Monday, March 21, 2005

Rambus, Infineon agree to settle patent litigation

from Bloomberg:

Rambus Inc., a designer of high- speed memory chips, said Infineon Technologies AG agreed to pay as much as $150 million to end a five-year legal battle over patents Rambus says cover the entire memory industry.

Rambus shares surged as much as 45 percent. Infineon will pay $50 million over nine quarters starting Nov. 15, Rambus Chief Executive Harold Hughes said today. Infineon will pay as much as $100 million more if Rambus signs licenses with other chipmakers.

The settlement may put pressure on memory-chip makers Hynix Semiconductor Inc. and Micron Technology Inc. to reach similar agreements in their cases. Los Altos, California-based Rambus, which gets most of its sales from royalties and doesn't make the chips it designs, contends its inventions are used in aspects of all memory chips in the $26 billion industry.

``Infineon has been the cornerstone of all of the litigation,'' said Daniel Amir, a WR Hambrecht & Co. analyst in San Francisco who rates Rambus shares ``hold'' and doesn't own them. ``This could be the tip of the iceberg leading to being possibly the end of litigation, maybe as early as next year.''

Today's settlement covers all existing and future patents and patent applications owned by Rambus that Munich-based Infineon, Europe's second-largest chipmaker, may use.


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