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Microchip maker Rambus Inc. spent $7.1 million on litigation last quarter, and there’s more to come. In a ruling released Wednesday, the Federal Trade Commission cleared the last obstacle to an April 30 trial against the company when an administrative law judge turned away Rambus’ last-ditch defense. Rambus faces antitrust charges for being part of the industry standard-setting group Joint Electron Device Engineering Council without disclosing it held one patent and had several others pending for technologies adopted by the group. … U.S. District Judge Elaine Bucklo in Illinois issued a stinging rejection of a $25 million class action settlement involving H&R Block, removing from the case all of the plaintiffs’ lawyers who agreed to the deal. She said the lawyers were “inadequate representatives” of the class. H&R Block and banking partner Household International Inc. allegedly charged excessive interest to 17 million customers for loans on tax returns. Bucklo was not the first to smell trouble: The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that a previous version of the deal had been negotiated under “suspicious circumstances.” H&R Block is facing similar litigation in several states. A proposed $311 million settlement is up for review in June in Texas. … A long road for anti-abortion activist James Pouillon ended in a flat tire Wednesday. Pouillon, who for years put on sidewalk demonstrations in Owosso, Mich., was arrested on the day he moved to the City Hall steps in 1994. He sued the police, and rejected settlement offers of $2,500 and then $10,001 before losing at trial. He appealed, got a new trial, and won, sort of: The jury awarded him $2. He sought and got attorney fees, until 6th Circuit Judge Julia Smith Gibbons wrote that civil rights law does not allow fees for those who win “1/5,000th” of the damages they could have gotten. Pouillon’s counsel: Michael Gildner of Simen, Figura & Parker in Flint, Mich. Related links: Judge Rejects Rambus Bid to Dismiss FTC Case Judge Rejects Deal on Income-Tax Loans James Pouillon v. Sharon Little and W.G. Blanchett

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