European Commission fights back against nixed $1.2 billion Intel fine

At what point has a legal battle gone on too long for its own good?

What you need to know

The European Commission and Intel have been having a spat since 2009 regarding the latter’s rebate practices which, at the time, prompted the EC to say Intel was abusing its dominant market position.
The $1.2 billion fine Intel was facing got overturned earlier in 2022.
The EC has now confirmed it will be appealing that motion.

A legal squabble nearly a decade and a half in the making now has another chapter. The EC has confirmed it’s appealing a decision made earlier in 2022 pertaining to a case that’s been gestating since 2009.

Back in ’09, Intel attracted the attention of the EC due to the company’s rebate schemes that, the way the EC saw it, were creating an unfair competitive disadvantage for AMD.

Intel didn’t agree with the $1.2 billion verdict that it was abusing marketplace dominance and fought against the fine in a back-and-forth that went on for years. Fast-forward to 2022, and the European Union’s General Court overturned the fine on the grounds that there wasn’t a conclusive case that Intel’s rebate activities concretely disadvantaged AMD in ways deserving of such a massive fine. From the General Court’s press release on the matter (via The Register):

The General Court concluded that that evidence is capable of giving rise to doubt in the mind of the Court as to the result of [the EC’s] assessment, finding, therefore, the evidence relied on by the Commission to conclude that the rebates granted to Dell were capable of having a foreclosure effect throughout the whole of the relevant period to be insufficient.

In other words, Intel’s activities and the contested window of time they took place in weren’t effectively proven by the EC to be the epicenter of anticompetitive practice the Commission was claiming them to be. And so, the fine got dropped. But now, as confirmed to The Register by an EC spokesperson, that overturn is being appealed. The battle rages on.

European Commission fights back against nixed .2 billion Intel fine