RealTime IT News

Rambus, Hynix Patent Battle is Over

Memory chip designer Rambus won a $306.9 million patent infringement lawsuit against Hynix Semiconductor Monday. A San Jose, Calif., federal jury declared that all 10 Rambus patent claims in the case were valid and infringed upon.

The damage award covered the Korean-based Hynix's sales in the United States between June 2000 and the end of 2005. The jury said Hynix infringed on Rambus's SDRAM, DDR SDRAM and DDR2 memory products.

The Los Altos, Calif.-based Rambus is also seeking a permanent injunction against Hynix to stop the manufacture, use, sale or import of infringing Hynix memory products. The issue of a permanent injunction will likely be part of the third phase of the litigation expected to begin in the summer.

That trial will involve Hynix counterclaims to the enforceability of the Rambus patents and allegations that Rambus defamed or otherwise impeded market adoption of DDR SDRAM.

"We will continue ... in our efforts to be fairly compensated for our patented inventions," John Danforth, senior vice president and general counsel at Rambus, said in a statement.

Hynix originally filed the lawsuit in August 2000. The litigation sought declaratory judgments that 11 Rambus patents are invalid and not infringed. Rambus countersued and the case was eventually expanded to include 59 patent claims from 14 Rambus products.

The trial judge subsequently permitted 10 claims to be presented to the jury.

The long-running legal dispute began in 1996 when Intel decided to use Rambus memory products.

DRAM manufacturers claimed Rambus's technology was too expensive and adopted the DDR2 chip as a new standard. Rambus claimed the DDR2 used patented Rambus technology.

In addition to the still-pending Hynix case, Rambus filed infringement lawsuits against Micron, Samsung and Nanya. Rambus is also suing the three in separate actions involving more advanced memory products.

In addition, Rambus has a pending antitrust case against Micron, Hynix and Samsung, claiming the three were part of an alleged boycott against Rambus products.