May 16, 2011 - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) ruled that Rambus Inc. was wrong to shred documents related to its lawsuits against Micron Technology and Hynix Semiconductor, and sent the cases back to the lower courts that originally heard them.
The ruling was based on evidence (from another of Rambus' patent lawsuits) that Rambus held "shred days" - complete with "pizza, beer, champagne, etc." - as part of its preparation for patent infringement litigation.
"It is undisputed that Rambus destroyed between 9,000 and 18,000 pounds of documents in 300 boxes," wrote the appeals court in its majority opinion in the Micron case.
GPC's Alexander Poltorak commented on the case in the Wall Street Journal ("Appeals Court Vacates Rambus's Patent Win Vs Hynix," Wall Street Journal, May 14, 2011 - subscription required to view full article).
"The federal circuit took a more expansive view of the duty of companies to preserve documents that may be relevant in future litigation," said Dr. Poltorak, who added, "It's a lesson for any IP-centric business. Patents are nothing but a license to sue."