January 3, 2014 – January 10, 2014
The summaries provided in this Weekly Recap do not necessarily represent the views of Squire Sanders (US) LLP and should not be deemed to be endorsements of them. The Recap is intended to be a compilation of articles and events to encourage discussion within the conflict minerals community and to keep our readers updated on the most recent developments.

U.S. Appeals Court hears Conflict Minerals Arguments, Voices Concern

On Tuesday, January 7, 2014, a three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit heard oral arguments over the conflict minerals rule. Those attending the arguments observed the court’s skepticism with the rule, specifically from the two conservative judges on the panel, David Sentelle and A. Raymond Randolph, appointees of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, respectively.

As of now, there is no timetable set for when a decision may be made.

To read more about the oral arguments, check out our editorial blog post, as well as commentary from the Wall Street Journal and Reuters.

Intel Announces Processors are “Conflict-Free”

The same day the conflict minerals oral arguments were held being held in a US appeals court, Intel, an American multinational semiconductor chip maker, announced at the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show that its processors are now conflict free.

According to the Associated Press, Intel is the first major U.S. technology company to make such claim. Carolyn Duran, manager of Intel’s conflict minerals program, assured the community that Intel has not left the region and will continue buying from the region. Duran stated, “We are not intending to leave the region behind.”

Amnesty International USA Speaks Out in Support of Conflict Minerals Rule

Prior to the oral arguments on the challenge to the conflict minerals rule, which took place on January 7, 2014 in front of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, Amnesty International USA, a non-governmental organization that works to protect human rights, released a statement critical of the conflict minerals rule legal challenge.

In its statement, Steven W. Hawkins, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, stated, “This legal challenge to the Conflict Minerals Rule is nothing but a crass effort by industry groups to put profits ahead of principles.” In commenting on the legal strategy being used by the industry groups (i.e., arguing, among other things, that the conflict minerals rule violates their First Amendment rights), Mr. Hawkins argues, “This First Amendment challenge to the Conflict Minerals Rule is particularly nefarious and is simply wrong. Companies can’t hide behind the First Amendment to avoid reporting factual information as part of securities disclosure requirements.”

Amnesty International is an intervenor-respondent in the conflict minerals legal challenge and is defending the rule as implemented.