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US Judge rules that Rambus shredded evidence

Posted: 27 Sep 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:patent suit? infringement? royalty payments? spoliation?

A U.S. federal judge has ruled that Rambus Inc. has improperly destroyed documents relevant to a patent infringement lawsuit brought by SK Hynix Inc. The finding will limit the damages that Rambus can collect in the case.

SK Hynix stated that U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Whyte's ruling that Rambus engaged in "massive destruction of records on three "shred days" will limit the royalties on Rambus' patents.

However, Rambus stated that the judge also ruled that the Rambus patents involved in the case are valid and infringed by SK Hynix. The ruling means that Rambus is entitled to receive royalty payments for past infringement, Rambus said.

The amount that SK Hynix will be ordered to pay Rambus has not yet been decided. Rambus said the parties have been ordered to provide briefs on the issue of the damages next month.

In his ruling, Whyte found that Rambus executed its document retention practices during a time when it reasonably anticipated litigation, and thus willfully spoliated evidence, Rambus said. But Whyte also found that Rambus did not deliberately destroy documents it knew to be damaging, Rambus said.

A jury previously found that SK Hynix should pay Rambus damages of $397 million in the case, which stems from a suit originally brought by Hynix against Rambus in 2000. But an appellate court vacated that decision in 2011, remanding the matter back to the U.S. District Court in Northern California for reconsideration. Whyte found that SK Hynix may have been prejudiced by the alleged spoliation, and thus imposed a sanction on Rambus, limiting royalties to those which are reasonable and non-discriminatory, according to Rambus.

- Dylan McGrath
??EE Times

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