Technology giant Microsoft must wait to hear if has to ‘arbitrate’ antitrust claims of price fixing against a number of Asian lithium-ion battery makers.
US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers is yet to make a decision on Microsoft’s business dispute against Japanese firms Sony, Panasonic and Hitachi, and Korean company Samsung, reported US media outlet Courthouse News Service (CNS).
The four firms are accused of conspiring to fix prices of lithium-ion cells and batteries from January 1, 2000 to May 31, 2011.
Sony started a motion to compel Microsoft to arbitrate its claims in the multidistrict class action in which Samsung, Panasonic and Hitachi are also defendants.
At issue is an arbitration agreement between Nokia and Sony. Microsoft bought Nokia’s mobile device business in 2013— the company claims Nokia paid too much for batteries during the above period of time.
CNS wrote: “Sony says the agreement covers ‘all disputes related to [Nokia’s] commercial relationship with Sony regarding lithium-ion batteries’ and requires that disputes over its scope and the arbitrability of claims be resolved by an arbitrator, not a court.
“Microsoft responded that the arbitration agreement does not cover the first 18 months of the conspiracy period. It wants to litigate the pre-agreement claims for damages and injunctive relief, and to send the post-agreement damages claims to arbitration.”
Sony agreed in May to settle for $19.5 million, making it the first defendant to do so.