EU Court Upholds Fine|for Nintendo Pricing Scam


     (CN) – The European high court upheld a $675,000 fine against a German company for participating in a scheme to control prices on Nintendo games in Belgium and Luxembourg.

     The Luxembourg-based Court of Justice dismissed Activision’s appeal of a fine issued by a lower court. Activision, formerly known as CD-Contact Data, was found to have illegally restricted exports from one country to another, a practice also known as “parallel trade.”
     The European Commission originally fined Activision twice as much, about $1.35 million. Altogether, the commission fined Nintendo and six other exclusive distributors for European countries a total of approximately $223 million.
     But the Court of First Instance slashed Activision’s fine in half, considering the company’s relatively passive role in the price-fixing scheme. While agreeing with Nintendo to restrict parallel exports, Activision allowed its own customers to continue the practice. Also, Activision joined a scheme Nintendo had already set up with other distributors long before Activision appeared on the scene. Still, the lower court’s decision was fair, the Court of Justice ruled, since Activision and Nintendo did agree to restrict parallel trade contrary to European Union law.
     The Court of Justice dismissed Activision’s appeal of the fine and ordered the company to pay the costs of the litigation. Issued from the EU’s high court, the decision stands as final.
     Nintendo, a Japanese company, is a major player in the global video game market. In addition to producing top-selling games such as Super Mario Bros., Nintendo was among the first to develop a new generation of video controllers. Nintendo released the Wii, a motion-sensitive remote controller, in 2006.

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