Nearly every computer uses some form of “DRAM” (Dynamic Random Access Memory.) If you purchased a computer, or you increased the memory in your computer, or you work for a company that buys and uses DRAM, you may have been impacted by price increases in computer memory during the time period from December 1, 2001 through May 31, 2002. The Justice Department is investigating price fixing and on August 2, 2002, Green & Noblin, P.C. filed a lawsuit alleging violation of California’s antitrust laws.
On September 15th, 2004, Infineon agreed to plead guilty and pay a $160 million fine for engaging in an international price-fixing conspiracy that drove up computer prices.
In December 2001, contract prices for DRAM were less than $1. By the end of May 2002, the prices were moving into the $4-$5 range. Green & Noblin, P.C. filed an action in August 2002 alleging that the price increases were related to violations of California antitrust law by the major manufacturers of DRAM, DDR and SDRAM.
The action alleges that purchasers of DRAM memory chips overpaid for the chips purchased during that time. In recent years, the computer memory industry has undergone significant consolidation. The major suppliers of DRAM to the world markets are Micron Technologies, and its subsidiary Crucial Technology; Infineon Technologies AG, and its subsidiary Infineon Technology Corporation; Samsung Electronics Co., and its subsidiary Samsung Semiconductor; Hynix Semiconductor, Inc., and its subsidiary Hynix Semiconductor America, Inc., along with Winbond, Nanya, Elpida and a few others.
The Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice recently launched an investigation into price fixing in the computer memory markets. It has served subpoenas seeking information from Micron, Samsung, Infineon, Hynix and others. According to industry sources, the Department of Justice is investigating possible collusion in DRAM pricing and manipulation of manufacturing capacity.
Additionally, extensive litigation is pending between Rambus, Inc., which licenses certain memory technology and the manufacturers of those products, including Infineon, Hynix and Micron. For more information on the Rambus litigation, click here.
If you are a purchaser of computer memory or you have information that may be helpful to the litigation please contact us.
- Infineon Price-Fixing Probe Tip of Iceberg? – Internetnews.com 09/16/04
- Tech company to plead guilty to price fixing – CNN 09/15/04
- DOJ probes memory chip makers – 06/19/2002
- DOJ gets up Micron’s nose – TheRegister.co.uk 06/19/2002
- Chipmakers Face Government Scrutiny – internetnews.com
- DRAMExchange.com – get the latest spot market prices for DRAM
- Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice
Image from Flickr user ChrisSinjo