Rambus Sues Hitachi over Patent Infringement

High-speed memory maker Rambus Inc. filed a lawsuit today in U.S. district court accusing Hitachi Ltd. of infringing on patented technology in some of its key semiconductor products.

The suit, filed in the U.S. Federal District Court in Delaware, seeks to bar Hitachi from manufacturing, selling or importing semiconductor products including the Japanese vendor's high-performance SDRAM (synchronous dynamic random access memory) chips and SH series of microprocessors. The suit also seeks unspecified punitive damages, Rambus said in a statement issued today.

A Hitachi spokesman in Tokyo couldn't say immediately if the Japanese vendor has received the complaint, and declined to comment on the issue.

Hitachi is one of about 30 companies that have a license to manufacture memory and logic chips using RDRAM (Rambus DRAM), a high-speed memory interface developed by Rambus. Hitachi has yet to manufacture any RDRAM chips, and today's lawsuit has nothing to do with those products, Rambus said in the statement.

The U.S. vendor said it filed the lawsuit after Hitachi ignored repeated attempts to discuss the alleged patent infringements.

The products named in the suit include PC100 SDRAM, PC133 SDRAM, DDR SDRAM (double data rate SDRAM), SGRAM (synchronous graphics RAM) and DIMM modules, as well as Hitachi's SH-2, SH-3, SH-4 and SH-5 microprocessors. The lawsuit also seeks to prevent Hitachi from importing the products to the U.S.

Rambus said the chips infringe on four patents disclosed by the company in 1990, covering fundamental technology related to synchronous memory devices.

They are U.S. Patent Nos. 5,915,105; 5,953,263; 5,954,804 and 5,995,443, Rambus said.

Rambus, in Mountain View, California, can be found on the Web at http://www.rambus.com/. Hitachi Ltd., in Tokyo, can be found on the Web at http://www.hitachi.co.jp/.

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