By Tom Krazit, IDG News ServiceApril 27, 2005
Rambus CEO Harold Hughes hopes his company's name won't always remind the memory industry of black-robed judges and endless pages of court filings.
It's been five years since Rambus and the memory industry kicked off their legal journey back and forth through various courtrooms across the U.S. In 2000, Rambus sued vendors such as Infineon Technologies, Hynix Semiconductor (Profile, Products, Articles), and Micron Technology alleging the memory companies were using Rambus' patented memory technology in their chips without a license. Those memory companies countersued, claiming Rambus' patents were invalid because the company should have disclosed them during the development of the SDRAM (synchronous dynamic RAM) standard.
The fiery rhetoric from both sides has cooled of late, after an unfavorable ruling from Judge Robert Payne of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia sent Rambus to the settlement table with Infineon in March. However, its patent claims against Hynix were cleared to proceed to trial on Monday. And an antitrust case as well as patent infringement suits over the emerging DDR2 (double data rate) standard will keep Rambus' Senior Vice President and General Counsel John Danforth, or as Hughes refers to him, "my rock star," busy for months to come.
Hughes, who became the Los Altos, California, company's CEO in January, sat down with IDG News Service Tuesday to discuss the latest developments in the company's legal drama as well as its participation in the development of the Cell processor with its memory and I/O bus designs. The following is an edited transcript. Click here to read more ...