Rambus sues Micron and Hyundai in Europe over patents

Rambus Inc., a designer of high-speed memory interface technologies, said Monday it has filed lawsuits in France and Germany charging memory chip makers Micron Technology Inc. and Hyundai Electronics Industries Co. Ltd. with patent infringement.

“IP (intellectual property) is our business and we will not hesitate to protect our IP when it is being used without a license,” Geoff Tate, Rambus CEO, said in a company statement.

The action comes two weeks after Micron and Hyundai, along with its North American subsidiary Hyundai Electronics America, filed their own separate lawsuits against Rambus in U.S. district courts in Delaware and San Jose, Calif., respectively. The lawsuits asked the court to rule that certain patents owned by Rambus are invalid and unenforceable.

The patents in question relate to technologies used in the production of SDRAM (synchronous dynamic random access memory) and DDR (double data rate) SDRAM chips. Rambus said it had tried to initiate negotiations with Micron and Hyundai over the possibility of licensing Rambus technology, but that the two companies had preempted Rambus’ negotiations by suing the company.

Rambus is seeking injunctions to halt the sale, manufacture and use of SDRAM and DDR SDRAM memory devices from Micron and Hyundai which it claims infringe Rambus intellectual property protected by European Patent EP 0 525 068.

Trial dates for the lawsuits have been set for Feb. 16, 2001 in Mannheim, Germany, Rambus said.

According to the Rambus statement, a French court begun its investigations into the case Monday by seizing documents and other materials relating to the alleged patent infringements by Micron.

Micron Technology, in Boise, Idaho, can be reached at http://www.micron.com/. Rambus, in Mountain View, Calif., is at http://www.rambus.com/. Hyundai Electronics, in Seoul, can be contacted at http://www.hei.co.kr/.