SAN JOSE, Calif. Rambus Inc. late Monday (June 6) said that it has added Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. as a defendant in its pending patent infringement suit against four companies over memory technology. Rambus has also terminated a memory license agreement with Samsung ahead of schedule.
In January, Rambus also filed a similar suit against Hynix Semiconductor, Infineon Technologies, Inotera Memories and Nanya Technology Corp.
In its claims filed against South Korea's Samsung, Rambus (Los Altos, Calif.) asserts infringement of 14 of its patents by DDR2, GDDR2 and GDDR3 devices that are currently shipping in the marketplace. Rambus is also asserting infringement of 11 of its patents by SDRAM and DDR DRAM memory and controller products. Today's action does not affect Samsung's role as a licensee of RDRAM and XDR DRAM memory types.
"While we have regarded Samsung as a valuable licensee of our patents for certain applications, a number of issues now exist that have made the renewal and expansion of the Samsung SDRAM/DDR license difficult," said Harold Hughes, chief executive officer at Rambus, in a statement.
"These issues have caused us to terminate that license prior to its scheduled June 30, 2005 end date," he said. "We continue to value our relationship with Samsung as one of the primary manufactures of memory using our XDR DRAM and RDRAM designs. We very much hope that there is an opportunity in the near future to normalize all other aspects of our relationship as well."
In January, Rambus also filed a suit against Hynix, Infineon, Inotera, and Nanya, alleging the four competitors illegally used its technology for their DDR2 memory devices and GDDR2 and GDDR3 graphics memory devices.
Rambus filed the complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, asserting the four companies infringed up to 18 Rambus patents for the memory devices. According to the complaint, Rambus is seeking to recoup damages for what it alleged was willful infringement by its rivals. It is seeking an injunction preventing the companies from continuing to infringe on its patents.
For Rambus, the suit is the latest in a string of court battles against rival DRAM makers as the company's royalty-based business model continues to be tested and intellectual property debates remain a hot-button issue for technology companies (see Jan. 25 story).