International Business Machines Corp. has asked a federal judge to impose sanctions on attorneys for Litton Industries because Litton charged that IBM and American Telephone & Telegraph Co. conspired to limit competition in the telephone equipment business.
The charges surfaced during an antitrust trial in New York, in which Litton is seeking about $600 million in damages from AT&T. Litton has charged AT&T with numerous monopolistic practices which the company says led to a Litton decision to abandon the equipment field.
In a prepared statement, IBM said, "There is no conspiracy between IBM and AT&T or any other company, and never has been." An IBM spokesman said yesterday that the requested sanctions include attorneys' fees and expenses connected with answering the charges.
Litton's attorneys, of the Washington firm of Howrey & Simon, have asked U.S. District Judge William Conner, who is hearing the case, to permit the introduction of evidence that they say indicates that AT&T officials, including former AT&T Chairman John deButts, convinced IBM officials not to get into the telephone equipment business.
Conner is expected to hear arguments on the introduction of the evidence next week. On Thursday, Conner said he is "inclined" to bar the evidence from use in the Litton case.