A long-standing price-fixing lawsuit between HP Inc. and Quanta Storage has come to a close, with HP expecting to gain control of Quanta Storage's assets in lieu of the massive $438.7 million judgement.
The judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in January ruled that Quanta Storage and Quanta Storage America together owed $438,650,000 to HP. However, Quanta Storage had appealed both the amount of the judgement and its enforcement. However, the Court Friday affirmed the money judgement in the case, and affirmed the turnover of assets to settle that amount.
The case started in late 2013 when what was then known as Hewlett-Packard filed suit against seven manufacturers of optical disk drives for conspiring to artificially inflate the prices of those drives.
Hewlett-Packard in late 2015 split into two separate companies, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and HP Inc. HP Inc. inherited the lawsuit.
Six of the optical disk drive vendors--NEC, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, TEAC, and Toshiba--eventually settled with HP over the allegations that they conspired to inflate the prices of optical disk drives that were installed in HP PCs. However, the seventh, Quanta Storage, did not, leading to the protracted lawsuit.
An HP Inc. spokesperson, in response to a CRN request for more information, said via email, "We are pleased with the court’s decision. HP remains committed to holding suppliers accountable for wrongful price-fixing."
CRN was unable to contact Taiwan-based Quanta Storage to request further information.
A jury trial determined in October of 2019 that Quanta Storage overcharged HP $176.3 million for the optical drives it sold HP from 2003 to 2009, according to a June 5, 2020 court document obtained by CRN. Quanta Storage appealed, but lost the appeal, and HP was awarded triple damages less some payments it received in settlement, setting the way for the final amount to go to HP of $438,650,000.
HP in early 2020 attempted to collect the money, asking for a sheriff or constable to take possession of Quanta Storage's property and sell it to pay HP.
However, according to the court document, Quanta Storage responded that the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic slowed it down, and then said Taiwan law and "principles of international comity" prevented the judgment-recognition process in that country. The Court rejected those arguments, but agreed with Quanta Storage's assertion that it needed time to assess the value of its assets in Taiwan and China, and therefore cancelled for now the May 1, 2020 deadline to turn those assets over to HP.