UK: Game on – Valve’s geo-blocked games infringe EU competition law

The EU’s General Court upheld the European Commission’s gaming-related decision that Valve had breached EU competition law. As a result, Valve remains subject to the Commission’s fine of over EUR 1.6 million and has not appealed the General Court's judgement.

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The EU’s General Court upheld the European Commission’s decision that Valve had breached EU competition law. Valve had geo-blocked Steam activation keys for certain video games published by five video game publishers – this restricted cross-border sales of those games within the EU. The European Commission, which has been focussing on geo-blocking for a decade now, fined Valve over EUR 1.6 million.

The General Court delved into the complex area of the relationship between competition law and intellectual property, highlighting the fact that intellectual property cannot be used as a shield to protect businesses from the application of competition law principles.

To see the key takeaways from the General Court judgment, including a discussion on how the court applied competition law principles, click here.

Update (Jan 2024): Valve has not appealed the General Court decision – so it is indeed game over for Valve in the EU courts.

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