Elpida, and NEC Electronics America, Inc. (NEC), have agreed to pay US$50.7 million to settle private lawsuits (in addition to criminal fines of US$84 million paid by Elpida) alleging that the companies conspired with others to fix prices for DRAM chips between 1999 and 2002. According to settlement papers filed on December 1, 2006, in Federal District Court in San Francisco, Elpida and NEC will pay US$14.7 million and US$36 million, respectively, to manufacturers that had purchased the companies’ DRAM chips for incorporation into various consumer electronic devices. Such amounts equal approximately 18 percent of each company’s DRAM sales to the plaintiffs. Notably, in May 2006, alleged co-conspirators Samsung Electronics Co., Hynix Semiconductor, Inc., and Infineon Technologies agreed to pay a collective US$160 million to settle claims arising from their roles in the conspiracy.
Elpida and NEC have agreed to cooperate with plaintiffs in prosecuting the remaining claims against DRAM producers Micron Technology, Inc., Nanya Technology Corp., Mosel Vitelic, Inc. and Winbond Electronics Corp. Trial on these claims is scheduled to begin in April 2007. The DRAM conspirators also face private, indirect-purchaser actions brought by consumers and state governments under state law and currently pending in more than 30 states. Indirect-purchaser actions are not permitted under federal antitrust laws.