SAN FRANCISCO Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Hynix Semiconductor Inc. and Infineon Technologies AG have agreed to pay fines totaling $160 million to resolve a class-action lawsuit alleging DRAM price fixing, an attorney associated with the case said Wednesday (May 10).
In the new class-action settlement, South Korea’s Samsung (Seoul) agreed to pay $67 million, while Germany’s Infineon was assessed $20.75 million, said Guido Saveri, the attorney who represents the plantiffs. Saveri is an attorney for the firm of Saveri & Saveri Inc. (San Francisco). The plantiffs in the case, Internet Integration Inc. v. Micron Technology Inc. et al, are consulting groups and others claiming to be hurt by DRAM price-fixing, including Microprocessor Designs Inc. and Petro Computer Systems Inc.
South Korea’s Hynix has agreed to pay a fine, but the court has not approved the company’s settlement, Saveri said. In total, Hynix (Seoul) is expected to pay $73 million, he said.
Other memory makers are also expected to pay fines. “Micron is outstanding. Elpida is outstanding. Nanya is outstanding. Winbond is outstanding. Mosel is outstanding. NEC is outstanding,” Saveri said in an interview.
In 1999, NEC Corp. and Hitachi Ltd. formed a DRAM venture, which was eventually called Elpida Memory Inc. Taiwan’s Mosel Vitelic Corp is connected to ProMOS Technologies Inc., a DRAM maker.
U.S. District Court Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton granted preliminary approval of the settlements with Samsung and Infineon, according to court documents. A pending motion for the preliminary approval of the settlement with Hynix is scheduled for May 17, according to the documents.
A final settlement hearing for approval of the settlements with Samsung and Infineon has been scheduled for Sept. 6, according to court documents.
Over the past two years, Samsung, Hynix and Infineon have all pleaded guilty to charges of DRAM price fixing between 1999 and 2003 stemming from an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department. Samsung agreed to pay $300 million in fines in November 2005, Hynix agreed to pay $185 million in fines in April 2005 and Infineon agreed to pay $160 million in fines in 2004.
Executives from all three companies have also agreed to pay fines and serve jail sentences of up to eight months.
Micron (Boise, Idaho) agreed in 2003 to cooperate with the DoJ's price-fixing investigation and has thus far not been fined by the government.