Racing: High Court rules that BHB abused market position

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The Independent Online

At The Races yesterday claimed a landmark victory in its battle with the British Horseracing Board after the High Court judge Mr Justice Etherton found in ATR's favour in its claim against the BHB over the issue of pre-race data.

Lawyers for the broadcaster said it was the first time a court in the United Kingdom had found that a business practice is in abuse of a dominant market position, a landmark in competition law.

They said the judge found that the BHB adopted a policy of excessive and discriminatory pricing, again in breach of competition law. The claim related to the supply of pre-race data.

ATR pays the Press Association for the supply of a pre-race data feed for ATR's service to overseas bookmakers, with the BHB having an agreement to supply the data to the Press Association. The BHB demanded that ATR enter into an additional licence with the BHB for database rights.

Commenting on the judgment, the BHB chief executive, Greg Nichols, said: "We are extremely disappointed and surprised by the judgement. We nevertheless note that Justice Etherton has said that, irrespective of any intellectual property, database or other rights, BHB has, in the data, a valuable commodity for which it is entitled to charge.

"Also, the judgment concerns only the price charged by BHB to broadcasters supplying data to non-Irish overseas bookmakers.