Rambus has agreed in principle to terms for a compulsory license with Hynix Semiconductor for SDR SDRAM and DDR SDRAM memory products, the company announced today.
The parties have agreed to royalty rates of 1% for SDR SDRAM and 4.25% for DDR SDRAM memory devices for net sales after January 31, 2009 and before April 18, 2010. The latter rate applies to DDR, DDR2, DDR3, GDDR, GDDR2 and GDDR3 SDRAM devices, as well as DDR SGRAM devices.
Today?s pact, made under court-ordered negotiations, moves the companies closer to a resolution after more than eight years of patent infringement litigation in U.S. District Court in San Jose, California. Judge Ronald Whyte last month ordered Hynix, the world?s second-largest maker of computer-memory chips, and Rambus to arrive at such a pact.
In addition, Rambus proposed Hynix pay an additional $349M million in damages. Damages and royalty rates are limited to U.S. infringements.
"While the Court still needs to resolve some outstanding issues, we are pleased to have reached agreement with Hynix on a number of terms," said Thomas Lavelle, senior vice president and general counsel at Rambus. "Our goal as always is to seek fair compensation for the use of our patented inventions, and this agreement will be a significant milestone in pursuit of that goal."
This case was originally filed by Hynix against Rambus in August 2000. Judge Whyte of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California split the case into three separate phases. During the course of the case, Judge Whyte found Rambus did not spoliate evidence as Hynix had alleged, and a jury found Rambus patents valid and infringed by Hynix. Judge Whyte and a separate jury also found Rambus acted properly while a member of the standard-setting organization JEDEC during its participation in the early 1990s.