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U.S. Buyers Only in Fight Over Pricey Hardware

OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) - A class action against semiconductor companies that allegedly conspired to fix the price of a memory device used in cell phones and computers will go forward, but only for memory purchases that were billed domestically, a federal judge ruled.

Customers from 25 states say the alleged conspirators - Samsung Electronics, Cypress Semiconductor and Alliance Semiconductor - overcharged them for Static Random Access Memory (SRAM) in violation of the Sherman Act and state consumer protection laws.

In their motion to dismiss, the manufacturer defendants argued SRAM purchases made outside the United States should be subject to foreign antitrust law.

U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken found that while plaintiffs "have shown a direct, substantial and reasonably foreseeable effect of defendants' conduct on United States domestic commerce when SRAM is billed to the United States," foreign purchases of SRAM are another matter.

The judge granted the companies' motion to dismiss based on transactions where SRAM was "billed from or shipped from the United States, but billed and shipped to another country." She denied the motion, however, for SRAM purchased in the U.S.

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