Special Discovery Master Orders Disclosure of "Joint Defense Agreement"; Other Communications among DRAM Companies Also to Be ScrutinizedLOS ALTOS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 22, 2005
-- Rambus Inc. (Nasdaq:RMBS) today announced it has recently obtained a potentially significant discovery ruling in its favor, ordering, among other things, that it be provided with a joint defense agreement purportedly entered into in August 2000 by several semiconductor companies, including three DRAM manufacturers, Hynix Semiconductor (000660.KS), Infineon Technologies (NYSE:IFX), and Micron Technology (NYSE:MU). The order also required production of a document establishing what appears to have been a secret organization among DRAM manufacturers called "the JRA Group."
Last week's ruling arose in patent litigation between Hynix and Rambus now pending in the United States District Court of Northern California, which is currently set for the first stage of trial on April 11, 2005.
In this ruling, which may be subject to further review, the Honorable Read Ambler denied claims of privilege that Hynix asserted in the purported joint defense agreement. The court also raised questions about Hynix's refusal to produce numerous other documents it asserted were protected from production under a "joint defense" privilege. The documents apparently include communications between Hynix and its competitors regarding Rambus and its patents. The court has given Hynix two weeks to further substantiate its privilege claims or to disclose these documents to Rambus.
"This ruling represents a useful step forward for our upcoming Hynix patent case," said John Danforth, senior vice president and general counsel at Rambus. "While we cannot know the contents of the documents withheld on the basis of a claim of 'joint defense,' they seem to show a high degree of cooperation among defendants relating to Rambus and its patents. The dates of these documents may also be significant. They predate the design of new DRAM products using Rambus technology and fall in a time period when, according to the recent guilty pleas of one DRAM company and four of its executives, there existed a criminal conspiracy among certain DRAM companies to eliminate competition."
In an earlier ruling in the Rambus v. Hynix patent case, the Honorable Judge Ronald Whyte granted summary judgment finding that Hynix's DRAM products infringe 29 of Rambus's patent claims. Additional information about this case can be found on Rambus's website at www.rambus.com/inv/
(under Litigation Update section).About Rambus Inc.
Rambus is one of the world's premier technology licensing companies specializing in the invention and design of high-speed chip interfaces. Since its founding in 1990, the company's innovations, breakthrough technologies and integration expertise have helped industry-leading chip and system companies solve their most challenging and complex I/O problems and bring their products to market. Rambus's interface solutions can be found in numerous computing, consumer, and communications products and applications. Rambus is headquartered in Los Altos, California, with regional offices in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Taipei, Taiwan and Tokyo, Japan. Additional information is available at www.rambus.com