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Intel asks to have antitrust claims dismissed

Lawyers argue over technicalities
Fri Oct 28 2011, 12:53

CHIPMAKER Intel has asked a US federal judge to dismiss a number of claims made against it in an antitrust lawsuit filed by the attorney general's office.

Intel faces antitrust charges for allegedly paying computer manufacturers to ensure that Intel microprocessors were chosen over those of rivals such as AMD, allegedly creating unfair competition and artificially inflated prices that were handed on to customers.

Intel's lawyers claim that the US attorney general's office, which is taking the case on behalf of around 4,000 public entities, cannot bring those claims to court, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The New York law that the attorney general's office is using in the case allows the state to act on behalf of consumers, with the potential for triple damages to be awarded. However, Intel claims that the law only allows for injunctions and civil penalties, and that public entities must first request the state to act on their behalf, for which it claims there is no evidence.

Intel also wants claims relating to purchases before November 2006 to be thrown out on the basis that the state law claims were filed in Delaware and there is a three year statute of limitations there, compared to a longer period in New York. The attorney general's office argues that it filed in Delaware for reasons of efficiency and that those laws should not apply to New York.

US District Judge Leonard Stark said he would consider Intel's arguments.

It is interesting that Intel is not arguing that it did not act unfairly, but is looking instead to a technicality of the law, which, if true, could see the case thrown out altogether, whether Intel violated antitrust law or not. The issues with the law could also see Intel pay lower damages if the lawsuit is upheld and it is found to have committed anticompetitive acts.

The trial is expcted to begin on 14 February, 2012, though this date could change depending on Stark's ruling on Intel's latest arguments. µ


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