MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. -- The other legal shoe has dropped in Rambus Inc.'s patent fight with Infineon Technologies AG. Rambus here on Wednesday evening announced it has filed a lawsuit in Germany, accusing Infineon of infringing upon its synchronous DRAM patents, following similar cases filed in Europe against Micron Technology Inc. and Hyundai Electronics Industries Co. (see Sept. 11 story).
In August, Rambus filed a federal lawsuit in the Eastern U.S. District Court in Virginia, alleging "willful patent infringement" by Infineon (see Aug. 14 story). Editor's note: an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Infineon has filed suit against Rambus in the United States for infringement of its patents. Infineon has promised to fight Rambus' suit, and it was reportedly considering a lawsuit against the Mounta in View company, but no action has been filed.
The European suits are part of a growing battle over Rambus' claims to key patents for SDRAM and double data rate (DDR) memory technologies. During the summer, Rambus began pressing major DRAM makers for new licensing agreements and extra royalties related to its patents covering SDRAMs, DDR memories and controllers interfacing to those devices.
So far, four Japanese chip makers--NEC, Hitachi, Toshiba, and Oki--have agreed to pay those royalties, but Infineon, Micron, and Hyundai have refused. Micron and Hyundai have filed separate lawsuits against Mountain View-based Rambus. Several complaints accuse Rambus of antitrust behavior and unfair practices. On Monday, Rambus announced it has petitioned the U.S. International Trade Commission to investigate its patent complaint against Hyundai.
In Rambus' suit filed in Mannheim, Germany, the company is seeking an injunction to halt the sale, production, and use of Infineon SDRAMs and DDR memories in Eur ope. Rambus said a trail date has been set by the German court for Dec. 22.
"IP [intellectual property] is our business and we will not hesitate to protect our IP when it is being used without a license," said Geoff Tate, Rambus' chief executive officer of Rambus.