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Global Access Technical Support

The Federal Trade Commission reached settlements with a group of St. Louis-based defendants who used deceptive Internet pop-up ads to trick consumers into buying unnecessary technical support services.

Type of Action
Federal
Last Updated
FTC Matter/File Number
162 3095
X170001

Broadcom Limited/Brocade Communications Systems, In the Matter of

Broadcom Limited has agreed to establish a firewall to remedy the FTC’s concerns that its proposed $5.9 billion acquisition of Brocade Communications Systems, Inc. is anticompetitive. These concerns arise because of Broadcom’s current access to the confidential business information of Brocade’s major competitor, Cisco Systems, Inc., that could be used to restrain competition or slow innovation in the worldwide market for fibre channel switches.Fibre channel switches are part of storage area networks that transfer data between servers and storage arrays in data centers. Because fibre channel switches can quickly and securely transfer large amounts of data, they are often used for mission-critical applications. According to the complaint, San Jose, California-based Broadcom makes the fibre channel application specific integrated circuits, or ASICs, that are custom-tailored to carry out the functions of each switch. Brocade and Cisco are the only two competitors in the worldwide market for fibre channel switches, and Broadcom supplies both companies with ASICs to make fibre channel switches. The complaint alleges that Broadcom’s acquisition of Brocade could harm worldwide competition in the fibre channel switch market because as Cisco’s supplier, Broadcom has extensive access to Cisco’s competitively sensitive confidential information.  The FTC order prevents Brocade from using Cisco’s competitively sensitive confidential information for any purpose other than the design, manufacturing and sale of fibre channel ASICs for Cisco. It requires Broadcom’s business group responsible for developing, producing, selling and marketing fibre channel ASICs for Cisco to have separate facilities and a separate information technology system with security protocols that allow access only to authorized individuals, and provides for other information firewall protections. To assure compliance, the Commission will appoint a monitor for five years, and the Commission may extend the appointment for up to an additional five years.

Type of Action
Administrative
Last Updated
FTC Matter/File Number
171 0027
Jun04

Mobile Security: Potential Threats and Solutions

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On June 4, 2013, the Federal Trade Commission hosted a public forum to examine the state of mobile security. Mobile technologies, such as smartphones and tablets, provide consumers with an always...

Western Digital, In the Matter of

The FTC required Western Digital Corporation to sell assets used to manufacture and sell desktop hard disk drives to Toshiba Corporation as part of a proposed settlement that resolves charges that Western Digital's proposed acquisition of rival Hitachi Global Storage Technologies Ltd. would likely have harmed competition in the market for desktop hard disk drives used in personal computers. The proposed FTC order settles charges that the deal as originally proposed would have left only two companies, Western Digital and Seagate Technology LLC, in control of the entire worldwide market for desktop hard disk drives.

Type of Action
Administrative
Last Updated
FTC Matter/File Number
1110122
Docket Number
C-4350

Intel Corporation, In the Matter of

The Commission filed an administrative complaint against Intel Corp., the world’s leading computer chip maker, charging that the company had illegally used its dominant market position for a decade to stifle competition and strengthen its monopoly. The complaint alleged that Intel engaged in a course of conduct to shut out rivals’ competing microchips by cutting off their access to the marketplace. In particular, the complaint alleged that Intel unlawfully maintained its monopoly in relevant central processing unit, or CPU, markets, and sought to acquire a second monopoly in the relevant graphics markets, using a variety of unfair methods of competition. In August of 2010, Intel agreed to a settlement containing provisions that would undo the effects of Intel's past conduct, and prohibiting Intel from suppressing competition in the future.

Type of Action
Administrative
Last Updated
FTC Matter/File Number
061 0247
Docket Number
9341

Rambus Inc., In the Matter of

The Commission filed an administrative complaint charging that between 1991 and 1996 Rambus, Inc. joined and participated in the JEDEC Solid State Technology Association (JEDEC), the leading standard-setting industry for computer memory. According to the complaint, while a member of JEDEC, Rambus observed standard-setting work involving technologies which Rambus believed were or could be covered by its patent applications, but failed to disclose this to JEDEC. In 1999 and 2000, after JEDEC had adopted industry-wide standards incorporating the technologies at issue and the industry had become locked in to the use of those technologies, Rambus sought to enforce its patents against companies producing JEDEC-compliant memory, and collected substantial royalties from several producers of DRAM (dynamic random access memory).

The administrative law judge dismissed all charges against Rambus, finding that Rambus’ conduct before the JEDEC standard-setting organization did not amount to deception and did not violate any extrinsic duties, such as a duty of good faith to disclose patents or patent applications. Upon review, the FTC issued an opinion concluding that Rambus unlawfully monopolized markets for four computer memory technologies that have been incorporated into industry standards DRAM chips. The Commission found that, through a course of deceptive conduct, Rambus was able to distort a critical standard-setting process and engage in an anticompetitive “hold up” of the computer memory industry. In a separate opinion on the appropriate remedy, the Commission barred Rambus from making misrepresentations or omissions to standard-setting organizations, and required Rambus to license its SDRAM and DDR SDRAM technology and setting limits to the royalty rates it can collect under the licensing agreements.Tp>

Rambus appealed the Commission’s order to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and in April 2008, the appellate court set aside the Commissions final orders. The Supreme Court denied the Commission's Petition for Writ of Certiorari, and on May 14, 2009 the Commission formally dismissed the complaint.

Type of Action
Administrative
Last Updated
FTC Matter/File Number
011 0017
Docket Number
9302