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DRAM Manufacturers Collude to Raise Prices Antitrust Class Action

This class action concerns allegations of an antitrust conspiracy between makers of DRAM. DRAM—dynamic random access memory—is a form of semiconductor memory. It is used in personal computers, network servers, cell phones, tablets, televisions, cameras, and in industrial applications. The complaint alleges that companies in the Micron, Samsung, and SK Hynix families entered into a conspiracy to cease competition and hold DRAM production below the level of demand in order to raise prices and keep them high.

The complaint details a number of actions it alleges the companies took to carry out their antitrust scheme. Many of these are based on the statements of a confidential witness, whom the complaint names only as CW1. Some of the allegations include the following:

That DRAM prices had been falling in 2014 and 2015, as the companies competed in the market.

That Samsung in 2016 intentionally leaked plans to limit supply and raise prices, to encourage Micron and Hynix to do the same.

That, from early 2016, the companies signaled to each other with public statements and actions “that effectuated an agreement … to artificially restrict supply growth of DRAM…”

That DRAM prices doubled between 2016 and 2017, as the companies “intentionally restricted supply so that it grew [more slowly] than demand.”

That, during 2017, the companies “repeatedly reassured each other that, unlike in previous periods, each would not respond to rising prices and strong demand with increased supply growth.” They would instead “keep supply growth below demand growth by not adding wafer capacity and not seeking to take market share from each other.”

In early 2018, the rise in DRAM prices stopped. The complaint notes that this was “just after China’s antitrust regulator, the NDRC, announced that it had begun an investigation into the DRAM industry due to the noticeable and sharp rise in the price of DRAM…”

The complaint claims, “In February 2018, it was reported that NDRC and Samsung signed a Memorandum of Understanding that would result in moderations to price increases of DRAM in 2018.” Also reported was that in May the NDRC met with Micron to express concern about price increases. In April, Hynix announced it would add wafer capacity by 6-7% per year in order to meet demand growth.”

An official of the NDRC spoke about “coordinated action taken by a number of companies, pushing the price of the product as high as possible to gain maximum profits.”

The class for this action, for injunctive relief, is all persons and entities living in the US who bought, paid for, or provided reimbursement for some or all of the purchase price for DRAM devices, between June 1, 2016 and February 1, 2018. These devices include computers, network servers, cell phones, tablets, computer graphical processing units, and computer DRAM memory products.

Subclasses have also been defined for damages, under the laws of the Indirect Purchaser States, and for individual states.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Antitrust

Most Recent Case Event

DRAM Manufacturers Collude to Raise Prices Antitrust Complaint

May 3, 2021

This class action concerns allegations of an antitrust conspiracy between makers of DRAM. DRAM—dynamic random access memory—is a form of semiconductor memory. It is used in personal computers, network servers, cell phones, tablets, televisions, cameras, and in industrial applications. The complaint alleges that companies in the Micron, Samsung, and SK Hynix families entered into a conspiracy to cease competition and hold DRAM production below the level of demand in order to raise prices and keep them high.

DRAM Manufacturers Collude to Raise Prices Antitrust Complaint

Case Event History

DRAM Manufacturers Collude to Raise Prices Antitrust Complaint

May 3, 2021

This class action concerns allegations of an antitrust conspiracy between makers of DRAM. DRAM—dynamic random access memory—is a form of semiconductor memory. It is used in personal computers, network servers, cell phones, tablets, televisions, cameras, and in industrial applications. The complaint alleges that companies in the Micron, Samsung, and SK Hynix families entered into a conspiracy to cease competition and hold DRAM production below the level of demand in order to raise prices and keep them high.

DRAM Manufacturers Collude to Raise Prices Antitrust Complaint
Tags: Antitrust, Collusion and Price Fixing, Constraining of Supply