Rambus won case vs. SK Hynix, but loses $250M

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Rambus won case vs. SK Hynix, but loses $250M

Rambus was ordered on Wednesday by a federal judge in San Jose, California, to pay a $250 million sanction for destroying documents in its litigation with SK Hynix.

The fine was issued by U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte in the memory chip technology patent-infringement case that Rambus won in California seven years ago. The sanction will be applied against whatever sum Rambus ultimately keeps of the $349 million awarded to it after a 2006 verdict finding that SK Hynix infringed Rambus patents, Whyte ruled.

The sanction “applied as a credit against Rambus’s judgment against SK Hynix recognizes that Rambus’s conduct was inexcusable but not so egregious as to justify dismissal of its infringement case,” Whyte wrote in his order today. The judge denied Hynix’s request for a new trial in the case.

The sanction “takes into account the royalty rates negotiated and paid by SK Hynix’s primary competitors” during the period of the alleged infringement, Whyte wrote.

Rambus’s cases against SK Hynix, and another related case against Micron Technology, are over the companies’ use of interfaces that are part of dynamic random access memory that acts as the main memory in computers. DRAM is built to industry standards and is interchangeable by product. SK Hynix and Micron have argued Rambus destroyed records that would have proved Rambus misled the board that sets that standard.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington previously upheld Whyte’s denial of SK Hynix’s bid to throw out the 2006 verdict finding that the company infringed Rambus patents.

Linda Ashmore, a spokeswoman for Sunnyvale, California-based Rambus, didn’t immediately return an e-mail after regular business hours seeking comment on the ruling.

Ken Nissly, a lawyer representing Korea-based SK Hynix, declined to immediately comment on it.

Bloomberg

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