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Micron, Hynix, Nanya react to Rambus acquittal

Posted: 31 Mar 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Rambus? memory market? patent licensing?

Micron Technology Inc., Hynix Semiconductor Inc. and Nanya Technology Corp. have released separate statements expressing their disappointment over the federal court jury decision that Rambus Inc. did not violate antitrust laws or commit fraud by illegally deceiving members of Jedec in the establishment of important standards in the computer chip industry.

In the trial, Micron and fellow memory manufacturers Hynix and Nanya argued that Rambus violated antitrust laws by monopolizing, or attempting to monopolize, six technology markets through Rambus patents covering features in Jedec industry standards for DRAM interface technology.

'Inconsistent' decision
Micron said it strongly believes that the evidence entered at the trial proved that Rambus violated antitrust laws and committed fraud, and that it plans to appeal the federal jury decision. Micron officials also believe that the jury's decision is inconsistent with previous decisions by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the European Commission (EC).

The FTC unanimously found in August 2006 that through a course of illegal and deceptive conduct, Rambus was able to distort the critical standard-setting process of Jedec and engaged in an anticompetitive "hold up" of the computer memory industry.

Similarly, in July 2007, the EC issued a Statement of Objections describing its views that Rambus engaged in intentional deceptive conduct in the standard-setting process or "patent ambush" and violated EC law by subsequently claiming unreasonable royalties for the use of relevant patents.

"Micron believes that Rambus has engaged in a pattern of deception, destruction of evidence, false testimony and other improper activities designed to mislead and to extract unjust patent licensing fees and damages. We will continue to vigorously advance our claims that Rambus has engaged in a variety of illegal activities designed to injure Micron," said Rod Lewis, Micron's VP of legal affairs and general counsel.

Validity question
Hynix said in a statement that the validity of some of the patents Rambus is asserting against Jedec standard products, and which are involved in the district court case, is currently under review at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). The PTO recently rejected all of the claims of a key Rambus patent in a preliminary ruling. The European Patent Office has also cancelled certain Rambus patents asserted against Jedec standard products.

Hynix said it strongly believes that "the jury's verdict is contrary to the law and the facts," and that it also intends to "continue to pursue all of its legal options to establish the principle that patent traps and anticompetitive abuse of a standard setting organization is illegal."

Dow Jones likewise reported that Taiwan's Nanya Technology Corp. would consider an appeal if the final verdict in a legal battle with Rambus Inc. favors the U.S. company.

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