Rambus Gets Favorable Ruling in Antitrust Trial

Competing memory manufacturers fail to meet burden of proving antitrust and fraud claims.

A jury found on March 26 that Rambus Inc. did not violate antitrust laws or commit fraud by illegally deceiving members of Joint Electron Device Engineering Council (JEDEC) in the establishment of important standards in the computer chip industry. The jury decision concluded a trial that began in late January in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose.

In the trial, memory manufacturers Micron Technology, Hynix Semiconductor and Nanya Technology 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.

In the end, the jury determined that Rambus acted properly while it participated as a member of JEDEC in the early 1990s, finding that the memory manufacturers did not meet their burden of proving antitrust and fraud claims.

"This ruling should put to rest a series of ongoing allegations Rambus has endured for many years," said Tom Lavelle, senior vice president and general counsel at Rambus. "Our business is to license our revolutionary technology to the industry for fair compensation. We are pleased to have this decision behind us as we continue to engage with the industry to deliver compelling products to the market."

In reponse to the ruling, Micron Technology released a statement in which company officials strongly disagreed with the decision, saying that the evidence entered at the trial proves that Rambus violated antitrust laws and committed fraud. Citing that the jury's decision is inconsistent with previous decisions by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the European Commission, the release indicated plans to appeal the outcome.

"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 vice president of legal affairs and general counsel.

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