GTT-KFTC update: Supreme court suspends Seoul High Court’s decision

Following an appeal from French LNG containment specialist GTT, the Supreme Court of Korea has decided to suspend the execution of the Seoul High Court’s decision concerning GTT’s obligation to separate technology license and technical assistance if requested by the shipyards.

On 1 December 2022, the Seoul High Court partially granted GTT’s appeal against the Korea Fair Trade Commission’s (KFTC) corrective order by revoking the €9.5 million administrative fine paid by GTT in early 2021. In the same decision, the Seoul High Court confirmed the company’s obligation to separate the technology license agreement from the technical assistance if requested by the Korean shipyards.

On 22 December 2022, GTT appealed the Seoul High Court’s decision before the Supreme Court of Korea. The appeal was accompanied by a request for suspension of the decision.

Last week, on 17 January, the Supreme Court of Korea decided to suspend the execution of the Seoul High Court’s decision, which means that shipyards cannot request GTT to separate the technology license and the technical assistance until a decision is made by the Supreme Court of Korea.

To remind, in December 2020, KFTC issued an $11.3 million fine stating that GTT’s commercial practices have not complied with Korean competition regulations since 2016 and ordered GTT to allow the Korean shipyards upon their request, to perform all or part of the technical assistance services currently included in the technology license.

This was followed by GTT’s appeal before the Seoul High Court and an application to suspend the effect of the KFTC decision.

On 6 January 2021, the court decided to suspend the effect of the KFTC decision, resulting in KFTC’s appeal before the Supreme Court of Korea, which was rejected on 14 May 2021.

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