WASHINGTON -- The legal warfare swirling around Rambus Inc.'s synchronous patents has escalated with Korea's Hyundai Electronics Industries Co. filing a lawsuit in a San Jose federal court on Tuesday in an attempt to declare the patents invalid.
Hyundai filed one day after Micron Technology Inc. announced an antitrust suit against Rambus, accusing the firm of using its synchronous DRAM patents to restrain trade and block double data rate (DDR) memories (see Aug. 29 story). The DDR format is a competitor of the Direct Rambus DRAM architecture.
The Hyundai suit takes a different tack than Micron's case. The South Korean memory maker claims Rambus' synchronous patents are invalid due to prior art and invention of synchronous timing technology for memory chips. A Hyundai spokesman said the firm isn't raising the antitrust issue that is the key focus of the Micron suit.
The spokesma n said Hyundai took the first step seeking to declare the Rambus patents invalid, even though the Mountain View, Calif.-based company has not filed any infringement charges against the Korean chip maker. He said the validity of Rambus synchronous patents was a legal issue, since the memory design firm was demanding a license from Hyundai.
"We are not signing a license because we believe the patents are invalid," the Hyundai spokesman said.
Rambus officials accused Hyundai of abruptly cutting off negotiations for a new licensing pact, covering SDRAM and DDR patents. After reviewing the suit, the officials promised that Rambus would fight Hyundai in court.