Rambus, everyone's favourite litigant, has had its corporate wrists slapped for 'blatant judge shopping' by the US International Trade Commission. The trade body has also imposed restrictions on the company should it ever file another SDRAM patent complaint with the ITC. [That's not very likely to happen, is it? - Ed]
Electronic Buyer's News reports that Judge Sidney Harris ruled that when Rambus withdrew its patent violation case against Hyundai, which had been assigned to him, the company was engaging in "judge shopping" because the firm didn't want him on the case. Harris has a reputation for toughness and has frequently ruled against firms filing complaints.
Rambus withdrew its ITC patent suit against Hyundai soon after Harris was given the case. In his ruling Harris said when Rambus filed its petition the firm had expected to have its case heard before Judge Paul Luckern, but the ITC assigned him to another case, so the Rambus petition went before Harris.
"The facts and circumstances in this investigation... appear to show a blatant instance of judge shopping," Harris ruled.
Rambus denies it was trying to choose a more - ahem - pliant judge to hear the case, saying it withdrew the complaint based on 'confidential strategic factors'.
Judge Harris rejected this as 'vague allegations of litigation strategy... not described in detail and not even mentioned in the original motion to withdraw the case'.
"The claim of 'privileged' litigation strategy is highly unlikely. Rambus has engaged in impermissible judge shopping." the judge added.
Harris then twisted the knife by ruling that if Rambus ever filed a new synchronous patent infringement case against Hyundai, or any other firm, the petition must be assigned to his court if he is available.
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