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Rambus Wins Suit Against Hynix

April 25, 2006|From Times Wire Services

Rambus Inc., a designer of high-speed computer-chip interfaces, won a $306.5-million jury verdict Monday in its patent-infringement lawsuit against South Korea's Hynix Semiconductor Inc., sending shares up 15.3%.

Jurors in the monthlong trial decided that all 10 Rambus patent claims were valid. The patents involved dynamic random access memory technology, or DRAM, which increases the speed of memory in computer chips, along with related technologies.

"We are very pleased with today's result," said John Danforth, the company's lawyer. He vowed to continue seeking compensation for patented inventions.

The verdict, presented in federal court in San Jose, is the latest victory in Rambus' six-year battle to assert patent rights against several companies that sell memory chips used in personal computers and other electronic devices.

Rambus shares rose $5.90 to $44.50.

The Los Altos, Calif.-based company has similar suits pending against Micron Technology Inc. of Boise, Idaho; South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. and Taiwan's Nanya Technology. Rambus also has filed antitrust suits against those companies.

In August 2000, Hynix sued Rambus in an effort to have 11 of its patents declared invalid. Rambus countersued, saying Hynix's use of the technology infringed its patents and succeeded in expanding the case to include 14 patents.

In pretrial proceedings, U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte ruled that Hynix infringed some Rambus patents and ordered the parties to try the remaining claims before a jury.

"This was one phase of the case, it's not over," Daniel J. Furniss, a lawyer for Hynix, said. Hynix can seek to reduce the verdict in a later phase of the lawsuit, and then seek an appeal.

On Monday, Rambus said the award represents compensation only for Hynix's SDRAM, DDR SDRAM and DDR2 memory products sold in the United States, and covered Hynix sales from June 2000 through 2005.

Rambus also has asked for a permanent injunction against Hynix to stop its manufacture, use, sale or import of Hynix memory products. That request isn't likely to be decided until after a third phase of the case addressing Hynix counterclaims is tried this summer, the company said. Such counterclaims include challenges to the enforceability of Rambus patents and allegations that Rambus impeded adoption of DDR SDRAM.

The Associated Press and Bloomberg News were used in compiling this report.

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