Court throws out remaining Rambus claims

Rambus had taken Infineon to court, claiming that the company had infringed upon its design patents in manufacturing SDRAM (synchronous dynamic random access memory) and DDR SDRAM (double data-rate SDRAM) chips. Rambus managed to secure licensing deals with other chipmakers, while Infineon, Micron Technology and South Korea's Hynix Semiconductor have held out on paying royalties to the company.

"We are disappointed with the Court's decision and plan to appeal the ruling," said Geoff Tate, Rambus' chief executive officer, in a statement. "If today's decision is allowed to stand, all companies that innovate risk having their intellectual property rights unjustly expropriated."

"This definitely is not good news for Rambus," said Dean McCarron, principal analyst at Mercury Research. "The issues really come down to the fact that Rambus has been migrating away from being an IT company to being an IT litigation company."

The Judge of the US District Court in Richmond, Virginia threw out 54 of Rambus' claims in the case on Tuesday, leaving three remaining, which were thrown out Friday.

Rambus will continue to fight for what it considers its intellectual property, Tate said in the statement, adding that Rambus would not be "cowed by the aggressive tactics of some industry giants who would take over (Rambus') innovations without any compensation."

Rambus has no alternative at this point but to put on an optimistic face, McCarron said. "People will not license if there isn't a perceived threat, and in order to maintain that perceived threat they have to remain optimistic," he said.

However, there are still a dozen patents involved in other Rambus cases in the US and Europe, Rambus said in a statement. The company plans to appeal the Virginia ruling, while a similar lawsuit the company has filed against Infineon in Germany is scheduled to come to trial 18 May.

Rambus also holds newly-issued patents covering SDRAM and DDR SDRAM that have not been entered into any litigation yet, and are not affected by the court's decision, the company said.

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Douglas F. Gray

PC World
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