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Rambus Inc.’s patent infringement claims against memory chip maker Infineon Technologies AG were dismissed Tuesday after a federal judge found Rambus destroyed documents in anticipation of the case. Los Altos, Calif.-based Rambus, which designed a chip interface to speed computer memory, claimed Infineon used its patented technology for its DDR DRAM memory chips without a license. Rambus has made similar claims against other chip makers as well. Infineon denied the allegations and, in a motion, claimed Rambus destroyed key documents related to the pending litigation. On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Robert Payne in Richmond, Va., agreed with Infineon. Memory chips are used in a variety of electronic devices, ranging from video game consoles to personal computers. Rambus stood to gain millions of dollars if it had prevailed. “We are gratified that the Court determined that Rambus’s litigation misconduct should not be rewarded,” Infineon said in a statement. Rambus shares plummeted more than 10.6 percent, or $1.82, to $15.34 in after-hours trading. They closed at $17.16, down 41 cents, in regular Tuesday trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market prior to Payne’s decision. John Danforth, Rambus’ general counsel, said the company feels it has “a strong case on appeal.” “We look forward to eventually presenting our patent claims on the merits so our contributions to the industry and the value of our inventions are clear,” he said in a statement. Payne’s decision is the latest in a battle that began in 2000, when Rambus sued Infineon over royalty payments. Infineon refused to pay, alleging that Rambus participated in an industry standard setting group from 1991 to 1995 but failed to disclose that it already had patents on some technical specifications. A Virginia jury decided in 2001 that Rambus should pay Infineon about $10 million in damages and litigation costs. A federal appeals court reversed the trial court ruling in early 2003, and Infineon demanded a retrial. Rambus, meanwhile, is continuing to assert larger patent claims against Hynix Semiconductor, Infineon, Inotera Memories and Nanya Technology Corp. It also has a case pending against Micron Technologies. Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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