Rambus has won its patent infringement lawsuit against Hynix, forcing the rival memory manufacturer to pay a hefty $306.5 million in damages. The dispute goes back to the mid-1990s, as Rambus' departure from the JEDEC standards body in 1995 eventually prompted a number of lawsuits. In 2000, Rambus sued several memory manufacturers, claiming that DDR and SDRAM memory technologies infringed on its patents. Hynix, Infineon, and Micron countersued for fraud on the grounds that the company had sought patents on DDR while taking part in the standard's creation, and Rambus' infringement charges were dropped in 2001. Rambus returned last January, however, filing new lawsuits against Hynix, Infineon, Nanya, and the joint Infineon/Nanya Inotera venture, this time over DDR2 and GDDR2/GDDR3 memory technologies. Infineon settled in March, agreeing to pay Rambus licensing fees, while the battle with Hynix continued until today. This summer, Rambus is expected to attempt to stop Hynix from selling DDR, DDR2, and SDRAM memory altogether, likely forcing it to pay royalties in order to stay in business.
In addition to the upcoming Hynix trial, Rambus also remains in legal battles with Samsung, Nanya, and Micron. Those manufacturers face the same charges as Hynix, but Micron actually countersued Rambus once again this February. According to Micron, Rambus has "engaged in a pattern of destruction of evidence, false testimony and other improper activities designed to mislead courts ... and to extract unjust patent licensing fees or damages." While Micron successfully beat Rambus five years ago, Hynix's defeat doesn't bode well for the new countersuit. Thanks to reader Chris for the tip.
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