Intel has won its appeal against a €1.06 billion (US$1.2 billion) EU antitrust fine from 12 years ago, reported The Wall Street Journal. The decision to impose the fine was annulled in its entirety by the same court that in 2014 had upheld the original 2009 ruling.
The court’s decision is a blow to the European Commission, the bloc’s main antitrust regulator, which is seeking to expand its reach through new regulations and a reinterpretation of its existing powers. Lawyers said a ruling in favor of Intel could put a greater burden on the commission in pursuing some antitrust cases.
The EU’s General Court in Luxembourg on Wednesday, January 26, struck down much of a 2009 finding by the regulator that Intel had abused its dominant position by issuing loyalty rebates and payments that restricted rival chip maker Advanced Micro Devices Inc. from competing.
The court said that “analysis carried out by the commission is incomplete” and didn’t make it possible to establish a requisite legal standard for judging the competitive impact of rebates. 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.
In a statement, Intel said it wouldn’t be making a statement, as it was “currently reviewing the decision” and “will provide further comment when we have completed our initial review.”