CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Tech Industry

Rambus shares plunge on talk of trial ruling

Shares fall more than 30 percent after reports that the judge presiding over the company's lawsuit against chipmaker Infineon may limit the scope of Rambus' patent claims.

Shares in memory designer Rambus fell more than 30 percent Thursday after reports that the judge presiding over the company's lawsuit against chipmaker Infineon may limit the scope of Rambus' patent claims.

Rambus shares close regular trading down $11.26, to $24.09. The slide follows a report on Electronic News that asserts U.S. District Judge Robert Payne will limit the scope of Rambus' claims against Infineon. The story is based on anonymous sources.

A Rambus representative said Payne has not yet made a decision and that a final ruling on the issue likely won't come out until Friday. Infineon could not be reached for comment.

Mountain View, Calif.-based Rambus is suing Infineon for patent infringement, claiming the German manufacturer owes it royalties for production of SDRAM and DDR DRAM, two types of memory currently used in computers. Infineon denies the claim.

Additionally, Infineon has raised a number of legal defenses that in effect assert that even if the patents are valid, Rambus can't enforce them because of their conduct while a member of a technological-standards body. This defense is rooted in antitrust law and the racketeering statutes originally created to stem organized crime, but the application of these laws is far less colorful than it might sound. Infineon is basically claiming that Rambus wasn't as forthcoming as it could have been.

Infineon requested that Payne limit Rambus' claims. Electronic News said anonymous sources stated that Payne has issued a preliminary ruling in favor of Infineon. Both representatives from Rambus and Infineon, however, denied that and told Bloomberg News the judge has made no ruling on the issue.

A ruling limiting the scope of the claims, as well as the outcome of the trial, could have wide repercussions. Rambus also has similar suits pending against Micron Technology and Hyundai. Rulings in the Infineon case could become a guide for the other cases. A trial pitting Rambus against Micron in Germany was supposed to begin last month but has been delayed until July.

A number of companies that have settled with Rambus could also wriggle free from their royalty agreements. If the patents are declared invalid, these companies will not be required to pay the company royalties in the future, Rambus executives have said.