Brussels, 20th March 2007
The Statement of Objections alleges that the undertakings concerned fixed the prices of professional videotape products, thereby restricting competition in the EEA market in violation of EC Treaty rules outlawing restrictive business practices (Article 81).
Videotapes for professional use (professional videotape) serve to record optical signals (mainly films) produced by a camera, a computer or other means. They are suited to fit special video recording equipment which is nearly exclusively used by professionals like TV stations and independent producers of TVcontent and advertising films.
The preliminary conclusions outlined in the Statement of Objections are based on the results of inspections carried out in 2002, on the Commission’s investigation and on information subsequently supplied under the Commission’s Leniency Notice (see IP/02/247 and MEMO/02/23 for information on the leniency notice then in force).
Statements of Objections are a formal step in European antitrust investigations. After receiving such statements, companies have two months to defend themselves in writing. They can also ask the Commission to hear their case at an oral hearing which usually takes place about one month after the written reply has been received. Only after having heard the company's defence can the Commission take a final decision, which may be accompanied by fines of up to ten per cent of a company’s worldwide annual turnover.