Estimated reading time (in minutes)
Contractual Invalidity It thus confirms the judgment of the TGI of Paris of April 9, 2010 which had dismissed Ryanair of these claims against the online travel agency Opodo. The Irish low-cost company wanted to ban the sale of its tickets on Opodo.fr, Opodo.be and vivacances.fr.
Court Decision: Invalidity of General Conditions of Use:-
She had first invoked the supposed violation by Opodo of its T&Cs which prohibit any commercial use of the site. The court first noted that this document does not appear on the home page. It is only after having consulted the destinations and schedules, made the choice of a flight but before booking it that the Internet user is invited to tick a box in front of the mention “I have read and accept the terms and conditions of travel and the TOS of the site”.
Thus, the Internet user who makes a reservation from Opodo is sent back to Ryanair.com at the end of the consultation. The court concludes that these general conditions therefore apply only to the Internet user who will conclude an air transport contract with Ryanair. And, the online agency, which acts as an intermediary, remains a third party to the ticket reservation contract, made between the company and the Internet user, whose T&Cs are not binding on it.
Impact on Third Parties: Opposability of General Conditions:-
The judgment also confirms the first instance judgment which rejected Ryanair’s claims regarding the infringement of its rights as the database producer.
The Court of Appeal considers that the data and information relating to flights, timetables, availability and fares constitute a database that can be protected by the sui generis right of the producer.
It does not matter, according to her, that the database is linked to the main activity of Ryanair, “any database producer having an interest in investing in the field of its activity”.
On the other hand, it considers that the airline did not justify the investments it would have made for collecting data, updating the database and for its architecture by clearly distinguishing them from those relating to ticketing and flight management. It also sweeps away the argument relating to the infringement of the Ryanair trademark by considering that Opodo was obliged to communicate the identity of the company to the Internet user, for information purposes and to avoid any confusion.