In December 2006, Green & Noblin, P.C. filed a class action lawsuit in United States District Court on behalf of persons or entities who purchased static random access memory ("SRAM") chips directly from the world’s leading SRAM manufacturers, including Samsung Electronics Co., its subsidiary Samsung Semiconductor, and Micron Technology, Inc. Plaintiffs allege that, in violation of federal and state antitrust and state consumer protection laws, Defendants colluded among themselves and certain co-conspirators to fix the price of SRAM at supracompetitive levels. Currently pending in the District Court for the Northern District of California, this lawsuit was coordinated for pre-trial proceedings with a number of related actions and is captioned In re Static Random Access Memory (SRAM) Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 1819. Green & Noblin, P.C. was appointed by the Court to the Steering Committee for the Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs.
SRAM is an integrated circuit that allows data to be digitally stored and retrieved at high speed. SRAM is faster and more reliable than its cousin, DRAM ("dynamic random access memory"). SRAM does not need to be refreshed like DRAM and will retain its content as long as it receives power. While DRAM supports access times of about 60 nanoseconds, SRAM can give access times of 10 nanoseconds. SRAM is used in a variety of applications. For example, higher speed SRAMs serve as intermediate, or cache, memory in computer systems such as workstations and servers. Slower speed SRAMs serve as memory in products such as cellular telephones, pagers and modems, and MP3 players. SRAM also is used in game consoles.
Plaintiffs allege that, beginning in approximately 1998 and continuing to 2005, the prices for SRAM rose due in significant part to the effects of an industry-wide conspiracy to fix the prices of this type of memory. During 2000 alone, Plaintiffs allege the average selling price of SRAM in the United States increased by 33%. In approximately October 2006, the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice ("DOJ") issued subpoenas to 23 companies, including Samsung and Micron, in connection with an investigation of cartel activity in the SRAM industry during the period from January 1, 1998 through December 31, 2005. A DOJ spokesperson was quoted as saying: "[t]he U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust division is conducting an investigation regarding anti-competitive practices against chief SRAM manufacturers." Samsung and Micron publicly acknowledged the investigation and claim to be cooperating with the DOJ.
In 2008, the District Court certified a class of direct purchasers. In January 2009, the Ninth Circuit rejected Defendants' request to review the class certification order.
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