AMD wins crucial discovery ruling in its antitrust case against Intel
You may have noticed puzzling squib items in the newspapers in the past couple weeks suggesting that microprocessor maker Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) had won some sort of sketchily described victory in its federal antitrust case against industry-leader Intel (INTC). Well, it did, and the court ruling was a big one.

It basically ensures that AMD will be able to require Intel (and dozens of third party computer makers, distributors, and retailers) to turn over documents relating to Intel's business practices outside this country, which is where most of the computers containing the parties' chips are now sold. AMD's securing that right was crucial to its ability to prove its case, which accuses Intel of illegally maintaining a monopoly in the global marketplace for x86 microprocessors, the electronic brains that power almost all PCs that run Windows or Linux operating systems. Since 68% of the computers containing x86 processors are sold to customers abroad, evidence about Intel's "foreign conduct" was "essential" to allowing AMD to make out its case, according to a December 15 ruling by Special Master Vincent Poppiti, who has been appointed to handle discovery disputes in the case.

Poppiti's 23-page ruling then became binding on December 27, when Intel filed a letter with the federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, declining to appeal Poppiti's ruling to U.S. District Judge Joseph Farnan, who is presiding over the case. (Poppiti is a former Delaware state court judge.)

Some readers might find it odd that AMD's ability to seek such discovery would ever have been in doubt. But Intel had argued that AMD lost that right on September 26, when Judge Farnan ruled that a 1982 statute deprived the U.S. courts of jurisdiction over all of AMD's claims stemming from any "foreign harm" it suffered from "foreign conduct." However, Poppiti's interpretation of that ruling--which Intel has no chosen not to appeal--indicates that Judge Farnan's ruling will only affect the extent of the damages AMD can seek, not it's ability to prove its case, which hinges on examining Intel's conduct worldwide.

Though most U.S.-based exporters are totally unaffected by the 1982 law--they can sue in U.S. courts to recover for any harms to their export business regardless of where in the world their products are being sold--AMD has not qualified as such an "exporter" since 2002, Judge Farnan ruled in September, because that's when it phased out the last of its U.S. silicon wafer fabrication plants (in Texas). Since then, all of AMD's microprocessors have been made at its wholly-owned fabs in Germany. Intel argued--and Judge Farnan agreed--that since then AMD has no longer been a U.S. exporter of chips; instead, it's simply been a foreign chip manufacturer. Accordingly, he concluded, unless those chips make it back into the United States (which most don't), U.S. courts have no jurisdiction over any injuries AMD may suffer from Intel's conduct abroad.

I wrote about Judge Farnan's ruling in an earlier post, which is available here. (The post has sentimental significance to me, since it was my very first.) I also did a "big heave" on the AMD v. Intel litigation in the issue of Fortune cover dated August 21, 2006, which is available here.

The case has a ways yet to do go, which is probably why I'm one of the few reporters paying much attention to it. Judge Farnan has set it down for trial on April 21, 2009 (sic).
Posted by Roger Parloff 10:50 AM 5 Comments comment | Add a Comment

I am very sorry that you lump Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton together as the greatest scoundrals. By doing so, you are doing an injustice to Richard Nixon. If Richard Nixon was an elephant then Bill Clinton was gnat in the amount of "scoundralism" that the the humanity ever had the misfortune to experience. Richard Nixon screwed with the whole bunch of countries- US, Vitenam, Cambodia, and Laos, while Bill Clinton had "so called" sex with Monica Lewinsky and a few other bit players.
Posted By Viswakarma, Federal Way, WA : 12:49 AM  

Incorrect. Nixon did not "screw" with countries, he tried saving them from communist imperialism (S. Vietnam was INVADED by N. Vietnam in case you had forgotten). Clinton released conficted felons from US prisons, sold some of the highest grade military (weapons grade) tooling to China (giving them satelite & balistic missle launching technology), not accepting OBL's custody (or trial) when he was in African custody, did absolutely nothing to fight the growing terrorism thereat that struck our foreign embassies (and killed hundreds of Americans), the World Trade center, etc. I could go on but why bother (and yes, he purgered himself, which is a Felony, in addition to going on National TV to LIE to the entire Nation about his infidelity (while working nonetheless). What a fine, upstanding guy! NOT.

Posted By SIlicon Valley, CA : 4:59 PM  

Matt and Wiswa,

All politicians very high up above the political echelon's are corrupt. You two are pretty naive to keep up this kind of rhetoric.

Posted By SS, Portland, OR : 6:56 PM  

Just about the only person Bill Cliton did not screw was a republican !! So he had sex with Monica and just about every Republican was mad as hell as they have a bag full of morals, and can commit no sin. How is it that Republicans can sleep at night when Nixon lied about Watergate and was PARDONED by Ford ( so the country can be saved from being disgraced), and made the laughing stock of the World ? Republicans seem to forget that Clinton did his best for the nation and continues to do so every day !! Perhaps this explains their jealousy, and the best times the nation enjoyed in the last few decades. And no it was not under Republican leadership !! I said LEADERSHIP !! Today the country drifts and the mistakes of the vitreolic Republican guard shows the distrust the world has for America. We once enjoyed that moment and now it will take decades to make that moment happen again. Democrats will move to bring America back to the days of glory, and make no mistake we will put every scandal including the lies leading up to the invasion of Iraq to rest one day.
Posted By Rod. Los Angeles CA : 7:33 PM  

Keep up the good work, Roger. It's pretty obvious that where there's smoke, there's fire...and in this case, it looks like it's a blazing inferno!
Andy Grove reminds me of John Roth, who cashed in hundreds of millions of dollars of NT stock before it went to $1 and got off SCOTT FREE!
Check this out from Micronet news, just before the stock went from $89 on July 25/00 to uner $1::
"Nortel Networks' president and CEO John Roth was named Canada's Newsmaker of the Year, by Time Magazine. Mr. Roth was honored not only for being an exceptional business leader but for his role in bringing innovation and entrepreneurship to Canada, through his efforts to reduce tax rates and increase support for institutions of higher learning and government aid to high- tech industries. John Roth was also inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame, to honor his leadership of Nortel and his important personal contributions to Canada."


People like yourself HAVE to keep this in the public eye, while the "legal beagles" @ INTC try to bury the story...DON'T LET IT HAPPEN...!!!!!
Posted By Roger, Montreal, Quebec, Canada : 9:47 AM  

Or feel free to send a letter to the editor about this story. Top of page

About this blog
This blog is about legal issues that matter to business people, and it's geared for nonlawyers and lawyers alike. Roger Parloff is Fortune magazine's senior editor (legal affairs). He practiced law for five years in Manhattan before becoming a full-time journalist. To join in the discussion or suggest topics, please email