AMD v. Intel: New Trial Set for 2009

Judge Joseph Farnan ruled this afternoon that AMD may seek reconsideration for its claim that Intel's allegedly anti-competitive conduct outside the U.S. directly impacts AMD's business inside the U.S. The claim is key to AMD's case, which alleges that Intel's business practices with international partners harmed its ability to do business here.

An AMD spokesperson told BetaNews this afternoon that AMD counsel Chuck Diamond made the case that 70% of the entire microprocessor market lies outside the U.S., implying that by that preponderance, almost any corporate conduct in this market can be construed as, at least, partially "foreign conduct."

U.S. antitrust laws limit their own jurisdiction to U.S. soil, and thus take into account only a defendant's conduct that originates in the US, with certain exceptions for import businesses. AMD's foreign operations are considered export businesses by U.S. law.

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Judge Farnan has set a trial date of April 27, 2009, which will mark the official start of proceedings.

"AMD continues to believe that Intel, as a global company, and its conduct, no matter where it physically takes place, inflicts real and significant harm to U.S. customers and end users in the form of higher prices and reduced innovation," AMD executive vice president for legal affairs Tom McCoy stated this afternoon. "In addition, we believe that any examination of Intel's conduct in the U.S. necessarily requires evidence of Intel's foreign conduct given that 70% of the x86 market lies outside the U.S."

A Special Master will be appointed to hear evidence of Intel's alleged foreign misconduct, and to make recommendations to the court as to the worthiness of that evidence. McCoy stated the scope of discovery -- the ability for investigators to find such evidence -- will not be limited by Judge Farnan's ruling this morning.

The judge did not overturn his opinion this morning stating that AMD's arguments about how Intel's foreign conduct impact its U.S. business, are based on several "twists and turns," the very existence of which forces the argument to fall outside the guidelines of current law, which strictly defines "direct effect."

Intel, whose public relations officials are busy working at the company's semi-annual Developers' Forum in San Francisco, have yet to release a formal statement.

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