The European Commission has announced its appeal of the EU General Court’s annulment of a €1.06 billion antitrust fine imposed on U.S. chip maker Intel. The EC will go before the continent’s highest legal authority, the CJEU, to settle the issue once and for all.
Brussels suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of a lower court in the long legal battle with Intel. The General Court’s ruling was a painful setback for EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager, as the Commission hadn’t lost a big antitrust case in more than 20 years.
“The Commission has decided to appeal to the European Court of Justice the General Court judgment of 26 January 2022,” an EU spokesperson said on Wednesday.
In 2009, the EU’s competition arm fined the U.S. firm for abusing its dominance in the market for x86 processors between October 2002 and December 2007. The company engaged in illegal anti-competitive practices to exclude its main rival at the time, the Commission said, by offering illegal rebates and payments to computer makers and retailers not to use products produced by Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).
The EU’s lower court had in 2014 dismissed the U.S. chipmaker’s initial appeal — a judgment that was overruled in 2017 by the European Court of Justice, which referred the case back to the General Court to examine Intel’s arguments. Significantly, the court said it couldn’t identify the damages linked to Intel’s practices and so completely annulled the portion of the commission’s decision that related to the fine.
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