One of the IT industry's “Bleak House” lawsuits, between Rambus and Micron, has finally wound up after 13 years.
The battle of the DRAM makers dates back to an era when investors were just about to discover that their dotcom money was feeding an evanescent bubble.
After funding the education of enough lawyers' children to fill a Google party barge, the two companies have signed a cross licensing agreement allowing Micron to use “any Rambus patent” in the products it manufactures.
In return, Micron will pay Rambus a maximum of $US280 million, in quarterly payments of $US10 million over seven years. Some products will be covered by a perpetual license at the end of that term, while Micron will have the option to extend the agreement for other products.
The agreement also covers Elpida, which Micron acquired in August for $US2 billion. That acquisition made Micron a key supplier to Apple, and made it the world's second-largest DRAM supplier after Samsung.
Earlier this year, SK Hynix settled with Rambus in a $US240 million deal. Rambus' long battle against the memory industry hadn't been without its setbacks: the SK Hynix deal was dented by a judge's ruling that the company had shredded evidence.
That evidence-shredding also hurt Rambus' case against Micron, via a 2009 Delaware court decision to declare some of its patents unenforceable in punishment for the document destruction. ®