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ECJ bill: EU bill against Intel to be re-examined

Thursday, September 7th, 2017 | Gadgets

The long-standing dispute between the EU Commission and the chip maker Intel about unfair business practices continues. On Wednesday, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) annulled a decision of the Court of First Instance of the European Union (EU Court) of the European Court of Human Rights (EU Court of First Instance) in which a competition penalty of EUR 1.06 billion was confirmed. According to the ECJ, the EU court has not adequately examined the arguments put forward by Intel against the EU Commission. Therefore, the case would have to be re-rolled again (Ref. C-413/14). Prosecutor General Nils Wahl had also asked for a new version of the procedure in his opinion.
In May 2009, the European Commission demanded a record of € 1.06 billion for abuse of a dominant position by Intel. Over discounts and exclusivity agreements with dealers such as Media Markt and Saturn, Intel has pushed other processor manufacturers such as AMD out of the market. The investigations had been going on since the year 2000. At the beginning of 2007, the Commission had decided on a formal competition procedure. Intel had denied the penalty in July 2009, which was however confirmed by the EU court five years later.

No counter-arguments
However, according to the ECJ, the EU court failed to examine the arguments put forward by Intel against an AEC test (as-efficient-competitor test) of the EU Commission. Such a test is to be used to examine whether the business practices that are being examined lead to the exclusion of a competitor who is as efficient as the audited company. The Commission concluded that an equally efficient competitor should have applied prices which would not have been profitable.

It is not disputed, however, according to the ECJ, that the EU Commission was spatially responsible for the punishment of abuse. In addition, the Court dismissed the allegations that procedural errors were alleged to have infringed Intel's rights of defense.

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