RealTime IT News

Rambus Defends More Memory Patents

Rambus fired off a new round of patent infringement claims against its rivals in defense of its DDR2 memory technology and GDDR2 and GDDR3 graphics technology. The patents in question were issued between January 2001 and October 2004.

Hynix Semiconductor, Infineon Technologies , Inotera Memories and Nanya Technology were named in the suit filed this week in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif. Rambus alleges as many as 18 of its patents are unlawfully showing up in devices that are currently shipping worldwide.

Executives with the four companies named in the suit were not immediately available to comment.

The 16-page brief asks the court to enforce a permanent injunction on the products with unauthorized Rambus technology and seeks an undisclosed amount of damages and attorneys fees.

"Our preference is to work with the semiconductor industry to provide value and resolve these issues through other means. But sometimes we -- like other patent holders -- must rely on the court system to be fairly compensated for our inventions," John Danforth, senior vice president and general counsel at Rambus, said in a statement.

Danforth said the lawsuits are also timely, as analyst firms are projecting a rapid transition this year from DDR to DDR2 and GDDR.

The second-generation technology improves on the original DDR designs by improving the time in which data is sent on both the rising and falling edges of clock cycles without increasing the clock frequency.

The Rambus suit is the first new patent case in the United States since August 2000, when Rambus sued Micron Technology for patent infringement, Danforth said. The suit comes one week after a U.S. district judge ruled Hynix must defend itself from as many as 50 patent infringement claims filed by Rambus.

Last week, Rambus began its $1 billion antitrust case against Hynix, Micron, Infineon 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 charges of collusion.