SD Card Monopoly Claims Revived by 9th Circuit

     (CN) - Purchasers of SD digital memory cards did not wait too long to file antitrust claims against Panasonic, Toshiba and SanDisk, the 9th Circuit ruled Wednesday.
     This is the second case revived by the appellate court in as many months in which manufacturers face claims of having fixed prices and discouraged competition in the SD card market.
     The appeals court last month reversed dismissal of Samsung's allegations that Panasonic pushed an anticompetitive licensing agreement for the right to manufacture second-generation SD cards.
     In the present case, consumers of SD memory cards alleged similar violations of federal antitrust laws. As in the previous case, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White tossed them out of court in San Francisco for missing the four-year statute of limitations for such claims.
     A three-judge appellate panel reversed on Wednesday, noting that the deadline does not apply to claims for injunctive relief. The panel also found that the plaintiffs did not delay their claims to the defendants' detriment.
     "Here, plaintiffs allege ... that they purchased SD cards on or after March 15, 2007, which is within four years of March 15, 2011, the date on which this lawsuit was filed," Judge Richard Paez wrote for the unanimous panel. "Because plaintiffs allege that they were injured within the four-year limitations period, plaintiffs have alleged sufficient facts to show that laches does not bar their federal antitrust claim."
     In last month's case, a unanimous appeals panel said that Samsung had met the statute of limitations by alleging a "continuing violation."