Samsung Settles with Rambus for $900 Million

Just as the patent infringement case between them was set to go to trial, South Korean electronics giant Samsung has reached a settlement with Rambus that will have the company shelling out some $900 million. Samsung will pay Rambus $200 million immediately, purchase $200 million in Rambus stock, and pay Rambus about $25 million per quarter for the next five years. In return, Samsung gets a perpetual fully paid license to Rambus’s dynamic random access memory (DRAM) technology. Samsung is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of memory, and DRAM is the main type of memory used in PCs in and graphics controllers.

DRAM (Samsung)

“We have a tremendous opportunity to renew a partnership which has created solutions that have benefited consumers worldwide,” said Rambus president and CEO Harold Hughes, in a statement. “Bringing together Samsung’s market and technology leadership with our innovations for high-performance and high-efficiency memory architectures will make possible an exciting new generation of mobile, computing and consumer electronics products.”

The companies say they will put their differences behind them and focus on potential collaborations on memory technology for high-speed NAND flash memory as well as memory technologies for mobile devices and servers.

Rambus has a complicated legal history surrounding its memory technology: the company initially got into hot water following claims the company had violated antitrust regulations by failing to disclose patents that covered new chip designs before the Joint Electron Device Engineering Committee (JEDEC). The U.S. Federal Trade Commission initially ruled Rambus had violated antitrust rules, but Rambus managed to get the finding overturned on appeal.

Rambus is continuing to pursue infringement claims against other memory manufacturers, including Micron and Hynix Semiconductor.