RealTime IT News

Rambus Denies Document Destroying Charges

Beleaguered, litigious Rambus is vigorously denying it destroyed internal documents in "bad-faith" and is attempting to block a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) motion to declare a summary judgment against the Los Altos, Calif.-based semiconductor chip designer.

The FTC claims Rambus has forfeited its right to a trial because of its actions in allegedly destroying documents germane to an FTC action against the company.

The agency has charged Rambus with engaging in anti-competitive behavior, and if the agency is successful in its summary judgment motion, the next step would be directly to the punishment phase of the case.

If Rambus is unable to stop the FTC action, the company could be forced to forfeit more than a billion dollars in royalty claims for its chip designs. Rambus doesn't make or sell chips but collects patent royalties for its designs from chip makers such as Intel. The company's primary chip designs used to improve the speed of programs used for databases, digital photography and games.

In June of 2002, the FTC charged Rambus with violating federal antitrust laws by deliberately engaging in a pattern of anti-competitive acts and practices that served to deceive an industry-wide standard-setting organization, resulting in alleged adverse effects on competition and consumers. Last month, the FTC further charged Rambus with destroying documents relevant to the case.

Wednesday, Rambus formally replied to the document destroying charges, saying it acted properly under its "document retention" policy. The firm strongly objected to the motion for default judgment, claiming the FTC hasn't proved its case.

Rambus chief counsel John Danforth said Thursday the charges were recycled by the FTC from previous litigation involving Rambus. Danforth also said the FTC was attempting to deny Rambus its due process rights and the right to a the trial to debate the merits of the case.

In its June 2002 charges, the FTC claims Rambus failed to disclose it held patents or pending patents for technologies that were ultimately adopted by the standards group.