On 25 August 2017 the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) imposed a fine of KRW3.67 billion (approx. €2.7 million) and corrective order on W.L. Gore & Associates for engaging in unfair trade practices in Korea in violation of Article 23 of the Monopoly Regulation and Fair Trade Act. Gore is a US company which supplies waterproof, windproof and breathable fabric called GORE-TEX for the manufacture of outdoor clothing and footwear.
The KFTC found that, during the period between March 2009 and December 2012, Gore prohibited its customers (outdoor wear companies) from distributing outerwear and shoe products made of GORE-TEX through large retailers, including E-Mart and Lotte Mart. Gore monitored compliance with this policy by deploying undercover shoppers to conduct inspections at large retailers. Where GORE-TEX products were sold at large retailers, Gore ordered a recall of the stock and, in some cases, unilaterally suspended GORE-TEX fabric supplies to such customers. With Gore having a share of around 60 per cent of the relevant market, the KFTC considered this restriction on distribution channels to undermine price competition in violation of the Monopoly Regulation and Fair Trade Act.