Sun files new DRAM suit against Hynix

Sun filed a new version of its lawsuit against Hynix on Friday, accusing the South Korean company of inflating prices for DRAM memory chips

Sun Microsystems has fulfilled its promise to file a new version of its antitrust lawsuit against Hynix Semiconductor, accusing the South Korean company of inflating prices for the DRAM (dynamic random access memory) chips used in Sun's servers and storage systems.

A similar lawsuit by Sun was dismissed in April by Judge Phyllis Hamilton of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. At the time, she asked Sun to provide more evidence of DRAM market patterns.

Sun has now done that, and believes the new version of the suit will succeed because it adds the missing detail, and also gives new evidence that some defendants violated additional antitrust laws, such as bid rigging and tying employee compensation to the success of the conspiracy, said Sun spokeswoman Kristi Rawlinson.

"Judge Hamilton recognized that Sun's position made sense under the law, but she felt she needed more detail on how DRAM was purchased by and delivered to Sun. Hence, she invited Sun to file a new version of the complaint," Rawlinson said.

Sun filed its new complaint, which provides detail the judge requested, on May 4, she added.

Hynix did not respond to requests for comment. The case is scheduled for trial in 2008.

Sun alleges that it was forced to overpay for memory chips manufactured by Hynix and other vendors, including Infineon Technologies of Germany; Japan's Elpida Memory and Mitsubishi Electric; Taiwan's Mosel Vitelic; and Nanya Technology.

The charges are very similar to the U.S. Department of Justice's 2002 case that led to millions of dollars in fines paid by some of the major DRAM manufacturers. It also echoes the lawsuit that forced Samsung Electronics to agree in February to pay $US90 million in a DRAM price-fixing suit raised by a group of U.S. state governments. They alleged that PC vendors such as Apple Inc. and Dell Inc. passed on the inflated costs to consumers.

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Ben Ames

IDG News Service
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