A patent infringement case between Rambus Inc. and SK Hynix took another turn earlier this month when a federal judge in San Jose, California, levied a huge sanction against Rambus. The fine of $250 million was for destroying documentation dealing with the company’s current lawsuit against Hynix.

The initial case was filed by Rambus in 2006 and resulted in an award of $349 million against Hynix for infringing on Rambus’ patents. The fine against Rambus is meant to be used a “credit” towards the $349 million judgment, but Hynix’s attorneys do not believe the sanction was high enough. Hynix also asked for a new trial, but the judge denied that request. Hynix now plans to appeal the judge’s ruling. The U.S. Court of Appeals has already heard an appeal by Hynix to throw out the $349 million verdict for patent infringement. The lower court’s verdict was upheld.

The case that Rambus filed against Hynix, as well as another case pending against Micron Technology, Inc., is related the defendants’ use of dynamic random access memory or DRAM. This is an important component of a computer, as it is the main memory. DRAM is interchangeable among the different computer brands, so it is built to industry standards. The documentation that Rambus allegedly destroyed were related to the information the company provided the board that sets the standard for DRAM in the industry.

There is little doubt that the area of law dealing with copyright, patents and other intellectual property is quite complex. If you feel your patent or copyright has been infringed upon, contact a California copyright attorney as soon as possible. There are civil remedies that may be pursed in order to protect your intellectual property.

Source:  businessweek.com, “Rambus fined $250 million in Hynix patent-infringement case” Joel Rosenblatt, May. 09, 2013