U.S. court orders Hynix to pay Rambus

By , IDG News Service |  Legal, DRAM, hynix

In a second victory for Rambus, a U.S. court ruled on Monday that Hynix Semiconductor must pay the company a prior damage award plus a licensing fee on nearly every DRAM memory chip it makes.

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California also denied Rambus's request for an injunction barring Hynix DRAM chips from being sold in the U.S.

The court ordered Hynix to pay Rambus royalties of 1 percent on every SDRAM (synchronous DRAM) chip made after Dec. 31, 2005, and 4.25 percent on every DDR DRAM (double data rate) chip made after that time, according to a copy of the ruling.

In a statement on Tuesday, Hynix said it will appeal the damages aspect of the ruling.

"While Hynix’s appeal is pending, Hynix is not required to pay the judgment," the South Korean company said. "If, as it expects, Hynix prevails on the appeal, the judgment will be reversed. The appeal will take one to two years under the normal U.S legal procedure."

The U.S. court also denied some supplemental claims by Rambus, including attorney's fees and other damages such as an its insistence that the royalties it has collected from other DRAM makers were diminished as a result of Hynix's infringement.

"On the contrary, the court finds that the overwhelming cause of such diminished rates were Rambus's litigation setbacks in other cases, specifically its case against Infineon in Virginia, its investigation by the Federal Trade Commission and the disbelief by some in the industry that Rambus had valid patents on industry-standard DRAM interface technology," U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte wrote in the ruling.

In a separate case, Rambus won a major victory when the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a request by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to resurrect an antitrust case against the company.

The FTC had sought antitrust sanctions against Rambus for allegedly failing to divulge to the industry standards group responsible for creating DRAM chip standards that its patented technologies had been added to the design.

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