Two years after being embarrassed by charges that it wasn't handling its own documents properly during the discovery process, Intel is readily assembling an eerily similar case against AMD.
Almost two years ago, the Special Master appointed to handle the discovery and acquisition of documents in AMD's European antitrust case against Intel, found that Intel must turn over certain documents that AMD might be able to use in arguments against it, even if those documents are deemed inadmissible later. In the ensuing months, Intel had trouble finding everything AMD had asked for.
Four months before the actual antitrust trial is finally slated to officially begin, Intel is looking to force a similar situation upon AMD. Intel now claims it was never given access to non-Intel documents that AMD has already used in its arguments, and furthermore, that the European Commission may have used those documents in renewing its Statement of Objections against Intel last July without giving Intel the opportunity to even see them.
Claiming it was unfair to be accused of something whose details it isn't privy to, Intel has gone one big step further than it October 10 appeal of the EC's renewal, filing a new and separate lawsuit against the EC itself last week in the Court of First Instance. The company is seeking an annulment of a decision by the Hearing Officer for the case not to procure the documents Intel has been asking for.
"The contested decisions concern the refusal on the part of the Commission to procure, particularly from the complainant [AMD] in this case, certain documentary evidence that the applicant [Intel] claims to be directly relevant to the allegations made by the Commission in the [Supplementary Statement of Objections]," reads the official summary of the charges in the Official Journal of the European Union, published last week. "The Hearing Officer has also rejected Intel's submission that it cannot respond properly to the SSO without being provided with these documents, and has refused to further extend the deadline for Intel to file its reply to the SSO."
Intel is claiming that the Hearing Officer's decisions contain errors in law, and further that not sharing the documents used by the HO in drawing his conclusions renders the entire EC investigation "discriminatory and partial."
Spokesperson for Intel Chuck Mulloy told BetaNews this afternoon, "We have taken this step in order get additional documents into the case file so that Intel can conduct an effective defense. We asked the Directorate General of Competition and the Hearing Officer to get the additional documents and they declined. We are asking the [Court of First Instance] to reverse those decisions. To us, it's simply a matter of us exercising right to defend ourselves."
Mulloy declined to go into detail as to the nature of the undisclosed documents. Though AMD had been responding to court filings vigorously through its "Break Free" legal affairs Web site, that company has published nothing new on its front against Intel since last August.