Bare Intel’s trade practices, Court orders Japan FTC

The Tokyo District Court ruled Friday that evidence collected by the Fair Trade Commission of Japan (JFTC) as part of a year-long investigation into Intel Corp.’s business practices in Japan should be disclosed, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. said.

The court ruling was made at a hearing related to two lawsuits filed in June this year by AMD’s Japanese subsidiary against Intel’s Japanese unit. AMD, Intel’s rival in the computer processor market, intends to use the evidence as part of its case that alleges Intel violated Japan’s Antimonopoly Act, it said in a statement.

The Japan lawsuit was filed days after AMD hit Intel with a broad antitrust suit in the U.S. and came three months after the JFTC found Intel had abused its monopoly power in the Japanese microprocessor market, substantially restraining competition.

Intel disagreed with the findings but didn’t officially challenge them and pledged to refrain from several types of business practices.

AMD is seeking damages of US$50 million in the Tokyo High Court and “millions of dollars in damages” in Tokyo District Court for “various anticompetitive acts” by Intel, it said at the time of the filings.

“This is significant because the JFTC issued a recommendation based on the documents that they obtained from dawn raids [on five PC makers] and now we can use that evidence in the court case,” said Shun Yoshizawa, a spokesman for AMD Japan. “This is very significant evidence that we’ve been trying to get.”

He said the JFTC evidence was seized during raids on NEC Corp., Hitachi Ltd., Toshiba Corp., Fujitsu Ltd. and Sony Corp. All five companies are major Japanese PC makers and large Intel customers.

AMD made a number of allegations against Intel and the business practises of its Japanese unit in the antitrust lawsuit it filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware in June.

It said that Intel paid the five PC makers to either buy only Intel PC processors or limit purchases of PC processors from AMD. Intel’s payments to Toshiba, in the form of “market development funds” were estimated to be between US$25 million and $30 million per quarter and the company agreed to pay NEC

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