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FTC claims Rambus spoiled antitrust evidence

'Wouldn't have changed things,' says Rambus

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The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has accused Rambus of destroying vital documents pertaining to its antitrust case against the memory technology developer.

The allegation accompanied a request made by FTC investigators to re-open the record on the case in order that new evidence might be submitted.

The request follows the accord reached last March between Rambus and long-time legal opponent Infineon. The FTC maintains Rambus destroyed evidence ahead of that settlement. Its close interest in the Rambus/Infineon fight arises from its own case against the company, which grew out of evidence that emerged in the Infineon action. Essentially, the FTC claimed the Rambus had "deceived" JEDEC, the memory standard-setting body by deliberately withholding its plan to patent certain technologies it knew would be part of the organisation's DDR SDRAM specification.

The FTC's antitrust allegations against Rambus went to trial in the summer of 2003 after the organisation formally accused Rambus of anti-competitive behaviour the previous June, itself the result of an investigation launched in May 2002. The case collapsed in February 2004 when a commission administrative judge dismissed the allegations. Soon after, FTC investigators filed a brief to appeal against that ruling.

Rambus said it believes "nothing missing from any Rambus document production would have changed" the administrative judge's findings. However, it said it was taking "further extraordinary steps" to address the FTC's claims.

"We take allegations of spoliation very seriously," said John Danforth, Rambus' general counsel.

"If reopened, the FTC record ought to include other new evidence as well, including recent DRAM industry guilty pleas that go to the motives and admitted anti-competitive conduct of those DRAM companies who urged the FTC to bring this case and on whose testimony the FTC staff relied heavily at trial," he added. ®

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