Rambus Grabs Another Victim, SK Hynix This Time

/ 8 years ago


If there ever was a company that knew how to milk an existence through patents and actually producing very little, then its Rambus. Rambus are notorious throughout the DRAM industry for chasing patents relentlessly and milking big companies for patent royalties for “questionable” patents. Most of the time companies settle out of court just to avoid the hassle because although Rambus doesn’t win all their legal cases, when they do they normally win big, as they did in the case against Nvidia in 2009.

That said SK Hynix are the latest company using DRAM products to cave in to the pressure from the patent troll Rambus. They have signed a five year licensing deal with Rambus and settled all outstanding claims. What does this amount to? Well around $12 million per quarter, that’s $48 million per year or $240 million for the 5 year licensing deal.

Rambus has been on a stroke of bad luck in recent years losing to Micron in 2009, Micron and Hynix in 2011 and in 2012 the “Barth Patents”, that allowed Rambus to bring down HP and Nvidia for huge damages, were declared invalid by the USPTO. Since then its shares have fell to relatively meager levels.

Rambus are nothing more than a “technology licensing” company these days having not developed much for many years. As far as I am aware they developed RDRAM, XDR and XR2 memory that was used in the PlayStation 3. They try and link any part of their own technologies to current DRAM products to salvage royalties from anything that works remotely similarly to their technologies.

You can read the full PR from Rambus below:

Rambus Inc., the innovative technology solutions company, and SK Hynix, the world’s top tier memory semiconductor supplier, today announced they have signed a five-year patent license agreement for the use of Rambus memory-related patented innovations in SK Hynix semiconductor products and have also settled all outstanding claims. The agreement includes a license to certain DRAM products for payments of $12 million per quarter for the next five years. Other terms of the agreement are confidential.

“This is a milestone agreement for both companies that puts years of legal disputes behind us and gives us the opportunity for collaboration,” said Dr. Ron Black, president and chief executive officer at Rambus. “With this agreement, we can focus more on engaging with the industry as we work on future challenges where we can bring invention and value to the market with superior solutions and products.”
Rambus management will host a conference call today at 2:00pm PT to discuss this agreement and settlement. The call will be available online at investor.rambus.com. A replay will be available following the call on the Rambus Investor Relations website for one week at the following numbers: (855) 859-2056 (domestic) or (404) 537-3406 (international) with ID# 94783491.

Image courtesy of Rambus

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