Rambus penalized in SK Hynix patent dispute

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Rambus penalized in SK Hynix patent dispute

SK Hynix said yesterday it “welcomes” a court decision to sanction Rambus for destruction of documents relevant to the U.S. chip designer’s patent-infringement litigation against the Korean company.

SK Hynix “welcomes the court’s decision and will try its best to push through the company’s stance in the rest of the process,” it said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.

U.S. District Judge Ronald M. Whyte in San Jose, California, on Friday decided to strike from the record in the case any evidence supporting a Rambus royalty that is “in excess of a reasonable and non-discriminatory” amount, according to the filing. Whyte ordered both companies to file their proposals on the rate amount to the court.

“There is a possibility that Rambus did not destroy any evidence that would have been beneficial to Hynix’s litigation position,” Whyte wrote in his decision. “However, because Rambus is the party that destroyed documents by the box and bag without keeping any record of what was destroyed, Rambus must suffer the consequences of that uncertainty.”

Linda Ashmore, a spokeswoman for Rambus, did not immediately return calls on Friday after regular business hours seeking comment on Whyte’s ruling.

The ruling follows an appeals court decision last year concluding that California-based Rambus destroyed documents relevant to its case against SK Hynix. The appeals court ruling sent the case back to Whyte to determine appropriate sanctions.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington upheld Whyte’s denial of Hynix’s bid to throw out a 2006 verdict finding the company infringed Rambus patents or grant a new trial. It vacated the financial damages judgment, throwing out a $397 million judgment against Hynix, because of the document spoliation.

Rambus’ cases against Hynix, and another related case against Micron Technology, are over the companies’ use of interfaces that are part of DRAM.


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