Verdicts & Settlements

Intel Agrees to Pay AMD $1.25B, Hires WilmerHale Partner as GC

The chipmaker Intel has hired a new general counsel and reached an agreement to pay Advanced Micro Devices $1.25 billion ito resolve all antitrust and patent cross-license disputes between the two companies.

“Wowza,” the Wall Street Journal Law Blog writes. “Color us surprised. For a while there, the AMD/Intel antitrust situation had all the makings of a battle for the ages.”

The deal was announced in a press release as news broke that Intel has hired a WilmerHale partner as its new general counsel, the Wall Street Journal Law Blog reports in a separate story. The new GC is Douglas Melamed, who served as acting assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, where he worked from 1996 to 2001. He replaces D. Bruce Sewell, who left Intel to become general counsel of Apple.

Earlier this year, Melamed was said to be on a short list of candidates to lead the Justice Department’s antitrust division.

AMD has agreed to drop suits against Intel in Japan and the United States, and is dropping complaints to antitrust regulators worldwide, the New York Times reports.

In May, the European Commission fined Intel a record $1.45 billion for using anti-competitive practices to keep AMD out of the market for computer chips. Jonathan Todd, the spokesman for European Union Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes, said the settlement does not affect the fine, but the commission “takes note that Intel and AMD have settled all their litigation and that Intel is paying AMD compensation of one-and-quarter billion dollars,” according to the Times account.

Earlier this month, the New York attorney general filed an antitrust suit against Intel that alleges the company paid kickbacks disguised as rebates to keep computer companies from using competitors’ chips.

Updated at 11:39 a.m. to include news of Intel’s new general counsel.

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