Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Nvidia Settles Price Fixing Lawsuit

By - Source: Tom's Hardware | B 34 comments

A recent major class action lawsuit that was brought against both Nvidia and ATI for conspiring to fix, raise, maintain and stabilize prices of graphics processing chips and cards may soon be coming to a resolution.

According to a 8-K form filed on 24 September, Nvidia has put forth a settlement agreement to resolve the class action lawsuit brought against it and ATI. The settlement would have both ATI and Nvidia each paying $850,000 to the certified class, for a combined $1.7 million. While that agreement is still subject to court approval, a second settlement agreement has already been agreed to by the remaining individual indirect purchaser plaintiffs in the action. It would seem $112,500 is to be paid “in exchange for a dismissal of all claims and appeals related to the Action raised by the individual indirect purchaser plaintiffs.

The class action lawsuit against both Nvidia and ATI was filed in late August of this year, by plaintiffs Jordan Walker and Michael Bensingor. According to the plaintiffs, Nvidia and ATI allegedly violated federal antitrust laws by conspiring “to fix, raise, maintain and stabilize prices of graphics processing chips and cards.” As well, the plaintiffs contended that both Nvidia and ATI were unlawfully colluding “to coordinate new product introductions.” The plaintiffs were seeking “triple damages, attorney fees and the costs under the federal antitrust laws.” The certified class is limited to “all individuals and entities who purchased graphics processing card products online from the defendants’ websites in the United States during the period from December 4, 2002 to November 7, 2007.

According to the lawsuit, ATI and Nvidia had denied the allegations. Back in earlier September though, Tom’s Hardware obtained exhibit documents that showed alleged conspiring between top executives and managers of ATI and Nvidia. One of the documents showed an alleged email conversation between Dan Vivoli of Nvidia and Dave Orton of ATI, in which Dan wrote:

"I really think we should work harder together on the marketing front. As you and I have talked about, even though we are competitors, we have the common goal of making our category a well positioned, respected playing field. $5 and $8 stocks are the result of no respect."

Without admitting any wrong doing, it would appear ATI and Nvidia have avoided a possibly nasty legal case in which a potential guilty verdict may have been found. A settlement does not admit guilt, as a quick settlement could be beneficial even for an innocent party, though it still raises some suspicion. By agreeing to a settlement, it would seem ATI and Nvidia have chosen not to challenge the accusations made against them.

At this time, it’s still uncertain how affected consumers will be able to get a slice of the $1.7 million pool.

Display 34 Comments.
This thread is closed for comments
  • 9 Hide
    starhoof , September 29, 2008 5:39 PM
    well well, just when you think everything is competition between ATI and NVIDIA something like this comes up.....
    what a dissapointment
  • 7 Hide
    spaztic7 , September 29, 2008 5:41 PM
    How about anyone who bought a card between those years get some moneies back!
  • -2 Hide
    falchard , September 29, 2008 5:44 PM
    Sweet, does this mean I get 1~3 times as much as I paid for video cards in that timeframe? For me thats over $1000
  • 7 Hide
    snarfies1 , September 29, 2008 5:46 PM
    spaztic7How about anyone who bought a card between those years get some moneies back!


    What usually happens with these class action settlements is that the lawyers get 90% of the settlement, and the end consumers get 10%-off coupons for the next Nvidia and/or ATI purchase. Feh.
  • 0 Hide
    pug_s , September 29, 2008 6:17 PM
    I just got a Geforce 9600 GSO for $36 after rebate. Compared to processors, video cards are pretty affordable. This lawsuit is kind of dumb.
  • 9 Hide
    Donald McRonald , September 29, 2008 6:49 PM
    SatansCradleThats All people do is wine and cry, in my opinion the prices are very good and the prices keep falling. We can only benefit from this "price fixing".


    Are you stupid or something? "price fixing" is meant to thwart the dropping of prices due to competition. When both sides agree to settling their prices, their is "no" competitive pricing which means you are being screwed over and paying more.
  • 5 Hide
    Pei-chen , September 29, 2008 7:05 PM
    Nice, 1.7 million fines. It means I can get about $0.75 as one of the millions of people who bought a video card during the aforementioned time frame.
  • 0 Hide
    rocky1234 , September 29, 2008 7:21 PM
    this is simply to funny to not comment on someone thinks they paid to much for a video card so they dig up some dirt & file a suit in court. So who gets all this money that they won. If its these 2 guys then they just were in it for the money if they are gonna share the wealth with others involved that's not as bad but still pretty stupid.

    I bought 3 cards in that time from 2 ATI's & 1 Nvidia all were in the 650 to $750 range wheres my money I want some back too...lol. No just kidding on that. If these guys were selling or buying cards at those prices then its their fault that they paid what they did & its time for them to suck it up & deal with it like grown adults not whinny badies.

    If Nvida & ATI did what they said & tried to prove then have the gov fine them big slap their wrists & go on from there. I do not think these guys deserve this kind of pay back because all this is gonna do is open a big can of worms for more law suits files against Novidia & ATI & all that is gonna do is drive the prices up for everyone else so they can cover all the money lost to stupid people who nothing better to other than whack it & dial some greedy lawyer.
  • -4 Hide
    jaragon13 , September 29, 2008 7:30 PM
    So,what is the deal here?

    Hell,I should sue Intel and AMD for price gouging.

    >.>
  • 4 Hide
    Evolution2001 , September 29, 2008 8:52 PM
    Note in the verbiage that it says (people) who bought products from defendants' websites. How many people have ever bought their card directly from ATI.com or nVidia.com? And how many of those people still have their proof of purchase from way back when. I think the number of people able to get a payout from this just dropped to .00001%.
  • 6 Hide
    shoota , September 29, 2008 11:14 PM
    Why is the title of this article "Nvidia Settles Price Fixing Lawsuit" and not "Nvidia and Ati Settle Price Fixing Lawsuit"? They both paid out the same amount of money.. man I'm getting tired of Tom's acting like there's only one graphics card company...
  • -3 Hide
    nachowarrior , September 30, 2008 12:39 AM
    this is stupid, because if any moron bought a card directly from the mfg website they knew they were getting ripped off, and if they didn't it's not like you can't get the cards from several thousand retailers/e-tailers.... seems fair enough to me... and yes the article specifically says "from the mfg website".

    “all individuals and entities who purchased graphics processing card products online from the defendants’ websites in the United States during the period from December 4, 2002 to November 7, 2007.”

    one more stupid lawsuit... if it was a real 'rip off' then it would apply to EVERYONE who bought a card from anywhere.
  • -2 Hide
    noobe1981 , September 30, 2008 12:48 AM
    Personally I don't see this "price fixing" their talking about. I know what it is, but it sure doesn't seem like their not competing against each other. Their prices are far from outrageous. Other then the high end cards, but um no duh. Maybe conspiracy to price fix, but it sure don't ever looked like it went into practice.

    Now if we could only sue these oil companys for price gouging.. Which while not quite the same princable sure in the hell close enough. lol
  • 2 Hide
    smalltime0 , September 30, 2008 1:27 AM
    ^I believe it was the Nvidia lawer teams idea... AMD just agreed to the terms.
  • 2 Hide
    cruiseoveride , September 30, 2008 1:49 AM
    What does this mean for me?

    Do I get money back for overpaying on Nvidia hardware?
  • 2 Hide
    randomizer , September 30, 2008 2:56 AM
    Evolution2001Note in the verbiage that it says (people) who bought products from defendants' websites. How many people have ever bought their card directly from ATI.com or nVidia.com? And how many of those people still have their proof of purchase from way back when. I think the number of people able to get a payout from this just dropped to .00001%.

    This means that the payout could be quite decent for the 500 or so people who bought cards direct from the manufacturer and still have the receipt.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 30, 2008 7:01 AM
    While that agreement is still subject to court approval, a second settlement agreement has already been agreed to by the remaining individual indirect purchaser plaintiffs in the action. It would seem $112,500 is to be paid "in exchange for a dismissal of all claims and appeals related to the Action raised by the individual indirect purchaser plaintiffs."

    **

    So does that mean that people who bought directly from ATi/Nvidia get the $1.7 million, while those of us who bought indirectly get only $100K?

    **

    Also, the lawsuit covers a 5 year span. So how long, and in what ways, did these companies fix prices?

    I have a feeling that this price inflating didn't go on the entire time, especially not when one company had an advantage(better GPU) over the other.
  • 1 Hide
    Tindytim , September 30, 2008 7:10 AM
    The Real question is whether or not they come out on top with this.

    It pissed me off with the whole Walmart illegal immigrant deal, because Walmart paid out less then it would have cost to hire as many full time workers, as they used illegals. And the point isn't to get reimbursement, it's supposed to punish the company so they don't have an incentive to do it again.

    Does only charging Nvidia and ATI for products that were bought on their site, then allowing them to settle, not only reimburse those effected, but punish both companies?
  • 2 Hide
    invisik , September 30, 2008 11:15 AM
    SatansCradleThats All people do is wine and cry, in my opinion the prices are very good and the prices keep falling. We can only benefit from this "price fixing".


    ur an idiot!
    the prices r much better now but previously they charged well over 600$ for a high end cards. right now the top of the line cards from nvidia is 400$ and 549$ ati. they made alot of cash messing with there customers. They should give back like 15% back of the total cost of the graphic card that ppl bought a while back.
Display more comments