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Shhhh. Here comes Rambus; everyone shut up. The chip designer will be getting the silent treatment, now that a jury has convicted it of fraud for having attended standards meetings and then running off and patenting the group’s designs. Scribes loved the story’s delicious sense of turnabout: Rambus had sued Infineon Technologies for patent infringement, only to have its suit tossed out and get smacked with a $3.5 million judgment for fraud. The Washington Post offered the best explanation of the thorny chip-industry issues at play, explaining that the decision doesn’t invalidate Rambus’ patents but may make them unenforceable. Rambus, of course, plans to appeal. Media outlets quoted CEO Geoff Tate calling the verdict a threat to tech companies and to intellectual property law, but reporters added that the ruling posed a more serious poke to Rambus’ bottom line. Analysts have predicted that royalty payments from Rambus’ chip designs could bring the company as much as $1 billion a year from manufacturers such as Infineon, which is Europe’s largest chipmaker. If the patents aren’t enforceable, manufacturers might renege on the payments. The San Jose Mercury News added that top memory-maker Samsung has a clause in its contract that stipulates that if Rambus’ patents are deemed unenforceable, Samsung won’t have to pay further royalties. The Mercury also said attorneys for Hyundai and Micron Technology, both similarly being sued by Rambus for patent infringement, watched the courtroom proceedings while busily scribbling notes. The tussle over Rambus’ patents could take a while, legal observers said. In the meantime, if you’re looking for a lunch partner, call someone at Rambus. They’re probably free. Related Articles from The Industry Standard: Rambus Found Guilty of Fraud in Infineon Case, Will Appeal Verdict Rambus found guilty of fraud Court rules against Rambus Copyright � 2001 The Industry Standard

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