Feeds

Intel ordered to dish documents on deleted antitrust lawsuit e-mails

Internal interviews must be disclosed to AMD

High performance access to file storage

AMD vs Intel Intel has been ordered to hand over secret employee interviews from an internal investigation looking into documents and e-mails that went missing during its antitrust trial with AMD.

The chip giant tried to shield itself from full disclosure of the interviews by claiming they were protected by attorney-client privileges. Intel asked the court to instead accept a summary and self-vindicating conclusion of the investigation as proof the e-mails weren't deleted maliciously.

But Special Master Vincent Poppiti, who is appointed to hear evidence from both companies, has concluded that a pat on the back without evidence isn't good enough.

The latest ruckus in the AMD vs. Intel antitrust lawsuit actually began way back in Fall 2005, when Intel first discovered its rival was suing over alleged anti-competitive practices.

As Intel tells the story, it immediately rolled out a firm, clear document retention policy — three-pronged, like a fancy dessert fork: (1) It began taking e-mail and document snapshots on the server and collecting documents from certain employees. (2) Sent a memo to sales and marketing squads, asking them to retain relevant documents. (3) Asked certain employees to store key documents and e-mails on external backup tapes on a weekly basis.

But the plan hit a brick wall pretty damn fast and hard. Some of those certain employees didn't follow instructions, and a lot of e-mail and documents never went to backup. That's especially bothersome because Intel also decided not to turn off the "auto delete" function of its e-mail system, which removes all mail in an employees mailbox after 35 days. Intel also admitted some "issues" with the "overall coverage of the back-up tapes," and that some of the weekly back-up tapes were actually being recycled after one year.

In February 2007, Intel told AMD and the court that it had discovered serious lapses in the retention plan. What Intel didn't say at the time was it had hired attorneys at the law firm Weil Gotshal & Manges to begin a process of interviewing some 1,023 employees in order to determine their e-mail preservation habits (or lack thereof as it were).

The next month, Intel told the court it would give AMD a list of the offending employees and description of their preservation failures, and provide a better total scope of the issue. The resulting spreadsheet report — which was based on the Weil interviews — claimed that Intel's preservation efforts were simply "misunderstandings or errors by individual employees" and its "investigation has revealed no instance of deliberate deletion to deny AMD access to any information responsive to the allegations in the Complaint."

AMD wasn't very impressed by that conclusion. It shortly filed a motion to get the documents Intel was using as proof of its innocence. Intel replied that it would be happy to produce "relevant documents" from the investigation, but that full document disclosure would be a potential violation of attorney-client privilege and work product doctrine. The interviews, Intel argued, are essentially the same as a lawyer's personal notes.

But AMD argued that Intel only provided the court with "self-serving summaries" of the Weil interviews for the purpose of convincing the court its preservation failures were only a result of human error. It couldn't argue against Intel's claims without seeing the original documents themselves.

Today, the Special Master has ruled that because Intel used the interviews as proof, it in effect waived the attorney-client privilege on the documents.

From the Special Master's filing:

"AMD and the Class Plaintiffs cannot in fairness be expected to blindly rely on Intel's assertions in performing their critically important role of fully informing the Court on the issue."

The only information that will be redacted from the documents given to AMD will be "core work-product," or material that reflects the mental processes of the attorney to analyze and prepare for the case.

Intel has five businesses days to produce the information, unless objections are taken at that time.

A copy of the order is available here. (PDF warning.) ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Report: Apple seeking to raise iPhone 6 price by a HUNDRED BUCKS
'Well, that 5c experiment didn't go so well – let's try the other direction'
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Feast your PUNY eyes on highest resolution phone display EVER
Too much pixel dust for your strained eyeballs to handle
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Nvidia gamers hit trifecta with driver, optimizer, and mobile upgrades
Li'l Shield moves up to Android 4.4.2 KitKat, GameStream comes to notebooks
AMD unveils Godzilla's graphics card – 'the world's fastest, period'
The Radeon R9 295X2: Water-cooled, 5,632 stream processors, 11.5TFLOPS
Sony battery recall as VAIO goes out with a bang, not a whimper
The perils of having Panasonic as a partner
NORKS' own smartmobe pegged as Chinese landfill Android
Fake kit in the hermit kingdom? That's just Kim Jong-un-believable!
Gimme a high S5: Samsung Galaxy S5 puts substance over style
Biometrics and kid-friendly mode in back-to-basics blockbuster
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.