(Case T-91/11, Judgment of 27 February 2014)
In 2010 the European Commission fined six Korean and Taiwanese manufacturers of liquid crystal display (LCD) panels more than 648 million EUR for operating a cartel between October 2001 and February 2006.
Two of these companies, Innolux and LG Display–which were fined 300 million EUR and 215 million EUR respectively-, brought actions before the EU General Court seeking the annulment of the Commission’s decision or, in the alternative, a reduction of the fine.
The Court has rejected the main arguments put forward by the claimants but slightly reduced the fines imposed on each of the companies.
As for Innolux, the Court observed that the company made errors at providing the Commission with the necessary data to calculate the value of relevant sales, as it submitted sales relating to products other than the LCD panels. The Commission confirmed this point. Innolux had not explained the specifications of certain LCD panels to the external experts that compiled the data to be provided to the Commission. As a result, the value of sales used by the Commission in setting the fine was too high. The Court has admitted that Innolux lacked diligence when submitting inaccurate data but nevertheless decided to reduce the fine by recalculating the amounts, which led to a reduction of 2 million EUR, thus the sanction has been fixed at 288 million EUR.
As regards LG Display, the Commission had granted the claimant partial immunity under the Leniency Notice in respect of January 2006 for providing information relating to the cartel. Therefore, this period should not have been taken into account for the calculation of the basic amount. The Court has confirmed this error of the Commission and has established a reduction on the fine imposed on LG Display from 215 million to 210 million EUR.