Rambus, Infineon reach settlement

Rambus and Infineon Technologies have settled their ongoing lawsuits and agreed to licensing terms.

Rambus and Infineon Technologies have hammered out a settlement that will end all pending lawsuits between the companies and start a licensing agreement for the use of the Rambus patent portfolio in Infineon products, the companies announced Monday.

Under the agreement, Infineon, in Munich, will pay a quarterly license fee of US$5.85 million starting by Nov. 15, and continue through Nov. 15, 2007, the companies said in a joint statement. After Nov.15, 2007, Infineon will continue to make quarterly payments worth up to an additional $100 million, but only if Rambus "enters into additional specified licensing agreements with certain other DRAM manufacturers," they said.

Rambus, which does not manufacture its own memory chips, has contended since 2001 that Infineon is infringing upon Rambus patents with its SDRAM (synchronous dynamic RAM) chips. But earlier this month, Rambus suffered a legal setback when Judge Robert Payne of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia granted Infineon's request for dismissal of the case, the second time the case had been dismissed.

Rambus, in Los Altos, California, also took aim at Infineon, as well as Hynix Semiconductor, Micron Technology and Siemens, in separate suit filed in May of last year. In that claim, filed the Superior Court for the State of California, Rambus charged the computer memory vendors of illegally working together to keep Rambus' RDRAM (Rambus DRAM) product from becoming a mainstream memory technology by restricting prices and production output in the late 1990s.

As part of the settlement announced Monday, Infineon has granted Rambus a fully paid perpetual license for memory interfaces, while Rambus licences bought by Infineon get the status of "most-favored customer." Infineon also maintains an option for acquiring certain other licenses, the companies said.

Representatives from Infineon and Rambus could not immediately be reached for comment.

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