Judge trims New York's antitrust suit against Intel

John O'Brien Dec. 13, 2011, 12:50pm


WILMINGTON, Del. (Legal Newsline) - A federal judge has thrown out much of an antitrust lawsuit against Intel Corp. that was filed by former New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who is now governor.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Leonard Stark granted a trio of motions filed by Intel, including two motions to dismiss and one motion for summary judgment. The lawsuit alleges the company threatened and punished companies it viewed as working too closely with its competitors.

The summary judgment opinion bars Sherman Act damages claims for microprocessor purchases that came before Nov. 4, 2005, and Donnelly Act and Executive Law damages and penalties claims for purchases before Nov. 4, 2006, because of expired statutes of limitations.

Stark also dismissed Donnelly Act damages claims brought on behalf of consumers and New York's claims on behalf of non-state public entities.

"The language of the New York statute is unambiguous," Stark wrote Wednesday. "(The statute) permits New York's attorney general to 'bring action on behalf of any political subdivision or public authority of the state upon the request of such political subdivision or public authority to recover damages.'

"Here, there was no request by non-state public entities to bring this action."

In dismissing the claims brought on behalf of consumers, Stark ruled that no statutory authority permits the State to bring treble damages claims on behalf of individuals under the Donnelly Act.

Cuomo filed the lawsuit in November 2009. He said the company cut off payments it was making to computer makers, funded those maker's competitors and ended joint development ventures

Cuomo says Intel paid rebates -- which he said were basically payoffs -- to obtain exclusive agreements with computer makers. Those payments were large enough to be the difference between loss and profit for some computer makers, he said.

Intel paid $2 billion to Dell in 2006, threatened HP with the derailment of a server technology and paid IBM $130 million not to launch an AMD-based server product, Cuomo says.

It also threatened to stop funding for an IBM/Intel joint project if IBM marketed AMD-based server products, he alleges.

New York's current attorney general is Eric Schneiderman.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at jobrienwv@gmail.com.

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