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Samsung countersues Rambus

Revives old misdeed allegations

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Samsung has countersued Rambus, and has asked the courts to strip the memory technology developer of four patents it holds.

The complaint followed Rambus' own move to sue Samsung over alleged intellectual property infringement. Rambus also tore up a DDR SDRAM licensing agreement it had previously signed with Samsung, though the licence was due to expire at the end of this month anyway.

Samsung's lawsuit cites the old chestnut: that Rambus is alleged to have used information gained as a member of a Jedec DDR standards-setting committee to see where the specification was going, allowing it to patent key techniques ahead of time and cash in on the royalties it would subsequently be due.

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been investigating claims like these since May 2002, though an FTC administrative judge last year chucked out the organisation's case. FTC investigators are working on their appeal, and last month accused Rambus of destroying documents that would strengthen their case.

Samsung makes the same claim. For that, and the alleged Jedec shenanigans, Samsung wants the court to declare four Rambus patents "invalid and unenforceable".

Rambus is currently engaged in legal action against most of the world's major memory makers, sometimes several times over. In March, a Virginia court dismissed a case brought by Rambus against Infineon, with the judge noting that he believed the memory technology developer had destroyed key documents. Rambus said it would appeal against the decision, but instead reached a settlement with Infineon negating the need to do so.

Rambus is separately suing Infineon - along with Nanya, Micron, Inotera and Hynix - in the California court for allegedly infringing its patents, this time in GDDR devices. Rambus' action against Samsung was essentially a matter of adding the South Korean company to that complaint.

Tacking Samsung on this way, along with Samsung's own 'copy-cat' suit, suggests the companies' respective actions are little more than bargaining tools in their negotiations over the extension of Samsung's DDR licence to take in DDR 2. ®

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FTC claims Rambus spoiled antitrust evidence
Courts deny dismissals in Rambus legal actions
Legal costs cut Rambus earnings
Infineon and Rambus kiss and make up
Rambus Infineon claim chucked out of court Rambus sues four for GDDR 'infringement'

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