by Anton Shilov
02/04/2009 | 11:22 PM
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has halted the patent infringement case filed by Rambus against Micron Technology. The stay order, issued by the Honorable Ronald M. Whyte, comes after an earlier decision by the U.S. District Court of Delaware that Rambus’ patents in that case were unenforceable against Micron.
“We are pleased that Judge Whyte recognized that the Delaware Court’s unenforceability ruling impacts the patents asserted by Rambus in the California matter, and that he stayed Rambus’ patent case against Micron. We believe that Judge Robinson’s thorough decision will be upheld on appeal,” said Rod Lewis, Micron’s vice president of legal affairs and general counsel.
Judge Whyte likewise stayed proceedings in parallel patent infringement cases filed by Rambus against Samsung Electronics, Nanya Technology Corp. and Hynix Semiconductor. Therefore, Rambus can still demand licensing fees from the aforementioned companies.
On January 9, the Honorable Sue L. Robinson of the U.S. District Court of Delaware held that because Rambus’ “spoliation conduct was extensive, including within its scope the destruction of innumerable documents relating to all aspects of Rambus’ business”, the only appropriate sanction for the conduct was “to declare the patents in suit unenforceable against Micron”.
In the opinion issued today, Judge Whyte acknowledged the impact of the Delaware Court’s decision and declared that the cases should be stayed indefinitely, pending appeals of the Delaware spoliation and unenforceability decision and a spoliation decision by Judge Whyte in an earlier case involving Rambus and Hynix.
“While we are disappointed with the stay of the coordinated cases, it is our expectation that the conflicting opinions of the district courts regarding document spoliation will go up together on appeal. We believe that our view will be vindicated,” said Tom Lavelle, senior vice president and general counsel at Rambus.