Intel Antitrust Suit Filed

Intel has been fighting an antitrust suit in Europe for years (recently getting hit with €1.06bn in fines) and now it must deal with essentially the same allegations in the United States.  According to the NY Times (found via Gizmodo, but there are more here), New York’s Attorney General–Andrew Cuomo–has filed a federal antitrust claim in the District of Delaware alleging that Intel “used bribery and coercion to maintain a stranglehold on the market.”

A copy of the 87-page complaint can be found here (PDF), and the first 77 pages or so lay out the alleged acts which led to the case being filed.   There are actually only four claims in the complaint, and only one of which is covered by the Sherman Act.  The other three claims involve New York state laws.  The Sherman Act claim alleges that Intel exercises monopoly powers, and by virtue of those powers, it “willfully maintained, and unless restrained by the Court may continue to willfully maintain, that power by anticompetitive and unreasonably exclusionary conduct.”

15 U.S.C. § 2 makes it a felony for a company or person to monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, any part of trade or commerce.  It’s punishable by up to ten years in prison, up to a million dollars in fines, or both.  But you’ll notice that this is a civil complaint, and not a criminal indictment.  This is because 15 U.S.C. § 15 gives an injured person the right to bring suit in federal court, and seek treble damages plus reasonable attorneys fees.

Naturally, Intel disputes the claims and promises to defend itself against the allegations.  (Link)