Judgment of the Tribunal on issues of liability. For the reasons set out in the Judgment, the Tribunal unanimously dismissed the Claimants’ claim (i) that the Defendants have abused their dominant position in the market for the sale and hire of academic dress for use at graduation ceremonies in the UK through the conclusion of official supplier agreements with universities, or (ii) that such agreements have as their effect the appreciable prevention, restriction or distortion of competition within the UK.
The Claimants claimed that the Defendants' agreements with universities granting “official supplier” status had the effect of conferring de jure or de facto exclusivity on the Defendants, such that the Claimants were foreclosed from accessing the market by way of supplying academic dress directly to students. The Tribunal found that the Defendants hold a dominant position in the market for the supply of graduation services to universities (one aspect of which is the hire of academic dress to students). However, the Claimants failed to prove that the inability to profitably access the market through their preferred route was in fact a result of behaviour by the Defendants abusing their dominant position under Chapter II, or a consequence of agreements entered into between the Defendants and universities under Chapter I. As a result, the claim fails.
This is an unofficial summary prepared by the Registry of the Competition Appeal Tribunal.