Hynix agrees to pay Rambus royalties on RAM sales


— 11:20 AM on March 10, 2009

Rambus hasn't been making many headlines lately, but that doesn't mean its crusade against the memory industry is over—quite the contrary. The litigious memory technology firm has reached a settlement agreement with Korean RAM manufacturer Hynix, which agreed to pay royalties for SDRAM products. A "proposed judgment" could also see Hynix cough up $397 million in damages.

As part of the agreement, Hynix should pay royalties of 4.25% on net sales of DDR memory sold "after January 31, 2009 and before April 18, 2010." That fee will cover not just DDR, DDR2, and DDR3 system RAM used in PCs and laptops, but also the GDDR, GDDR2, and GDDR3 varieties that typically ride shotgun with graphics processors. Oh, and Hynix has agreed to pay 1% royalties on sales of older, single-data-rate memory, as well.

This announcement comes barely a year after a jury ruled that Rambus' patent filings weren't fraudulent or anti-competitive. Rambus filed its patents while sitting on the Joint Electron Devices Engineering Council, which came up with the single- and double-data-rate SDRAM standards, then turned around and started suing JEDEC members for infringement.

Of course, this could hardly come at a worse time for Hynix. The firm is already suffering from the dreadful conditions in the memory market, and it posted net losses of 1.33 trillion won ($883 million) last quarter. Hynix says it plans to appeal the court's decision—a 1-2-year process during which it "is not required to pay the judgment."

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