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Karnataka High Court allows proceedings against Intel

The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition filed by Intel Corporation challenging a 2019 order of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) calling for an investigation into allegations of abuse of dominant position in the market for micro-processors.

The information before the CCI was filed by Matrix Info Systems, a Delhi-based IT trading company engaged in the business of importing, wholesaling, distributing and supplying a wide range of IT products.

The informant imports Intel micro-processors from its authorised distributors in other countries and sells them to Indian consumers at highly competitive prices.

The issue arose when Intel amended its warranty policy for India, only entertaining warranty requests for Intel boxed micro-processors in India when they were purchased within the country from an authorised Indian distributor of Intel.

As per the informant, such separate warranty terms were arbitrary and unfair towards the Indian market and consumers, since they limited the choice of customers and also affected the business of independent resellers and parallel importers like itself.

The CCI had found that Intel’s dominant position in markets of micro-processors for desktops and laptop PCs in India was prima facie established.

Further, it was found that the unfair warranty policy prima facie amounted to abuse of dominant position in contravention of the Competition Act, 2002.

“The Commission is of the prima facie opinion that the new differentiated India specific warranty policy of Intel in regard to its Boxed Micro-Processors is in contravention of Section 4 (2) (a) (i) of the Act,” the CCI had recorded in its order.

Therefore, the Director General (DG) was asked to probe the matter and submit an investigation report within 150 days.

CCI was represented by Additional Solicitor General N Venkataraman along with Samvad Partners Poornima Hatti and Arjun Krishnan along with Ankur Singh, Aditya Shankar, Suhaas Shenoy, and A Mahesh Chowdhary.

The petitioners were represented by Senior Advocates Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Sajan Poovayya along with advocate-on-record Naveen GS. BarandBench

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