Micron Technology, Inc., announced that it strongly disagrees with a 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. 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, Micron and fellow memory manufacturers 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.
Micron strongly believes that the evidence entered at the trial proves that Rambus violated antitrust laws and committed fraud, and Micron plans to appeal the outcome. 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). In August 2006, the FTC unanimously found 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 Vice President of Legal Affairs and General Counsel.
This trial phase involving certain conduct claims against Rambus is only one phase in a number of pending cases between Micron and Rambus. For example, in a December 2007 bench trial before Judge Robinson in Delaware, Micron presented evidence that Rambus destroyed evidence and engaged in litigation misconduct as part of its efforts to improperly extract licensing fees and damages from Micron. As a result of those wrongful actions, Micron has asked the Delaware court to dismiss Rambus’ patent claims against Micron. A decision in that case is pending.
Additionally, Micron also believes that Rambus’ patents are invalid, not infringed, and unenforceable. Recently, in connection with a reexamination of a key Rambus patent, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) issued a preliminary rejection of all the claims. In February 2008, as part of its reexamination process, the PTO preliminarily rejected all of the claims of Rambus’ U.S. patent 6,715,020, one of the patents Rambus has asserted against Micron and other memory manufacturers. A group of other key Rambus patents are still pending reexamination in the PTO. Likewise, the European Patent Office (EPO) has revoked or substantially narrowed Rambus patents asserted against Micron in various European countries. As a result, Rambus’ infringement claims have been dismissed in the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy.
In September 2000, Rambus filed patent infringement suits against Micron in London, England, Mannheim, Germany, Monza, Italy, and Paris, France alleging that Micron infringed Rambus European patent 525 068. On October 26, 2000, Micron filed an opposition to Rambus’ European patent 525 068 in the EPO. In February 2004, the EPO permanently revoked the patent. As a result, the courts in London, England and Mannheim, Germany subsequently dismissed Rambus’ patent infringement case and awarded costs to Micron. The Monza, Italy case previously was dismissed in May 24, 2001 when the court rejected Rambus’ assertions of infringement. Dismissal of the Paris, France, case is still pending.
In August 2001, Rambus filed suit against Micron in Pavia, Italy, alleging that Micron infringed Rambus European patent 1 022 642. In September 2001, Micron filed an opposition to that patent in the EPO. In May 2005, the EPO Opposition Division preliminarily rejected all claims of the ’642 patent. Rambus subsequently dismissed its patent infringement case against Micron in Pavia, Italy.
About Micron Technology
Micron Technology, Inc., is one of the world’s leading providers of advanced semiconductor solutions. Through its worldwide operations, Micron manufactures and markets DRAMs, NAND flash memory, CMOS image sensors, other semiconductor components, and memory modules for use in leading-edge computing, consumer, networking, and mobile products. Micron’s common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the MU symbol.
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