Rambus and Micron Settle Patent Dispute, Sign $280 Million Licensing Agreement

Paul Lilly

Over a dozen years of litigation finally comes to end

There's been no love lost between Rambus and Micron over the years. The two have been mired in litigation since 1990, which is when Rambus first sought license fees and threatened infringement lawsuits against memory makers who turned to the popular SDRAM standard over its own proprietary RDRAM spec. Rambus contended that its patents and inventions also applied to SDRAM, but as far as things are concerned with Micron, it's now a moot point.

The two companies inked a broad patent cross license agreement that grants Micron the right to use any Rambus patent for the manufacture of specified integrated circuit products, including memory products. Under terms of the agreement, Rambus will receive quarterly royalty payments for the next 7 years, not to exceed $10 million per quarter, along with a rolling 12-month cap fixed at $40 million, or $280 million during the initial term.

At the end of the 7-year period, Micron will have the option to extend the agreement for additional renewal periods under initial terms. In addition, this cross patent license agreement deems all outstanding patent and antitrust claims null and void, including those with Elpida, which Micron acquired earlier this year.

"This milestone agreement puts years of legal disputes behind both companies and opens doors for future cooperation," said Dr. Ron Black , president and chief executive officer at Rambus. "We continue to focus on developing innovative technology and furthering our more open, collaborative relationship with the broader industry."

What this boils down to is another win for Rambus, which also settled with Hynix earlier this year as part of a $240 million patent licensing agreement. Rambus has also inked license agreements with Nvidia and Broadcom over the years.

Image Credit: Flickr (Mike Deal aka ZokneDancer)

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