US Report: Intel and FTC kick off

Intel Monday formally answered the Federal Trade Commission's antitrust complaint, maintaining it did not monopolise or attempt to monopolise any market, nor did it use any unfair methods of competition.In a 12-page reply, Intel attorneys offer a point-for-point rebuttal of every charge levied against the company by the FTC in early June.

Intel Monday formally answered the Federal Trade Commission's antitrust complaint, maintaining it did not monopolise or attempt to monopolise any market, nor did it use any unfair methods of competition.

In a 12-page reply, Intel attorneys offer a point-for-point rebuttal of every charge levied against the company by the FTC in early June.

The FTC has charged that Intel violated federal antitrust law by denying three customers - Intergraph Digital and Compaq - access to technical information after the companies separately sought to enforce patents against Intel.

While it admits to some actions, such as refusing to share its intellectual property and confidential information, Intel maintains the actions "did not and could not harm competition in any relevant market."

The company further states that "this is not an appropriate matter for action by the FTC. The allegations arise out of intellectual property disputes between Intel and three other major high-technology companies." Intel also replied to FTC statements regarding market conditions, saying: "Intel denies that a new [chip] entrant would have to establish both product reputation and technical compatibility with a computer operating system and the applications software desired by a significant number of computer users ... Intel denies that a new entrant must attract support from software developers."

Regarding Digital's Alpha processor and competition: "Intel admits that the words 'strategic emergency' and 'miracles' appear in one slide presentation, but denies that the company declared a strategic emergency and denies that the company viewed the performance of Alpha as a 'miracle.'" The reply refers to earlier FTC statements, which alleged that certain Intel documents declared Alpha's performance a miracle and that the company mounted a strategic emergency against it.

Intel admits it declined to license some intellectual property to Intergraph and requested the return of chip prototypes but it alleges that it was within its contractual and intellectual property rights to do so and, furthermore, that those actions are protected under doctrines of the First Amendment.

Finally, the microprocessor giant offers 10 "additional defences" that attack the FTC's case. "Intel demands judgement dismissing the Complaint with prejudice and with costs and such other and further relief as is deemed just and proper,'' the company says in its reply.

A hearing date for the FTC's suit against Intel has been set for Jan. 5, 1999.

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