Apple Korea applies for consent decree over alleged violation of competition law

Park Sae-jin Reporter() | Posted : July 4, 2019, 16:54 | Updated : July 4, 2019, 16:54

[Reuters / Yonhap]

SEOUL -- The South Korean branch of Apple has asked antitrust regulators to allow a consent decree in an effort to resolve a legal dispute over the tech company's alleged violation of the country's competition law.

A consent decree is a voluntary corrective action taken to bring an agreement or settlement which resolves a dispute between two parties without admission of guilt or liability in criminal or civil cases.

The Fair Trade Commission (FTC), a state body, said in a statement that Apple Korea has applied for a consent decree over alleged violation of the law. The company was put under review on suspicion of asking three South Korean mobile carriers to pay for TV advertising and repair costs for Apple mobile devices including iPhones.

The commission said that Apple was judged to have abused its trading position by forcing the three mobile carriers to buy its products and imposing disadvantages if demands were not met. The review of Apple's alleged violation would be put on hold.

However, Apple's voluntary corrective action does not mean that the company has actually violated the law, the watchdog said, citing a clause which states that a company's application for consent does not mean that it has recognized the violation of the fair trade law.

"When a company is put under a review, the company can choose to go to the court to decide whether the company has violated the law and fight it out or apply for a consent decree to resolve the situation. It seems that Apple has done its own cost analysis and decided which one is better," said FTC director-general Song Sang-min.

The watchdog said that it will decide whether to accept Apple Korea's consent decree in the next 14 days. It did not disclose details of corrective measures submitted by Apple Korea.
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