In the early 1990s, a customer sued a French express delivery company, Chronopost, a subsidiary of the French public postal services, for not having delivered a letter within the time span contractually committed. This customer claimed significant damages since the late arrival of his mail discarded his candidacy in a competition for a major contract with the public authorities of an important city. The procedure went all the way up to a court of appeal in June 1993, and then, in October 1996, on to the “Cour de Cassation,” which is the ultimate recourse for this kind of procedure in France. Based on technical arguments, which is often the way it works with supreme courts, the “Cour de Cassation” broke from the previous judgment and sent the case back to another court of appeal. Meanwhile, other customers began suing the express delivery company, so that procedures went on and on, one last episode, and not necessarily the last one, being a decision of the same “Cour de Cassation” in April 2005.2

In the US, we witness a similar saga, that went on from 1987 to 1998, where Independent Service Organizations (ISO) brought action against Kodak in a case regarding the right for the latter to recover full control over its after sale services after having allowed the former to develop their own independent services. These two cases illustrate the complex legal procedures required for enforcing or challenging commitments among parties.3