RealTime IT News

Ruling Says Intel Must Turn Over Global Evidence

While most of the Silicon Valley is relaxing and enjoying their gifts from Best Buy and Fry's, lawyers for Intel and AMD are putting in longer hours than Santa's elves.

The latest legal wrangling is a victory for AMD , as a Federal District judge in Delaware overruled Intel's  objections and ordered it to produce discovery evidence related to Intel's business conduct outside of the U.S.

Earlier this month, the Special Master in the case ruled that Intel should be forced to turn over the international discovery evidence. AMD has argued that the market is global and Intel's conduct was world-wide.

Intel had argued that the case should be confined to the U.S., where both companies are headquartered. In light of the Special Master's ruling, Intel attorney Richard Horwitz sent a letter to judge Joseph Farnan, who is overseeing the case, saying that Intel did not intend to file an objection with the Court over the Special Master's report.

"While Intel obviously had hoped for a different outcome regarding discovery, Intel of course will comply with the Special Master's decision and will respond to discovery as the Special Master directs. Inasmuch as the Special Master determined that it was not appropriate for him to address Intel's substantive arguments concerning AMD's export commerce claim, Intel does wish to focus its attention on the facts underlying that claim, and would hope to raise any jurisdictional issues arising out of that discovery with the Court at the earliest appropriate opportunity," said the letter, in part. Intel shared the letter with internetnews.com but declined to comment further.

The Special Master's ruling made no comment on the admissibility or validity of any evidence. Intel said it would raise evidence-related issues with the Court at a later date as appropriate.

"Intel's acquiescence to the Special Master's findings is a big win for AMD," said Thomas M. McCoy, AMD executive vice president, legal affairs and chief administrative officer for AMD, in a statement today.

"This case remains firmly focused on the worldwide misbehavior of a global monopolist. This ruling also removes any basis for Intel or its foreign customers to withhold evidence of Intel's exclusion, regardless of where it occurred. We will proceed vigorously to prove that Intel abuses its global monopoly power by limiting or excluding competition, which ultimately hurts consumers worldwide."

But while it's a big win for AMD, it still has to find evidence, and that will take a while, said Nathan Brookwood, veteran chip analyst with Insight64.

"This is an activity where discovery has yet to commence. It will go on through most of 2007 and 2008. A trial won't happen until 2009. It will keep a lot of lawyers on both sides of the argument fully employed for a long time," he told internetnews.com.

Intel has been the subject of antitrust investigations in Europe, Korea and Japan, and only the Japanese investigation is done, noted Brookwood. In that case, the Japanese more or less told Intel to behave but did little else. Europe and Korea are still in the investigative stages.