Utah joins $90 million settlement agreement in computer chip price fixing complaint
On Feb. 6, Attorney General Mark Shurtleff announced that Utah and 40 additional states had negotiated a $90 million settlement agreement with Samsung Semiconductor Inc. and Samsung Electronics Company.
The settlement agreement resolves the plaintiffs' allegations that Samsung participated in a conspiracy with computer chip manufacturers to fix the prices of DRAM - Dynamic Random Access Memory, indicated the Utah attorney general.
"This alleged conspiracy forced consumers to pay too much for computers. Ninety-million dollars will help make those consumers whole and put the computer chip industry on notice," contended Shurtleff.
DRAM is a type of computer chip used in all personal computers, servers, workstations and many other electronic devices.
The settlement money is earmarked to go to consumers, state government agencies and political subdivisions who paid more for computers and related electronic devices as a result of the alleged price-fixing, continued the Utah attorney general.
Samsung admits no wrong-doing in connection with the settlement agreement, which remains subject to court approval.
Under the terms outlined in the settlement, Samsung has also agreed to refrain from anti-competitive conduct and to cooperate with continuing litigation against other alleged co-conspirators.
Ronald Ockey, assistant Utah attorney general, is representing the state in the settlement agreement.
Utah, the 40 states and private plaintiffs will continue to pursue lawsuits for consumers and governmental agencies who paid higher prices for electronics from 1998 through 2002, pointed out Shurtleff.
The lawsuits allege price-fixing by at least seven companies in addition to Samsung. The companies identified in connection with the civil complaints include Elpida, Hynix, Infineon, Micron, Mosel-Vetelic, Nanya and NEC.
The 41-plaintiff lawsuit followed a criminal investigation that reportedly exposed a scheme in which DRAM manufacturers profited by violating federal and state antitrust laws, explained Shurtleff.
Samsung, Hynix, Infineon, Elpida and numerous individuals have pleaded guilty to federal criminal price-fixing charges and collectively paid more than $730 million in fines, concluded the Utah attorney general.