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Rambus changed RDRAM patent to include SDRAM – Infineon

The trial begins...

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Rambus vs Infineon Rambus' alleged attempts to manipulate its patents to give it control of SDRAM technology went right to the top of the company, chip maker Infineon claimed yesterday.

The Siemens spin-off made the claim during an opening statement as it prepares to defend itself against Rambus' charge that it ripped off the memory developer's intellectual property.

Rambus officials frequently discussed how "the RDRAM patent could be amended to cover the JEDEC industry SDRAM standard", the company said.

At the heart of the case is the question of whether Rambus indeed has the right to claim that IP as its own. Infineon says it doesn't and that recent depositions taken from senior Rambus executives show that they colluded with patent lawyers in 1998-99 to change its RDRAM patent to include key SDRAM technologies.

Those patents were originally filed in 1990, but amended around 1997 at the request of the US Patent and Trademark Office. Rambus claims its intellectual property rights go back to the early 1990s and that Infineon violated those rights after having seen its technology in 1991.

Infineon, on the other hand, says that it has only ever used JEDEC standard technology - which it believes pre-dates Rambus' final 1997 patent grant. If it is using Rambus technology, that's Rambus' fault for hiding that information from JEDEC when the standards body was preparing its SDRAM specification, Infineon claims.

It also says that the technology that the patent case's scope has been limited to isn't used in its chips. Rambus wants the scope of the case widened. The company also claimed that Infineon's refusal to license its SDRAM patents was putting the chip maker at a competitive advantage over those of its rivals who have signed up. We'd say that's their problem, not Infineon's - they could have challenged Rambus too. But those rivals' acceptance of Rambus' rights may well count against Infineon's case.

The case continues. ®

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