trademark of the defendant company, whereas only the company’s corporate name was included in the judgment. The Court of Appeals, which has a sovereign power of assessment, held that this change in the reproduction of the judgment, which would increase the impact of the latter's advertisement, was improper and constitutes unfair competition. In another very recent case, the presiding judge of the Commercial Court of Paris relied on this precedent and stated that, a company condemned for denigration, who published on its website the copy of the judgment and highlighted the parts being "favorable" should be ordered to remove the judgment from its website for abusive publication unfair competition by denigration.