Judge tosses out suit against chipmakers

April 11, 2007 – A federal judge has tossed out an antitrust lawsuit filed against seven memory chipmakers, but left the door open for the complaining customers to revive the case with more detailed price-fixing allegations, according to the Associated Press. Sun Microsystems spokeswoman Kathy Engle said Monday that the Santa Clara company would refile the lawsuit.

Sun and Unisys sued South Korea-based Hynix Semiconductor and six other companies Sept. 1, accusing the makers of dynamic random access memory, or DRAM, chips of conspiring to charge artificially high prices from 1997 to 2002.

US District Judge Phyllis Hamilton ruled Thursday that the lawsuit needs to precisely detail and separate allegations of damages that occurred inside and outside the US. Hamilton gave Unisys and Sun until May 4 to file an amended lawsuit. Sun and Unisys also named in their lawsuit Taiwanese manufacturers Mosel Vitelic, Nanya Technology and Winbond Electronics; Japan’s Elpida Memory and Mitsubishi Electric; and Germany’s Infineon Technologies.

“We would like to refrain from making any comment that may affect the suit,” said Harumasa Hirano, a spokesman for Mitsubishi Electric. Hideki Saito, a spokesman for Elpida Memory, said his company could not comment on the ongoing case. Unisys also declined to comment.

DRAM chips are used in personal computers, printers, digital cameras, video recorders, video game equipment and cellular phones. The US Justice Department has been investigating price-fixing allegations in the DRAM market since prices soared 95 percent in less than two months in late 2001.


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