Court refuses to rehear Infineon claim in Rambus case

A federal appeals court last week denied a request from Infineon Technologies AG to revisit the court's split decision to vacate a fraud judgement against memory vendor Rambus Inc., freeing Rambus from allegations that it improperly influenced a standards-setting organization to adopt its patented memory technology as part of an industry standard.

The ruling is the latest in a series of legal victories for Rambus, which has been involved in litigation over its membership in the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council (JEDEC) for several years.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overturned a jury's fraud verdict against Rambus in January, saying that the plaintiffs failed to prove that Rambus sought to obtain patents on SDRAM (synchronous dynamic RAM) technology standard by withholding the fact that it held patents on aspects of the proposed SDRAM standard.

Rambus was a member of JEDEC in the 1990s when the group was developing the standard for SDRAM, but left before work was completed. After the standard emerged, Rambus filed lawsuits against a number of memory vendors that refused to license its technologies for products based on the SDRAM standard, which Rambus said contained patented technology.

The federal appeals court ruled that Rambus could not be held liable for failing to disclose its patents because the rules and regulations of JEDEC concerning patents were poorly defined. Infineon asked the court to rehear its decision, but last week's ruling ends the involvement of the federal appeals court. Rambus is now free to pursue its patent infringement lawsuits against Infineon and other DRAM vendors.

A separate case is pending between Rambus and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, in which an FTC judge ruled that Rambus destroyed documents relevant to the case, but denied the FTC's request to skip the trial and proceed directly to the punishment phase.

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