After years of defending itself against a barrage of antitrust claims, Intel Corporation has cleared one of the last of those cases off its docket.
On Thursday, the New York Attorney General dismissed its antitrust suit against Intel. Filed in November 2009, the complaint accused the company of bribing or coercing computer makers to secure exclusive agreements for its computer chips. Under the agreement, Intel will pay $6.5 million to help cover some of New York's litigation costs, but did not have to admit liability or alter its business practices. Intel was represented by Keker & Van Nest, Bingham McCutchen, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, and Potter Anderson & Corroon.
The trial had been scheduled to start on February 14, but a ruling by Delaware federal district court judge Leonard Stark last December significantly narrowed the state's case, spurring both sides to settle. In a 19-page opinion, Stark ruled that the state could not bring claims under the Donnelly Act, a state statute that allows for treble damages for injuries suffered by the state. Stark found that the allegations all involved injuries to private individuals and companies, rather than to state agencies or officials. In a separate opinion, Stark also dismissed several claims as barred under the statute of limitations.
"We continue to believe that those claims, which were asserted under the previous administration, had merit, but in light of the court?s decision believe that no purpose is served by pursuing the matter further," said Jennifer Givner, press secretary for New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, in a statement.
Over the years Intel has paid a steep price for conduct that others have called anticompetitive. In 2008, South Korea's antitrust regulator hit Intel with a $25.4 million fine for anticompetitive behavior against Advanced Micro Devices. The following year the European Commission hit Intel with a record $1.45 billion fine for unfair competitive practices against AMD. In November 2009, Intel settled a lawsuit brought by the Federal Trade Commission, promising to change its business practices while not admitting liability.
Intel did, however, succeed in shutting down a consumer class action in July 2010 that made similar allegations.
Intel spokesperson Sumner Lemon told us that the New York action "was the last active trial court-level antitrust litigation involving Intel's sales conduct." Lemon said that the company has appealed the fines imposed by the European Commission and South Korean.
Intel's attorneys, Robert Van Nest of Keker & Van Nest, Donn Pickett of Bingham McCutchen, Daniel Floyd of Gibson Dunn, and Richard Horwitz of Potter Anderson, either declined to comment or referred us to their client.
This article originally appeared in The AmLaw Litigation Daily.