Rambus shares take off in after-hours trading

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Rambus shares exploded in after-hours trading Thursday, storming up more than 40 points from its close at 97 1/8 after announcing it had settled its patent lawsuits against Japanese electronic machinery maker Hitachi Ltd.

Rambus (Nasdaq: RMBS) shares closed up 4 1/2 to 97 1/8 in regular trading but rose as high as 140 as more than 7.8 million shares changed hands after the bell.

Under the settlement, Hitachi agreed to pay Rambus a licensing fee to use the technology, which deals with high-speed memory interfaces used in semiconductors. Further details were not disclosed.

Rambus claimed that Hitachi and Hitachi Semiconductor had infringed on its patents and filed suit in U.S. District Court.

Rambus also asked the U.S. International Trade Commission to investigate Hitachi, Hitachi Semiconductor, Sega Enterprises, and Sega of America, and filed a patent infringement suit against a Hitachi subsidiary in Germany.

Hitachi, which denied the Rambus allegations, has been granted a worldwide license under certain Rambus patents and patent applications for dynamic random access memory devices and the interfacing controllers. Other terms of the agreement weren’t divulged.

Hitachi agreed to pay Rambus a settlement fee as well as quarterly royalty payments.

"Rambus develops and licenses IP - our objective is to produce innovations that will benefit the semiconductor and systems industries, and by licensing these innovations to generate a return on investment to our shareholders," said CEO Geoff Tate in a prepared release.

In its latest quarter, Rambus hurdled the Street estimate, earning $4.9 million, or 4 cents a share, on sales of $15.7 million.

First Call Corp. consensus expects to earn 4 cents a share in its third quarter.

Its shares hit a 52-week high of 117 3/4 in March after falling to a low of 14 5/8 in September.

Reuters contributed to this report.