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Infineon settles with Rambus, Hyundai

Progress in Hyundai vs. Rambus, too

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Infineon has been making up and being friendly with Rambus and Hyundai, settling patent infringement legal action with both semiconductor companies.

So, the German semiconductor operation yesterday withdrew its allegations that Rambus' RDRAM violates its patents. That claim was made in direct response to allegations made by Rambus against Infineon that the latter's SDRAM products rip off Rambus intellectual property, assertions Infineon denied.

Rambus lawyers have argued that the RDRAM clash has no bearing on the SDRAM case, and Infineon's decision to drop its action suggests it had decided that that argument was likely to win the day.

Rambus' action against Infineon continues, and will kick off on 13 March, when the trial's jury is selected.

Infineon's other action, against Hyundai, began three years ago when the Korean company was sued for violating Infineon's DRAM and other patents. This week, the two settled up and entered into a technology-sharing deal, the usual outcome of patent clashes. They will also co-operate "on business areas of mutual interest", said Hyundai Semiconductor president Sang Park.

To complete the patent love triangle, Hyundai heard this week that two of Rambus' three arguments for the dismissal of its - yes, you guessed it - patent violation claims against the RDRAM developer were rejected by the court.

However, Judge Ronald Whyte, in the San Jose District Court, did agree with Rambus that Hyundai's claim that it was conspiring against the Korean memory maker since Rambus was acting alone and you can't have a conspiracy if you have no partners to... well... conspire with.

Hyundai claims that Rambus was engaged in antitrust behaviour by allegedly manipulating SDRAM patents to favour RDRAM. It also maintains that Rambus didn't reveal its SDRAM patents during JEDEC negotiations, something Rambus was obliged to do. The case continues on these grounds. ®

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