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Rambus Levies Antitrust Claim

The intellectual property battle with Micron, Infineon, Hynix and Siemens takes another turn.

Rambus (RMBS) - Get Rambus Inc. Report, a designer of high-speed memory for PCs, on Wednesday said it has filed an anti-trust suit against four major memory makers and is seeking $1 billion in damages.

Filed in a California Superior Court, the suit alleges that

Hynix Semiconductor

of Japan,

Infineon Technologies



Micron Technology

(MU) - Get Micron Technology, Inc. Report

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Siemens AG

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engaged in a concerted and unlawful effort to eliminate competition, and stifle innovation in the market for computer memory technology and computer memory chips.

The anti-trust claim represents a new legal front in what has been a seemingly endless series of suits and countersuits involving Rambus and the memory makers. Rambus, which does no manufacturing, licenses its technology to memory-chip makers.

The crux of the litigation is whether Rambus is entitled to royalties from memory makers who use Rambus' designs. The memory makers claim that Rambus purposely deceived an industry standards-setting group in the early 1990s so that it would receive royalties.

A victory for Rambus in the patent litigation suits could ultimately add $2.50 to $3.00 per share, said Erach Desai, who follows the company for American Technology Research. (ATR does not have a banking business.)

Suits against Infineon and Hynix are scheduled for trial later this year. No trial date has yet been set for an action involving Micro. The anti-trust suit filed Wednesday is a separate legal action.

In recent trading, shares of Rambus were up 27 cents, or less than 1.33%, to $20.51; Micron was up 23 cents, or 1.68%, to $13.94; and Siemens was up 14 cents, or less than 1%, to $74.94.