United Brands v. Commission (27/76) Article 82
-definitions of 1-dominance/geographical market 2-Abuse:Refusal to supply-a distributor in order to punish him/her for promoting a competitor's products. United Brands were producers of bananas which they marketed as "Chiquita" bananas. They held 40% of the E.C. market in bananas. The Commission alleged that they had infringed Art 82 in a number of ways. United Brands argued that the proper comparison was not with other banana producers, but with the whole of the fresh fruit trade. They argued that bananas competed with other fresh fruits in the shops, at prices which consumers would compare with other fruit before making a decision to buy, and that bananas were only one of a number of fruits chosen as a desert. The Commission argued that there was a particular demand for bananas that could not be met by other fruits. In particular, the banana had a special dietary role in the lives of the very young, the sick and the very old. It was the specific qualities of the banana that induced customer preference and these particular qualities could not be found in other fruits. The ECJ agreed with the Commission. It held that the relevant product market was bananas and not fruit generally The Court said that the key test was "substitutability". If the price of bananas rose significantly, would customers readily switch to buying other fruits? The relevant product market turned on whether the banana could be: "singled out by such special features distinguishing it from other fruits that is only to a limited extent interchangeable with them and is only exposed to their competition in a way that is hardly perceptible." Ct of justice held that consideration was required for the opportunities for competition "with reference to a clearly defined geographical area in which the products marketed & where the conditions are sufficiently homogenous for the effect of the economic power of the undertaking concerned to be able to be evaluated".definition of the relevant geographical market- ECJ held the geographic market as �an area in which the objective conditions of competition are the same for all traders�. ECJ held that three of the (then nine) Member States could be excluded from the definition of the relevant geographical market. This was because those states, France. Italy & the United Kingdom had special rules for the import and sale of bananas. The remaining six states had a free market in bananas and thus could be defined as the relevant geographical market. The Court said that the six states formed "an area which is sufficiently homogenous to be considered in its entirety".financial and technical resources of the undertaking=significant factor in where the undertaking owned the plantations, had its own shipping fleet and conducted its own marketing.