On April 6 2009 the Market Court imposed a competition infringement fine in the amount of €100,000 on Suomen Numeropalvelut Oy for the abuse of a dominant position in relation to the sale of subscriber information for the production of telephone directories.(1) The decision follows the Competition Authority’s proposal of May 17 2005 to the court to impose a competition infringement fine of €150,000 on Suomen Numeropalvelut.
The case concerned the refusal by Suomen Numeropalvelut to provide subscriber information to Oy Eniro Finland Ab on the basis that Eniro violated data protection legislation by offering free search services to individuals without requiring pre-registration. As a result of this refusal Eniro was forced to close its directory services. Suomen Numeropalvelut, owned by some of Eniro’s competitors, is the sole nation wide provider of telephone subscriber information and the court considered that Eniro was thus, de facto, dependent on its services when engaging in the directory services business.
The court found that Suomen Numeropalvelut’s arguments in respect of data protection legislation infringements were groundless and that the company was, pursuant to the Communication Markets Act, obliged to provide necessary subscriber information. The court therefore held that Suomen Numeropalvelut had abused its dominant position both by refusing to engage in business relations and by imposing business conditions that unreasonably restricted Eniro’s operations. Further, the court held that Suomen Numeropalvelut restricted competition in the market for directory services and acted contrary to the objectives of the Communication Markets Act – that is, the creation and promotion of sound and effective competition in the above markets. However, according to the court, the infringements ended in September 2005, subsequent to the entry into force of the Finnish data protection legislation.
(1) Market Court decision, Dno MAO: 178-179/09, April 6 2009.
For more information, please contact *#Mr. Mikko Eerola#* or *#Ms. Julia Pekkala#*.