US: Memory card price-fixing accusations revived

Three companies are again facing a lawsuit accusing them of fixing memory card prices after a federal appeals court overturned an earlier ruling that dismissed the case, according to reports.

Panasonic, SanDisk and Toshiba were dealt a setback after the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals said an earlier judge was wrong in deciding that the plaintiffs had waited too long to file their lawsuit against the defendants. Reports say the companies control 70 percent of the market for SD cards.

Licensing group SD-3C LLC was also named as a defendant.

An earlier judge had ruled the statute of limitations had expired for SD buyers to sue the companies, but this week Circuit Judge Richard Paez said that the four-year limit did not apply in this case because the alleged anticompetitive acts were “continuing” each time a new SD card was sold, reports say.

”Plaintiffs should not be penalized for failing to foresee earlier that they would enter the market for SD cards and would therefore be harmed by defendants’ conduct,” the judge wrote Wednesday.

The plaintiffs claim the companies set a “fair market price” for SD cards originating in a licensing agreement made between the companies in 2006. The suit was filed in 2011.

A May 2012 ruling by US District Judge Jeffrey White first dismissed the case.

The appellate court’s decision follows an earlier ruling by the 9th Circuit last month that similarly revived another lawsuit initiated by Samsung that accused Panasonic and the licensing group of harming competition. Samsung received royalties from licensing the SD card technology to Panasonic.

Full content: Yahoo News

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