Davis Polk Defeats Indirect Purchaser Class Claims Against SD Card Flash Memory Joint Venture

Davis Polk has won a dismissal with prejudice of antitrust claims brought by an alleged class of indirect purchasers of SD Card Flash Memory devices. This ruling follows Davis Polk's defeat of similar claims brought by Samsung against SD-3C, a joint venture of Panasonic, SanDisk and Toshiba. The purported indirect purchaser class action and Samsung's case were both filed in federal court in San Francisco, and alleged that the creation of the SD Card Flash Memory standard and related patent pooling and licensing activities had harmed consumers and violated the antitrust laws. Samsung’s case was dismissed with prejudice in January 2012 and is now on appeal.

On May 21, 2012, Judge Jeffrey White of the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California dismissed the indirect purchasers' complaint without leave to amend, holding that the statute of limitations barred the complaint's state and federal antitrust claims in their entirety. As with Samsung's complaint, the plaintiffs' claims that excessive license fees were paid within the limitations period were not sufficient to restart the statute of limitations. The Court observed that to hold otherwise would be to find that "there would essentially be no statute of limitations bar to indirect purchaser claims."

Davis Polk continues to represent SD-3C in connection with the Samsung appeal in the Ninth Circuit.

The Davis Polk litigation team included partners Christopher B. Hockett and Neal A. Potischman, associates Rajesh S. James and Samantha Harper Knox, and legal assistant Felicia Yu. Members of the Davis Polk team are based in the Menlo Park and New York offices.

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