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Infineon lets Rambus retain SDRAM patents

It's worse for the chip maker's rivals this way

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Infineon does not want a Federal Judge to invalidate Rambus' SDRAM patents.

It's an interesting reversal. After the jury sitting in Rambus' patent violation action against Infineon sided with the chip maker that Rambus had indeed committed fraud, Infineon said it would ask for Rambus' patents to be declared unenforceable.

Infineon's formal request was due late last week, but none appeared. The company has decided not to proceed with it, an Infineon lawyer said, according to EBN.

It's not hard to see why. While the patents stand, those of Infineon's competitors who agreed to pay Rambus' royalties must continue to do so. They may try to renegotiate the contracts, or wait and hope that Micron will attempt to have the patents voided when its tussle with Rambus comes to court in the autumn. The

Either way, by leaving the patents intact, Infineon retains its competitive advantage, particularly now it's free from having to pay Rambus royalties and SDRAM prices are plummetting. Having had its products established as not being based on Rambus technology, Infineon presumably couldn't give a monkey's about the validity of Rambus' intellectual property rights - that's its competitors problem.

Samsung, for example, pays Rambus 0.75 per cent royalty on all single-rate SDRAM parts it ships. However, it may challenge Rambus' rates. A clause in its licence states: "If a court determines that the [Rambus] patents have not been infringed in any geographic area, Samsung royalties will not apply in that geographic area."

Infineon can still choose to have the patents ruled as unenforceable and may do so if the Appeal Court sides with Rambus and overturns Federal Judge Robert E Payne's decision favouring Infineon. ®

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