After losing a legal battle in the General Court, the European Commission appeals the annulment of a 1 billion euro antitrust fine on Intel.
On January 26, the European Commission (EC) suffered defeat in a long legal battle with Intel. The General Court annulled a 1 billion euro antitrust fine. The setback is painful for the EC, which hasn’t lost a major antitrust case in more than 20 years.
This week, an EU spokesperson confirmed that the Commission is appealing to the European Court of Justice. POLITICO reports that the case could become a bellwether for other pending cases.
How did it come to this?
In 2009, the EU’s antitrust division fined Intel for abusing its dominance in the market for x86 processors between October 2002 and December 2007. The company engaged in illegal anticompetitive practices to exclude AMD, its main rival at the time. The Commission alleges that Intel offered illegal rebates and payments to stop organizations from using products produced by AMD.
Intel appealed, but was dismissed by the EU’s lower court in 2014. Three years later, the judgement was overruled by the European Court of Justice, which referred the case back to the General Court to examine Intel’s arguments. Ultimately, the General Court ruled in Intel’s favour.
As mentioned above, the European Commission will now appeal the ruling, moving the case from the General Court back to the European Court of Justice.
The final outcome may impact other competition cases, including a €4.34 billion fine on Google for abusing the dominance of Android OS. This was the largest-ever antitrust fine ever imposed by Brussels.