Rambus' ( RMBS) said after Thursday's close of market that it would accept a judge's recent decision to halve a $307 million jury award it won in litigation this spring, rather than let a new jury hear the case. In a separate announcement, Rambus said that its top lawyer, who has led the company through a series of important legal victories, will step down from his post effective immediately. Shares of Rambus were up 4%, or 59 cents, at $15.38 in extended trading. The Los Altos, Calif.-based company that it has accepted lower damages awarded to it in its litigation with South Korea's Hynix Semiconductor. In April, a jury in San Jose, Calif., federal court found that Hynix infringed on 10 of Rambus' patents for the memory interface of chips used in personal computers, including DDR, DDR2 and SDRAM. But Judge Ronald Whyte later slashed the $307 million award to $133.6 million, telling Rambus it could either accept the smaller amount or take its chances with an entirely new trial for the damages phase of the case. "We accept Judge Whyte's decision and continue to be gratified with the outcome of this case, including the jury's finding on validity and infringement," said Kramer in a statement. Rambus said it accepted the lower award with the understanding that the sum did not include interest that would have accrued prior to the judgment or damages for patent infringement after Dec. 31, 2005. The departure of General Counsel John Danforth represents a significant management change for Rambus, which designs and licenses intellectual property relating to computer memory. Much of Rambus' revenue, as well as its market capitalization, depends on the company's ability to enforce its patents. Danforth will assume a new role within the company, serving as a "senior legal adviser" and focusing on certain litigation matters. Robert Kramer, Rambus' deputy general counsel, will serve as acting general counsel until a permanent replacement for Danforth is found.
Danforth's role change postdates the exit of CFO Robert Eulau, who left the company in February to join Alien Technology, a private company that makes radio frequency identification chips. "In the nearly five years John has served as general counsel, he has helped us make great strides in being fairly compensated for our patented inventions," CEO Harold Hughes said in a statement. Hughes said that Danforth had begun to focus on his new role in October. Shares of Rambus closed the regular session off 65 cents to $14.79.