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Rambus litigation imperilled by document shredding

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A US Appeal court has found that Rambus had shredded documents pertinent to two lawsuits it had won, and has asked lower courts to re-examine the cases, threatening Rambus licence revenues.

A Reuters report on Friday revealed that Rambus, a serial and largely successful litigator in defence of its memory chip intellectual property, had shredded 300 boxes of documents relevant to a lawsuit against Micron, containing 9,000 to 18,000lbs of documents. The Appeal Court said it did not know if the shredding was serious enough to warrant Rambus losing the case it had bought against Micron, and so sent the case back to a lower district court in Delaware so that the lower court could consider the implications.

The second case involves Hynix; Rambus had been due to receive $400m in licence revenue from the Korean company after a successful suit. This is now at risk as the Appeal court has requested that a California court review its initial ruling (in favour of Rambus) given the document-shredding revelations.

Rambus issued a statement saying it was disappointed by the Appeal court's finding and hopeful of a positive outcome. Its shares declined in value as investors became worried that licence-related income might suffer.

"We are hopeful when the district courts reconsider these decisions, they will find, as we believe, there was no bad faith and no prejudice," said Rambus counsel Thomas Lavelle. ®

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