US court grants AMD document retention request

A U.S. court has granted AMD's requests that documents held by third-parties be preserved as AMD pursues its antimonopoly case against Intel.

The US District Court for the District of Delaware has granted a request by Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) that documents be preserved for use as evidence as the company pursues its antitrust litigation against Intel, AMD said Monday.

AMD asked the court on July 1 to serve subpoenas for the preservation of documents in the possession of specified third parties so they may be used as evidence in the litigation. The court granted the request shortly afterward, AMD said in a statement.

AMD sent notices to 32 computer companies, microprocessor distributors and computer retailers requesting that they suspend their normal document destruction policies and take steps to present evidence from being lost, according to an AMD filing with the court.

Of these, 14 companies have responded and nine of those indicated they would work with AMD to preserve documents, AMD said. The nine companies were computer makers Acer, Gateway, Lenovo Group, NEC Computers International (NEC-CI), Rackable Systems, Sony together with Sony Electronics, which were counted as one company, and Sun Microsystems. The others were distributor Tech Data and the retailer Circuit City Stores, according to the filing.

Best Buy has agreed to comply with AMD's request "without limitation," while Dell and Hitachi acknowledged AMD's letters of request and promised to respond. CompUSA has acknowledged AMD's request, the filing said.

Toshiba is the only company to have acknowledged receipt of AMD's notice and "refused to negotiate at all," according to the filing.

Toshiba declines comment on its position regarding the case, according to Midori Suzuki, a spokeswoman for Toshiba in Tokyo.

So far, 18 companies have not responded, according to the filing.

The PC makers that have not answered are Averatec, Fujitsu, Fujitsu-Siemens Computers, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, NEC, and Supermicro. Of the distributors, ASI, Avnet, Ingram Micro, Supercom and Synnex have yet to respond, as have retailers Aldi, Dixons Group, Fry's Electronics, Mediamarkt Ingolstadt, Office Depot and Vobis, the filing said.

"In the light of the court order, AMD is confident that the companies it has contacted will appropriately preserve the relevant documents," said Mari Hayashi, a spokeswoman for AMD in Tokyo.

The announcement comes after AMD filed a broad antitrust suit against Intel at the Delaware court last week, accusing Intel of using discriminatory financial payments and threats to stifle competition and maintain its dominance in the microprocessor market.

The 48-page complaint alleged that Intel used illegal subsidies to win sales, and in some cases threatened companies for using or selling AMD products. AMD identified 38 companies on three continents that it claimed were coerced by Intel.

Later in the week, AMD's Japanese subsidiary filed claims against Intel KK, the chip giant's Japanese subsidiary, seeking US$50 million in the Tokyo High Court and millions of dollars in damages in the Tokyo District Court for what AMD called "various anticompetitive acts" by Intel KK.

The suits in Japan were launched in relation to a March ruling by the Japan Fair Trade Commission, which found that Intel had abused its monopoly power in the Japanese microprocessor market, substantially restraining competition.

Intel in the U.S. has disagreed with AMD's claims, while Intel KK has declined comment on the suits launched by AMD in Japan.

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Paul Kallender

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