14 Jul Wisconsin joins price-fixing suit vs. D-RAM makers
Madison, Wis. – Wisconsin has joined 33 other states in filing a price-fixing lawsuit against seven microchip manufacturers.
States filed the complaint in San Francisco federal court against seven manufacturers of dynamic random access memory microchips (D-RAMs), accusing them of violating federal and Wisconsin antitrust laws from 1998 to 2002.
The complaint alleges that the defendants conspired to coordinate prices for the DRAM microchips used in many applications, including computers, servers, fax machines, and printers.
Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager said in a release that Wisconsin was joining a fight against “conduct that takes advantage of consumers and unfairly raises prices for everyone.”
The defendants include: Infineon Technologies AG, Munich, Germany; Infineon Technologies North America Corp., San Jose, Calif.; Hynix Semiconductor, Inc., Seoul, South Korea; Hynix Semiconductor America, Inc, San Jose.; Micron Technology, Inc., Boise, Idaho; Micron Semiconductor Products, Inc.; Mosel Vitelic Corp., San Jose, and its subsidiary, Mosel Vitelic (USA), Inc.; Nanya Technology Corp., Taiwan; Nanya Technology Corp. USA, Inc.; Elpida Memory (USA), Inc., Tokyo; and NEC Electronics America, Inc., Santa Clara, Calif.
The lawsuit follows a separate criminal case stemming from a federal investigation in which four memory-chip makers – Samsung Electronics Co., Hynix, Infineon, and Elpida – pled guilty to price fixing and paid $731 million in fines.
Stock prices of defendant companies were falling as negotiations continue. Bloomberg News reported that shares of Samsung declined two percent to 588,000 won as of 10:43 a.m. in Seoul, while Hynix dropped 2.4 percent and Elpida lost two percent to 4,430 yen in Tokyo.
Wisconsin’s involvement was not spurred by the consumers that would have been most directly harmed by price-fixing. They include Dell Computer Co., Hewlett-Packard Co., and International Business Machines Corp. The National Association of Attorneys General invited Wisconsin to participate in the multi-state group to assist with drafting the complaint and gathering information.
Assistant Attorney General Gwendolyn Cooley is representing Wisconsin in this case.
• WARF settles patent dispute with IBM
• WARF sues Samsung over computer chip technology license agreement