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January 13, 2009

Rambus Loses Patent Case Due to Spoliation

Rambus lost a patent case against Micron litigated in federal district court in Delaware on a spoliation issue.  The judge accused the company of destroying relevant evidence when it should have known the documents could have been used in litigation.  The sanction, finding the patents it holds as unenforceable against Micron.  The court's opinion conflicts with another decision in similar litigation in California.  Micron is thrilled, Rambus will vigorously appeal, and lawyers will make more money over this.  As it should be.  More in PC World.

The opinion from the District Court in Delaware is on Westlaw at Micron Technology, Inc. v. Rambus Inc.
--- F.Supp.2d ----, 2009 WL 54887, D.Del., January 09, 2009.  The opinion from California that Rambus claims is in conflict is actually a resolution of the issue by stipulation:

5. Motion in limine no. 5 to exclude evidence of document retention and destruction of evidence

Resolved by stipulation. The agreed-upon resolution was:

[N]o party shall raise any allegations about the document retention policies or the destruction of documents by any party or about any party's alleged or adjudicated spoliation of evidence. If, however, a witness testifies about a document that has not been produced, a party may seek leave of the Court to pursue questioning of the witness about what happened to the document or documents. In addition, if a witness testifies that a party has not engaged in the destruction of documents or spoliation of evidence, then a party may seek leave of the Court to pursue questioning of the witness about that assertion. However, before pursuing any line of questioning related to the destruction of documents or spoliation, a party must make an offer of proof explaining the specific line of questioning the party intends to pursue.

Hynix Semiconductor Inc. v. Rambus Inc., Not Reported in F.Supp.2d, 2008 WL 350654, N.D.Cal., February 03, 2008.

The California opinion may not be legally what Rambus thinks it is, though that is why we have appellate courts.  [MG]

January 13, 2009 | Permalink

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