AMD Blocked From Intel Documents in Antitrust Case
The commission, a regulatory board that enforces European Union antitrust laws, is investigating a complaint filed by AMD alleging that Intel improperly used its industry dominance to keep other companies from winning market share in Europe.
As part of that ongoing probe, AMD sought a federal court order in 2001 forcing Intel to hand over thousands of pages of company documents to the foreign board, even though lawyers for the board itself later told the Supreme Court it did not want the records and argued that U.S. courts should not be involved in a European regulatory matter.
The Supreme Court ruled earlier this year, reaffirming an appellate court decision that AMD had a right to pursue the records as potential evidence. But the high court said the discretion to demand the records belonged to a lower court.
U.S. District Judge James Ware in San Jose issued the ruling against AMD on Oct. 4. Intel released the written ruling on Friday after receiving it late Thursday.
"The breadth of AMDs application, when considered in light of the ECs determination that the requested documents are unwanted and unlikely to be reviewed, weighs against granting any portion of AMDs application," Ware wrote.
Ware also found AMDs records request overly broad, calling it "unduly intrusive and burdensome."
The documents AMD sought for release to the European Commission were part of an earlier, failed patent infringement and antitrust lawsuit that Intergraph Corp. lodged against Intel. A judge dismissed that case before trial, and the Intel documents have been kept private for trade secret reasons.
AMD spokesman Michael Simonoff said the Sunnyvale-based company was disappointed with the judges ruling and is deciding whether to appeal.
AMD believes the Intergraph case documents could help the European Commission in its probe, but will nonetheless continue to work with the commission in its investigation into Intels practices, Simonoff said.
Intel, based in Santa Clara, was pleased with the latest development in its ongoing legal battle with its smaller rival.
"Weve maintained throughout that we did not believe AMD has rights to this information," said Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy. "They werent a party in that case, and they were seeking expanded discovery rights for documents that were under seal."
AMD shares fell 61 cents, or 4 percent, to close at $13.50 Friday on the New York Stock Exchange. Intel shares fell 69 cents, or 3 percent, to $20.55.