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Judge drops big part of Intel antitrust suit

Court tells AMD it must ignore overseas tactics

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- A federal judge dismissed a major portion of Advanced Micro Devices Inc.'s antitrust lawsuit against archrival Intel Corp., ruling that AMD cannot sue in the United States for Intel's alleged monopolistic tactics overseas.

The judge also set a trial date of April 27, 2009, for AMD to argue that Intel forced major customers into exclusive deals and offered secret rebates to undercut AMD in the market for microprocessors that act as the brains of computers.

U S District Judge Joseph J. Farnan Jr. set the 2009 trial date yesterday, a day after stripping a key component from AMD's lawsuit, which alleges anticompetitive practices in several countries including Britain, Germany, and Japan.

On Tuesday, the Delaware-based judge ruled that AMD failed to prove that Intel's alleged strong-arm tactics abroad had ``direct, substantial, and foreseeable effects" on AMD's operations in the United States.

Santa Clara-based Intel, the world's largest computer chip maker, argued that AMD should not be able to sue in the United States for alleged lost sales of microprocessors that were made and sold in other countries. It also argued that part of AMD's case should be dismissed because AMD was seeking redress abroad for ``foreign commerce claims."

AMD, which filed its lawsuit in June 2005, maintains that the market for microprocessors is global and that Intel's conduct domestically and abroad are inextricably linked.

The ruling was a big win for Intel but much of the case remains intact.

``We are pleased that the judge understood and agreed with our argument and analysis of the law," said Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy. ``Nonetheless, we plan to vigorously defend ourselves on the remaining portions of this case."

AMD has not yet decided whether to appeal the ruling, said company spokesman Michael Silverman.

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