Thursday, January 20, 2005

Rambus prevails against Hynix in SJ action

Rambus announced on January 20, 2005 that a judge (Ronald Whyte) in the Northern District of California had acted favorably to Rambus in an infringement action against Hynix. Trial will begin on March 21, 2005 on matters not resolved in the summary judgment actions.

Of six summary judgment motions filed by the defendant Hynix, Judge Whyte granted one, according to the statement. This resulted in nine claims in four patents containing the term "second external clock signal" being removed from the case. The ruling reduces the number of claims against Hynix from 59 to 50, according to the statement.

Of summary judgment motions filed by the plaintiff Rambus, Judge Whyte made two sets of rulings on Rambus's summary judgment. First, he ruled that Hynix infringes 29 claims from four asserted Rambus patents. The judge also ruled that Rambus was limited in the way it could accuse Hynix in 11 of its claims.

Curiously, there is a report by the Seoul Economic Daily newspaper that Hynix was granted a motion this week by the European Patent Office DISMISSING Rambus' claims and clearing Hynix of infringement charges. This would be another case in which things came out differently in Europe than in America (remember Amgen-Kirin?) Such examples of divergent results between America and Europe throw water on the use by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) of comparisons between the US and Europe on patent grant rates. [Stephen A. Merrill, Richard C. Levin, and Mark B. Myers, "A Patent System for the 21st Century"] The rules to get patents are different (see also Robert A. Clarke, U.S. Continuity Law and its Impact on the Comparative Patenting Rates of the U.S., Japan, and European Patent Office, 85 J. Pat. & Trademark Off. Soc'y [JPTOS] 335 (2003)), the patent one gets is different, and the litigtion results are different.

from Forbes (through AP):

The court found that Korea-based Hynix violated 29 claims from four patents held by Rambus after throwing out five of six motions filed by Hynix challenging the validity of the claims.

It also decided that a "fact issue" regarding a limitation appearing in 11 of 40 claims would have to be tried in court, Rambus said.

The first phase of the trial is scheduled to begin March 21 and will focus on the remaining patent-infringement and validity claims. Rambus added that a second phase will be tried in June over various non-patent disputes and counterclaims asserted by Hynix.

In all, Rambus had asserted that Hynix infringed on 59 claims from 15 patents, but a summary judgment granted Thursday by the U.S. District Court of Northern California reduced the number of claims to 50.

"This summary judgment of infringement is great news and a major step forward toward our goal of being fairly compensated for our innovations," John Danforth, Rambus senior vice president and general counsel, said in a statement.


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