Computer memory designer Rambus Inc. was handed a defeat in a trial this afternoon over its claims that two peers colluded to keep Intel from moving forward with its technology.
Rambus claimed it lost $3.95 billion in potential revenues, which under California antitrust law, would have been tripled for a fine totaling nearly $12 billion. The company’s stock tumbled more than 60% as more than 15.8 million shares traded hands on the news, halting trading half a dozen times.
Much like Kodak, Rambus is increasingly reliant on fees from competitors. In 2010, Samsung agreed to pay the Los Altos, California, based company $900 million to end legal fees. Rambus pioneered RDRAM, or Rambus Designed Random-Access Memory, in the 1990s.
The company alleges that Micron Technology and Hynix Semiconductor, which had contracts to manufacture RDRAM, worked to derail its work with Intel by raising prices on their manufactured RDRAM, forcing Intel to abandon the product.
However, an Intel manager told the court that specific contractual provisions made by Rambus pushed the chip-maker away.
“We are disappointed with this verdict as we believe strongly in our case,” said Harold Hughes, CEO of Rambus. “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 trial started in July, with jury deliberations beginning at the end of September.
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