Flynn versus Sorrell is a catalyst to drag out Aegis' legal fight

The past few days have seen some almighty scraps, bringing an end, in no uncertain terms, to the season of goodwill, writes Ian Darby.

We've had the BBC facing off with religious groups over the screening of Jerry Springer: The Opera, John McCririck falling out with almost all of his fellow housemates on Celebrity Big Brother and yet more exposure of the enmity between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

But over in France, a bitter legal battle has been making the headlines.

The rumoured rift between the founders of KR Media - Bruno Kemoun and Eryck Rebbouh - and their former boss, the Aegis chief executive, Doug Flynn, has broken out in public, or at least in the courtroom.

Last Friday, a judge at the French Commercial Court ruled against Aegis in a case that centres on allegations from the owner of Carat that KR Media had broken agreements not to solicit clients of their old employer before November.

The case did not focus solely on the poaching allegations but on the way in which evidence was gathered by court officials against KR Media through a raid of its offices late last year. The judge said that any evidence collected should be returned to KR Media. Aegis, which put out a trading statement in December referring to Carat France experiencing "a number of client defections towards the end of the year", said that it will appeal against the decision that evidence should be handed back to KR Media to "protect our interests".

Aegis was ordered to pay costs but it obviously hopes to win this appeal, allowing it to press on with its claims that KR Media illegally solicited clients. KR Media has won clients including LVMH from Carat since it launched.

Whatever the court's decision on appeal, the case could drag on. No date has been set for the next hearing, leaving uncertainty hanging over both KR Media and Carat in France. Cases like this, involving alleged poaching of clients, rarely get to court with many agencies deciding it isn't worth the cost and the hassle.

Of course the near-legendary status of Kemoun and Rebbouh in the French market, which goes hand-in-hand with their clout, makes them a special case and you can understand Aegis' anxiety following their departure.

However, the court made it clear last week that it has seen nothing to suggest that the pair unfairly solicited clients.

But Aegis' decision to appeal is indicative of the tough, Aussie battling spirit possessed by Flynn. The other intriguing element to the case is the 20 per cent stake that Sir Martin Sorrell's WPP owns in KR Media, bringing another legendary scrapper who usually gets his own way into the equation. So round one to KR Media against Aegis but the fight isn't over yet.