RealTime IT News

Hynix Faces 50 Rambus Patents in Court

A U.S. district judge ruled this week that Hynix Semiconductor must defend itself from as many as 50 patent infringement claims filed against it by rival chipmaker Rambus .

According to a statement by Rambus, Judge Ronald Whyte issued a summary judgment after receiving seven summary judgment motions filed by the parties in advance of a March 21 court date in California.

The case stems from assertions by Rambus that South Korea-based Hynix infringed on its patents, including 15 computer memory products that are made and/or sold by Hynix.

Of the six summary judgment motions filed by Hynix, Judge Whyte granted one, according to the statement. This resulted in nine claims in four patents containing the term "second external clock signal" being removed from the case. The ruling reduces the number of claims against Hynix from 59 to 50, according to the statement.

The court rejected Hynix's arguments for summary judgment regarding validity and infringement challenging the remaining 50 claims.

Judge Whyte made two sets of rulings on Rambus's summary judgment. First, he ruled that Hynix infringes 29 claims from four asserted Rambus patents. The judge also ruled that Rambus was limited in the way it could accuse Hynix in 11 of its claims.

The U.S. court ruling follows reports by the Seoul Economic Daily newspaper that Hynix was granted a motion this week by the European Patent Office dismissing Rambus' claims and clearing Hynix of infringement charges.

A spokesperson for the European Patent Office was not immediately available to comment.

A spokesman for Hynix declined to comment on either the Rambus case or the claims made by the European Patent Office.

Rambus General Counsel John Danforth said Hynix would only be required to handle 10 patents at a time.

"There may be a mix of some of the proven infringement claims and the ones where we will have to prove it in front of a jury," Danforth told internetnews.com. "But we only need to prove one to get paid."

The two sides will be back in court in June to work out counterclaims by Hynix that Rambus had an unfair advantage with its computer memory products, thanks to its relationship with Intel and the Joint Electron Devices Engineering Council (JEDEC), a non-profit organization that promotes technological standards.

In a separate court case starting Friday, Danforth said Rambus begins its $1 billion antitrust case against four of its rivals: Hynix, Micron Technology , Infineon Technologies and Siemens . Rambus accuses each of price fixing and conspiracy to drive its RDRAM technology out of the market.

The U.S. Department of Justice is also looking into the charges of collusion.