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Intel dealt blow by high court in EU probe

Intel has to turn over certain confidential documents for its case in Europe. This ruling comes from the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday. The documents themselves were produced in a legal dispute between Intergraph and Intel. AMD sees them these documents as the leverage they need over in Europe.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled 7-1 that confidential Intel documents can be turned over for use in a European antitrust investigation of the chipmaker's business practices.

The case arose out of an antitrust complaint that Advanced Micro Devices, Intel's archrival, filed with the European Union's Directorate-General for Competition. Filed in the early part of the decade, AMD alleged that Intel unfairly used marketing funds to prevent competitors from landing deals with PC makers. AMD recommended that the EU seek documents that Intel had filed in an unrelated private antitrust case in an Alabama federal court.

Monday's ruling by the high court, which gives a California court wide discretion in permitting or refusing AMD's request, could lend more ammunition to the European Commission's ongoing scrutiny of Intel. The investigation was opened in 2001 and had been quiet until this month, when the commission opened a new round of inquiries. Intel had told the U.S. Supreme Court that AMD had only limited rights to seek disclosure of documents, but the court disagreed. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in the majority opinion that federal law "authorizes, but does not require, discovery assistance," and that the lower courts could "determine what, if any, assistance is appropriate" during further proceedings in the case.

News source: C|Net News.com

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