Rambus Loses Antitrust Trial Versus Micron, Hynix

A jury in California has ruled against Rambus Inc. (NASDAQ:RMBS) in a high-profile antitrust trial that included allegations by Rambus of price fixing by its competitors.

The ruling sent shares of Silicon Valley-based computer chip technology company reeling. The stock fell more than 60%, closing down $10.93 at $7.11. The shares continued to fall in after-hours trading.

Rambus had accused competitors Micron Technology Inc. (NYSE:MU) and Hynix Semiconductor Inc. of working together to thwart the success of Rambus’ products. Among other allegations, the two companies were accused by Rambus of targeting Rambus’ RDRAM chips in an effort to keep them out of the memory market.

Rambus had sought damages of more than $4 billion.

However, jurors sided with the defendants after lawyers for Micron presented evidence that suggested it was Rambus’ own fault the RDRAM wasn’t as successful as Rambus had hoped.

In a statement, Steve Appleton, Micron’s CEO, said: “We are very pleased that the jury considered all the evidence at issue in this case and determined that Rambus' allegations against the company were completely without merit. The jury’s verdict validates our assertion that Micron acted in accordance with the law and consistent with its values of innovation and fair competition in the marketplace.”

Rambus’ CEO Harold Hughes said in a statement, “We are disappointed with this verdict as we believe strongly in our case. We thank our legal team and everyone who has supported Rambus in this case over the past seven years. We do not agree with several rulings that affected how this case was presented to the jury and we are reviewing our options for appeal.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that the jury ruled 9-3 against Rambus on the two most important aspects of the case. The first was whether Hynix and Micron conspired to artificially keep the price of chips using Rambus technology high to divert business to competitors. The second was whether the defendants worked to scuttle relations between Rambus and Intel Corp. (NASDAQ:INTC).