Computer chip makers paying $310M to states in price-fixing suit

By Bryan Cohen | Mar 6, 2014

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - Multiple manufacturers of dynamic random access memory computer chips agreed to a $310 million multi-state settlement to resolve allegations of price-fixing On Tuesday.

In 2006, 31 states joined a federal antitrust lawsuit against DRAM makers. It was alleged that consumers overpaid for electronics built with DRAM, a common type of memory chip used in desktop computers, laptop computers, computer graphics cards and other high technology devices.

The settlement will provide recovery funds to businesses and individuals that bought DRAM or devices containing the memory chips between 1998 and 2002 from retailers.

"I am pleased the manufacturers worked with the states to reach an agreement that appropriately addresses our concerns and resolves this matter on behalf of Idaho consumers," Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said. "Idaho's governments, businesses and consumers spent significant amounts of money on products that contain DRAM. When those costs are inflated by unlawful anti-competitive practices, as we have alleged in this case, we have a duty to help consumers recover their money."

Under the terms of the settlement, DRAM manufacturers must also establish antitrust compliance programs and are prohibited from future violations of antitrust laws.

Eligible consumers must submit a claim form by Aug. 1 to receive money from the settlement. The minimum payment back to consumers is estimated at $10.

State-funded universities and colleges and local governments that purchased devices with DRAM chips will receive compensation from a separate portion of the settlement.

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