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December 17, 2006

Judge in AMD vs Intel urged to permit foreign evidence

An administrative judge has recommended the judge overseeing Advanced Micro Devices Inc's US antitrust case against Intel Corp permit AMD to pursue foreign documents that relate to Intel's alleged misconduct in countries outside the US.

By CBR Staff Writer

A US judge ruled, in September, to throw out documents relating to Intel’s foreigners customers based on the Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act, which basically puts non-US business dealings beyond US antitrust jurisdiction.

Intel has since argued that the ruling be extended to foreign documentation. As part of its objection, Intel claimed AMD had asked for an unreasonably large amount of discovery documents from Intel and its customers, which is expensive and time consuming.

AMD disagreed. It said evidence of Intel’s alleged coercion and other illicit conduct toward its overseas customers was relevant to support its claims that Intel shut it out from US export and domestic markets.

Special master Vincent Poppiti on Friday agreed with AMD, and has recommended that the overseeing judge, Joseph Farnan, permits the foreign documents.

In his reasoning, Poppiti said that as the undisputed geographic market is global, and approximately 68% of the total worldwide production of computers powered by x86 microprocessors are sold to non-US customers evidence of foreign exclusionary conduct is essential for AMD to demonstrate that Intel has violated US antitrust laws.

An AMD spokesperson said the company hopes Farnan will issue a final approval to allow foreign documents by the end of the year. Generally speaking, the judge does grant the recommendation of the special master, said AMD spokesperson Mike Silverman.

Special masters are judges assigned to handle more administrative issues on behalf of the overseeing judge, often used in large and complex cases.

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Market leader Intel is expected to file its opening brief by December 27, when it can object to Poppiti’s recommendation. The parties will then meet in court for a hearing before Farnan on January 12, when he will issue his final ruling on the matter.

The case isn’t expected to go to trail until 2009, mostly because of the massive amount of documentation AMD has requested. Intel reckons the foreign documentation alone adds up to more than 137 miles of paper.

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