Rambus Targets Dreamcast Shipments in Patent Spat

TOKYO (03/24/2000) - Rambus Inc. said late yesterday it has filed a request with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to investigate a possible halt to imports to the U.S. of Hitachi Ltd.'s SH microprocessor and products containing the device, including Sega Enterprises Ltd.'s Dreamcast game console.

A spokesman for Hitachi said the company was unable to make a comment on the latest filing as it has not yet seen a copy of the complaint. Sega Enterprises in a statement said it was simply a customer for the SH microprocessor and was discussing the matter with Hitachi.

The complaint also seeks an investigation into Hitachi SDRAM (synchronous dynamic random access memory) and DDR (double-data rate) SDRAM chips, according to a statement issued by chip design company Rambus.

The move is the latest in a spat that became public in January when Rambus filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware accusing Hitachi and Hitachi Semiconductor (America) Ltd. of infringing four of its patents. Rambus claimed some of the technology in some of Hitachi's SH-series microprocessors is covered by patents it owns. [See "UPDATE: Rambus Sues Hitachi over Patents," Jan. 19].

Rambus has developed its own memory interface technology and licensed it to around 30 companies, including Hitachi, but the Japanese company has yet to produce any chips based on the system.

Rambus, in Mountain View, California, can be reached at +1-650-944-8000, or on the Web at http://www.rambus.com/. Hitachi, in Tokyo, is at http://www.hitachi.co.jp/ and Sega Enterprises, also in Tokyo, is at http://www.sega.co.jp/.

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