Court throws out remaining Rambus claims

A U.S. judge has thrown out the remaining three claims of copyright infringement in the case brought by memory chip designer Rambus Inc. against Germany’s Infineon Technologies AG, Rambus said on Friday.

Los Altos, California-based Rambus had taken Infineon to court, claiming that the company had infringed upon its design patents in manufacturing SDRAM (synchronous dynamic random access memory) and DDR SDRAM (double data-rate SDRAM) chips. Rambus managed to secure licensing deals with other chipmakers, while Infineon, Micron Technology Inc. of Boise, Idaho and South Korea’s Hynix Semiconductor Inc. have held out on paying royalties to the company.

“We are disappointed with the Court’s decision and plan to appeal the ruling,” said Geoff Tate, Rambus’ CEO, in a statement. “If today’s decision is allowed to stand, all companies that innovate risk having their intellectual property rights unjustly expropriated.”

“This definitely is not good news for Rambus,” said Dean McCarron, principal analyst at Mercury Research Inc. “The issues really come down to the fact that Rambus has been migrating away from being an IT company to being an IT litigation company.”

The Judge of the U.S. District Court in Richmond, Va. threw out 54 of Rambus’ claims in the case on Tuesday, leaving three remaining, which were thrown out Friday.

Rambus will continue to fight for what it considers its intellectual property, Tate said in the statement, adding that Rambus would not be “cowed by the aggressive tactics of some industry giants who would take over (Rambus’) innovations without any compensation.”

Rambus has no alternative at this point but to put on an optimistic face, McCarron said. “People will not license if there isn’t a perceived threat, and in order to maintain that perceived threat they have to remain optimistic,” he said.

However, there are still a dozen patents involved in other Rambus cases in the United States and Europe, Rambus said in a statement. The company plans to appeal the Virginia ruling, while a similar lawsuit the company has filed against Infineon in Germany is scheduled to come to trial May 18.

Rambus also holds newly issued patents covering SDRAM and DDR SDRAM that have not been entered into any litigation yet, and are not affected by the court’s decision, the company said.

Rambus, in Los Altos, Calif., can be reached at Infineon, in Munich, can be reached at