Racketeer Act enters Rambus Infineon discussions

Payneful decision may come today

Updated A report on Electronic News said that US judge Robert E Payne made a pre-trial ruling yesterday that may destroy Rambus' claims that it holds vital patents on double data rate (DDR) and synchronous memory (SDRAM).

But according to Bloomberg, quoting Infineon lawyer Robert Tyler, no such ruling was issued yesterday.

Yesterday, the judge heard arguments in connection with the Rico Act. Rico stands for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations.

We don't know how that worked out yet. Some of the parties' motions were withdrawn in part, granted in part, and denied in part.

The ruling Electronic News claimed was issued yesterday, and quoting unnamed Infineon sources, suggested that it, as well as Micron and Hyundai, use a different bus in their implementation of DDR and SDRAM memory, and that meant Rambus patents on these technologies had not been breached.

Further, the case, scheduled to start on the 20th of March next, may never come before a jury, the same wire suggested.

However, other reliable sources close to the Rambus legal circus are suggesting that the parties involved are frantically briefing and selectively leaking information as the case gets nearer and the battle drums beat.

A pre-trial hearing set for later on today, will allow Judge Payne to consider requests from both Rambus and Infineon to provide summary judgements.

Although this hearing, ostensibly, is to schedule dates and events for the case, the judge could decide Infineon has no case to answer.

A look at the full list of dockets filed in the Rambus vs Infineon case, which can be found here suggests that the parties are still far apart.

Meanwhile, Dataquest, part of the Gartner Group, has suggested that DDR memory and Rambus memory may hold equivalent market shares by the end of this year.

According to the survey, the battle between the rival memory technologies, one sponsored by AMD and the other by Intel, is unlikely to be resolved this year.

Richard Gordon, a principal analyst at Dataquest, said: "Through DDR Ram, memory vendors have seized the only chance they have to keep control of the DRAM technology road map and to avoid the ignominy of becoming little more than silicon foundries for Intel and Rambus."

Dataquest is calling for the memory vendors to get together with Intel and AMD to form a wide ranging alliance and a "credible" road map. This alliance "should strive for transparency... to avoid conflict and the possibility of damaging legal action."

The memory market is now highly fragmented and there will be shortages because of "product mix issues". ®

* The share price of RMBS showed a big slump when Wall Street opened. At the time of this latest update, the price had fallen by nearly 26 per cent, down over $9 to $26.23.

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