By Davy Karkason
Founding Attorney

In 2004, the United States Supreme Court resolved a circuit split over 28 U.S.C. § 1782(a) discovery in international arbitrations after taking up the case of Intel Corp v Advanced Micro Devices Inc. The ruling was seen as a major victory for businesses engaging in international arbitration proceedings as it established that foreign arbitral tribunals may be compelled to give testimony or produce documents under certain circumstances. However, despite the ruling, there are still several unresolved questions that remain unanswered and could have lasting implications for future arbitration proceedings.

What happened between Intel Corp. and AMD?

The dispute arose out of an ongoing antitrust dispute between Intel Corporation (“Intel”) and Advanced Micro Devices (“AMD”), two semiconductor companies that operate globally. AMD sought documents from Intel located within U.S borders by filing an application under 28 USC § 1782 before a district court judge in Delaware seeking to compel discovery from Intel for use in its arbitration proceedings with Intel before the London-based International Chamber of Commerce (“ICC”). The district court granted AMD’s application, but on appeal, the Third Circuit reversed on grounds that § 1782 could not be used for “disputes about disputes pending abroad.” The Supreme Court granted certiorari to resolve this circuit split and unanimously determined that AMD could obtain discovery from Intel for its ICC arbitration pursuant to §1782(a). However, beyond granting AMD’s request for pre-arbitral discovery from Intel, it left unanswered several important questions regarding how district courts should go about exercising their discretion when evaluating §1782 applications involving international arbitrations going forward.

What is the effect of the ruling of In Intel Corp v AMD?

The Supreme Court’s decision resolved a circuit split over whether district courts have authority under Section 1782 to order the production of documents during an ongoing arbitration proceeding where neither party has requested assistance from the court because both parties have agreed to arbitrate their dispute according to terms set forth in an agreement that requires resolution through arbitration rather than litigation or other forms of dispute resolution outside of court supervision and rulings by judges or juries.. The Court ruled that parties may seek assistance from district courts even when they have not requested such assistance, provided they can show a good cause why they need it and why they cannot obtain it any other way without undue hardship or delay due to matters unique to their case – such as if one party is attempting to hide relevant evidence through obstructionist tactics during pre-arbitration discovery proceedings overseen by an arbitrator with limited power and resources relative to those available through federal district courts.. Ultimately, this decision allows for parties involved in arbitration proceedings who require further evidence than what is available through pre-arbitration discovery processes provided for under their agreement — but which is not readily accessible elsewhere

What Does the Ruling Mean?

The Supreme Court’s ruling makes it clear that 28 U.S.C. § 1782(a) can be used to compel foreign arbitral tribunals to provide testimony or documents even if those tribunals are located outside of the United States and operating completely independently from any US court or government agency. This means that businesses involved in international arbitration proceedings can now seek relief from US courts when they require evidence or information from a foreign tribunal which might otherwise be unavailable due to jurisdictional issues or other restrictions imposed by the foreign tribunal itself. See 28 U.S. Code § 1782 – Assistance to foreign and international tribunals and to litigants before such tribunals | U.S. Code | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute (

Unanswered Questions

Despite this major victory for businesses engaged in international arbitration proceedings, there remain several unresolved questions surrounding how this ruling applies to specific cases and situations. For example, while it is now clear that 28 U.S.C § 1782(a) can be used to compel foreign tribunals to provide evidence and information during an arbitration proceeding, it is unclear whether this applies only to domestic parties seeking information from a foreign tribunal or if it also applies to foreign parties seeking information from a domestic tribunal operating within the United States. Additionally, it is also unclear what types of documents will be considered discoverable under this new interpretation of 28 U.S.C § 1782(a). As such, these unanswered questions have left many legal professionals and businesses uncertain about how exactly this ruling will affect their future arbitration proceedings involving foreign tribunals going forward.


The recent Supreme Court ruling on 28 U.S.C § 1782 discovery was an important victory for many businesses involved in international arbitration proceedings as it establishes their right to receive testimony or documents from overseas tribunals in certain situations where such evidence would normally be inaccessible due to jurisdictional issues or other restrictions imposed by those same tribunals themselves. However, while this ruling has provided some much-needed clarity on many issues related to discovery within international arbitration proceedings, there remain several unresolved questions which could have lasting implications for both domestic and foreign parties involved in similar cases going forward—questions which will need further clarification before we can truly understand how this decision will affect parties engaging in future arbitration disputes with overseas tribunals moving forward. For more information about our international arbitration practice, visit International Arbitration Attorney – Transnational Matters


The U.S. supreme court narrowed down the rule and no longer foreign tribunal to use section 1782 for getting discovery.

About the Author
As a lawyer and the founder of Transnational Matters, Davy Aaron Karkason represents numerous international companies and a wide variety of industries in Florida, the U.S., and abroad. He is dedicated to fighting against unjust expropriation and unfair treatment of any individual or entity involved in an international matter. Mr. Karason received his B.A. in Political Science & International Relations with a Minor in Criminal Justice from Nova Southeastern University. If you have any questions about this article you can contact Davy Karkason through our contact page.