Price-Fixing Claims|Grow Against Panasonic

      SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – The second antitrust claim in a week has expanded allegations that Panasonic and others conspired to fix prices of resistors, one of the world’s most widely used electrical components.
     Lead plaintiff Chip Tech’s antitrust complaint Monday followed an Aug. 18 class action from Microsystems Development Technologies et al., alleging collusion and price-fixing in linear resistors.
     Chip Tech’s class action claims the defendants also fixed for non-linear resistors. Both types of resistors reduce the flow of current and regulate voltage.
     “Resistors are an essential component of all electronic circuits,” Chip Tech says in its complaint. “All electronic devices in common use today – from the cheapest household appliances to personal computers to multimillion-dollar computerized machinery – employ various electrical circuits working in concert to perform their functions.”
     The resistors industry raked in about $4.5 billion in global sales in 2014, and analysts predict revenue will surpass $5 billion in fiscal year 2015.
     Like the Microsystems complaint, Chip Tech cites recent investigations of price fixing in the resistors market, launched by the U.S. Department of Justice and foreign antitrust authorities in Japan and Korea.
     The 17 defendants in the new lawsuit include Panasonic, AVX Corp., KEMET Electronics, ROHM Co., TDK Corp., Vishay Intertechnology and their subsidiaries and affiliates.
     Chip Tech seeks class certification, a permanent injunction and damages for direct purchases of resistors.
     It is represented by Joseph Saveri and Solomon Cera.

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