updated 06:55 pm EST, Wed November 16, 2011
Jury rules 9-3 against Rambus' anti-trust claim
Memory maker Rambus suffered a major legal setback Wednesday when a California jury ruled that the two defendants against which Rambus had filed complaints, Micron and Hynix, were not guilty of anti-competitive behavior under the state's antitrust laws. The jury, in a nine to three decision, found that the two companies had neither conspired to to prevent Rambus' technology from getting a foothold in the market, nor fixed the price of memory chips. If Rambus had won, the company could have received up to $4 billion in direct damages and triple that in punitive damages.
Rambus filed its original suit in 2004. It was one of many suits that the company has filed since then, but most have either been thrown out either by decision or under appeal. In one instance, Rambus' claims were dismissed after it was shown that Rambus had destroyed internal documents. The California case was the last that was still active.
The crux of the California case centered around two issues. The first was whether or not Hynix and Micron had conspired to keep the price of chips with Rambus technology artificially high, while at the same time setting competing memory technology prices intentionally low to hurt Rambus in the market. The second asked whether Hynix and Micron had intentionally hurt the relationship between Rambus and Intel.
Hynix and Micron had argued that Rambus' problems arose not from anything they had done, but from problems with its own technology.
The trial had lasted three-months, and the deliberations lasted eight weeks before the Jury had ruled in the defendants' favor. Rambus has not indicated whether or not it will appeal the decision. [via The Wall Street Journal, subscription required]