Capacitors are small electrical components found in the circuit boards of electrical and electronic devices. They can perform various functions, however they are most commonly used for managing the release of power to other components of a system or device when required. Capacitors come in a large variety of sizes and are made from many different materials.
Virtually every electrical and electronic system uses capacitors. They are fundamental components of all electrical circuitry. Indeed, almost every electronic device we currently use today relies on capacitors in some capacity. An average smart phone for example, employs between 300 to 500 different capacitors. Other computer systems such as those used in personal computers, automobiles, and heavy machinery also use hundreds of capacitors.
Though individual capacitors are small and relatively inexpensive products, the global market for capacitors is huge. In 2013, global revenues for all manufacturers in the capacitor industry totaled approximately $16 billion. Industry analysts currently estimate that global revenues will reach over $18 billion for the fiscal year 2014 and over $20 billion by 2016. The increase is in revenue projections is not surprising given the world’s ever-increasing dependence on technology and the corresponding rise in demand for electronic devices that utilize capacitor components.
Unfortunately, as seen over the past decade in markets for other electronics products, the multi-billion dollar market for capacitors is one susceptible to anticompetitive manipulation. This past June, reports surfaced that the U.S. Justice Department’s Antitrust Division was actively investigating alleged anticompetitive conduct among capacitor manufacturers – specifically in the worldwide market for aluminum and tantalum electrolytic capacitors. These reports indicate that the Justice Department is likely coordinating its investigation with counterpart-agencies across Asia and Europe. Several Japanese companies have been raided and at least one has applied for the Justice Department’s leniency program, which grants immunity from prosecution to the first conspirator to report collusive conduct.
The Department of Justice’s investigation has also spawned multiple lawsuits against capacitor manufacturers. These lawsuits primarily concern collusive action on the part of the manufacturers in relation to the market for aluminum and tantalum electrolytic capacitors. Since the early 2000s, the demand for these capacitor product lines has waned as device manufacturers have moved towards using smaller, even cheaper, and more efficient products. The lawsuits allege that the manufacturer defendants mutually agreed to fix prices for aluminum and tantalum electrolytic capacitors and to restrain their respective product output through adding and extending product lead times. Not only did this collusive conduct allow the manufacturer defendants to profit unfairly at the expense of capacitor-purchasers, it is alleged that the wrongdoing created an artificial market and caused economic damage to all similarly situated capacitor-purchasers.
Have You Been a Victim of Price-Fixing?
Attorneys affiliated with Attorney Group have experience in the prosecution of antitrust claims. If you feel you have been the victim of a price-fixing scheme or other anti-trust violation, contact us today. We offer free, no-obligation consultations to anyone who has purchased capacitors, in any quantity, from one or more of the direct manufacturers listed below. We can help you determine if you have a claim. If you do, we can connect you with an affiliated attorney able to guide you through the complex legal process. We can answer your questions, address your concerns, and inform you of your options.
If you purchased a capacitor directly from any of the manufacturers listed below over the past ten years, call now at (888) 888-0612:
- Aihua Group
- Cooper Power
- HS AIC
- Hua Jung
- NEC Tokin
- Nippon Chemi-con
- Sam Young
- Shizuki Electric
- Taiyo Yuden
- Toshin Kogyo
- United Chemi-con
Contact Attorney Group today for a free consultation to find out more: (888) 888-0612