Elpida licenses Rambus DDR SDRAM

Another one struck from Rambus' list

Elpida Memory, the joint venture between NEC and Hitachi, has followed Samsung and signed up to license Rambus' SDRAM and DDR SDRAM patents.

Samsung signed yesterday. Like the Samsung agreement, Elpida's licence will involve the payment of royalties to Rambus which are, in Rambus' words, "greater than the RDRAM compatible rates". The licence covers SDRAM and DDR SDRAM memory and controllers that connect directly to that memory.

As we noted yesterday, Rambus' strategy is clear: to leverage its patents to raise the price of DDR SDRAM to make it less competitive than its own Direct DRAM technology.

To date, both NEC and Hitachi have individually licensed Rambus' intellectual property, as have Toshiba, Oki and, of course, Samsung. Together they account for around 40 per cent of the world DRAM market, according to Dataquest figures supplied by Rambus. IDC, meanwhile, reckons Elpida will take 11.5 per cent of the DRAM market next year, after it begins shipping product in January. Of course, since Elpida is the combination of NEC and Hitachi's existing production, that figure is already part of the 40 per cent statistic Rambus has already quoted.

Meanwhile, Infineon, Micron and Hyundai are all challenging Rambus' licensing manoeuvres, which has resorted to the courts to attempt to force them to toe the line. Infineon is suing Rambus back, alleging the memory company has used Infineon intellectual property without permission. ®

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