updated 03:20 pm EDT, Tue June 21, 2011
Claims and counterclaims in California court
In a legal battle being played out in a California Superior Court, memory producer Rambus has sued alternative memory manufacturers Micron and Hynix, claiming they were part of a conspiracy to drive Rambus and its RDRam chip technology out of the market. Today, the lawyer for Hynix tried to put the blame back at Rambus' own feet. In his opening argument, the lawyer claimed that Rambus's problems arose not by any of Hynix's actions, but from Rambus' own design and technology problems.
The lawyer went on to claim that, if anything, it was Rambus which was guilty of conspiracy. "You heard a lot yesterday accusing Hynix of being part of a conspiracy against Rambus. It was not," attorney Kenneth Nissly told jurors. "As far back as 1997, Rambus was secretly planning to sue the DRAM industry."
Rambus' RDRam was a new memory technology that never seemed to catch on. The company for many years has adopted a litiganous attitude, and has sued multiple chip manufacturers, including Samsung, Nvidia, Micron, and Hynix. Both Samsung and NVIDIA have settled, although Rambus subsequently filed a different suit for patent infringement against Nvidia and five other semiconductor manufacturers: Freescale, LSI, MediaTek, Broadcom and STMicro.
The matter has played out in multiple courts with often contradictory rulings. Recently, a US Delaware court found Rambus guilty of destroying over 300 boxes of documentary evidence and invalidated 12 patents that Rambus had claimed were violated. In the California court, however, it was ruled that nine of Rambus' patents were valid and had been infringed upon by Hynix.