For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
Date: July 14, 2006
Idaho Joins DRAM Price-Fixing Lawsuit
(Boise) - The State of Idaho has joined a multistate lawsuit concerning the manipulation of prices by seven manufacturers of Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM), Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said. The lawsuit seeks injunctive and monetary relief on behalf of consumers, businesses and governmental agencies that paid more for computers because of the alleged price-fixing. DRAM is a widely used form of computer memory that is found in personal computers, servers and other electronic devices.
“Idaho consumers, businesses and governmental agencies paid more for computers as a result of a price-fixing conspiracy by companies that make memory chips that are a crucial component of many high-tech products,” Attorney General Wasden said. “This lawsuit seeks to prohibit manufacturers from manipulating prices in the future and to recoup some of the public’s losses.”
Idaho and 33 other states filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. The states are seeking relief as a result of alleged price-fixing that occurred between 1998 and 2002. The states’ suit is the result of a coordinated, multistate investigation that began in 2004, as well as a federal investigation that exposed a scheme where DRAM manufacturers profited at the expense of consumers.
According to the states’ complaint, the defendants, Elpida, Hynix, Infineon, Micron, Mosel Vitelic, Nanya, and NEC violated federal and state antitrust laws by coordinating prices they charged for DRAM. The suit asks for a jury trial, an unspecified amount of damages and an injunction against future illegal conduct.
In June 2002, the U.S. Department of Justice initiated a criminal investigation into alleged DRAM price-fixing. Micron agreed to cooperate with investigators in exchange for amnesty from federal criminal charges. Several defendants and twelve individuals have since pleaded guilty to criminal price-fixing and collectively paid more than $730 million in fines.
The states’ complaint lays out details of the conspiracy, which included an agreement by industry leaders to trim production in order to artificially raise prices.
Worldwide sales of DRAM jumped from $14 billion in 2001 to $17 billion in 2003, with the U.S. accounting for a significant share of the market.
The other states participating in the lawsuit are: Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
- End -