RICHMOND, Va. -- U.S. District Court Judge Robert Payne late Monday dismissed all but three of the patent infringement claims filed against Infineon Technologies AG by Rambus Inc., ruling that Rambus failed to prove that "dozens" of patents related to SDRAM and double-data-rate SDRAM technology had been violated.
Judge Payne is expected to rule sometime after Thursday whether to continue the trial on the basis of the remaining three claims, which protect programmable data block sizes and programmable registers and output drivers that connect to memory-IC address bus lines.
Judge Payne today also said that even if Infineon is determined to have infringed on the three patents remaining in the case, he would not find the Munich, Germany-based chip maker guilty of willfully violating Rambus' patents.
In presenting its case, Rambus argued that Infineon's own data sheets describing how its SDRAM and DDR SDRAM devices work proved that the company violated a number of Rambus' patents. Judge Payne rejected the argument, however, saying that Rambus was obligated to prove exactly how Infineon's memory chips violated each of the patents named in the case. He also rejected Rambus' allegations that Infineon had acted willfully in violating the company's technology rights.
Payne said he agreed that Infineon may have learned some preliminary details related to Rambus' synchronous memory technology during early discussions to license Rambus DRAM in 1990 and 1991. "But then there is a long leap to June 23, 2000, when Rambus next sent a letter to Infineon about its SDRAM patents" awarded in the 1999-2000 time period. Payne said it "would be a leap of faith" that during the 10-year interval Infineon had been intentionally trying to violate the patents.
Neither Infineon nor Rambus would discuss the judge's ruling.
In the meantime, Rambus has rested its case. Infineon will present evidence in the next several days seeking to prove that Rambus failed to disclose SDRAM patent applications when it was a member of a JEDEC open standards body that met to discuss the technology.
Infineon late Monday asked the court to dismiss the case based on an earlier ruling that limited Rambus' infringement claim to SDRAM patents that defined a multiplexed internal bus line.
Infineon said that because neither its SDRAM nor DDR SDRAM chips use the multiplexed bus technology they do not violate Rambus' patents. In response to the request, Judge Payne asked Infineon and Rambus to file briefs on the issue, which he will consider when determining whether to move ahead with the trial.