Case5:00-cv-20905-RMW Document4154 Filed08/22/12 Page1 of 2
MUNGER, TOLLES & OLSON LLP
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August 22, 2012
TRUC T. DO MELINDA EADES LeMOINE SETH GOLDMAN SUSAN R. SZABO LINDSAY D. M C CASKILL BRIAN R. HOCHLEUTNER GRANT A. DAVIS-DENNY JONATHAN H. BLAVIN KAREN J. EPHRAIM LIKA C. MIYAKE ANDREW W. SONG VICTORIA L. BOESCH HAILYN J. CHEN BRAD SCHNEIDER MIRIAM KIM MISTY M. SANFORD AIMEE FEINBERG KATHERINE KU KIMBERLY A. CHI SHOSHANA E. BANNETT DEREK J. KAUFMAN MARCUS J. SPIEGEL BETHANY W. KRISTOVICH WILLIAM E. CANO HENRY E. ORREN BENJAMIN W. HOWELL JACOB S. KREILKAMP ERIC P. TUTTLE HEATHER E. TAKAHASHI KEITH R.D. HAMILTON, II SORAYA C. KELLY PATRICK ANDERSON JEFFREY Y. WU MARK R. CONRAD L. ASHLEY AULL M. LANCE JASPER ALISSA BRANHAM ADAM R. LAWTON RACHEL L. STEIN AVI BRAZ DAVID C. LACHMAN JENNY H. HONG AARON SEIJI LOWENSTEIN
LAURA D. SMOLOWE SARALA V. NAGALA LEO GOLDBARD MATTHEW A. MACDONALD CAROLYN V. ZABRYCKI MARGARET G. ZIEGLER ESTHER H. SUNG MIRIAM SEIFTER BENJAMIN J. MARO RENEE DELPHIN-RODRIGUEZ MICHAEL J. MONGAN KATHRYN A. EIDMANN JOEL M. PURLES KYLE A. CASAZZA RICHARD C. CHEN AARON GREENE LEIDERMAN ERIN J. COX CLAIRE YAN DAVID H. PENNINGTON BRAM ALDEN MARK R. SAYSON JOHN M. RAPPAPORT DAVID C. THOMPSON ANNE HENRY LEE MATTHEW M. STEINBERG CHRISTIAN K. WREDE PETER E. GRATZINGER ––-––––– OF COUNSEL † RICHARD D. ESBENSHADE † ROBERT K. JOHNSON † ALAN V. FRIEDMAN RICHARD S. VOLPERT ALLISON B. STEIN SUSAN E. NASH ALLEN M. KATZ WILLIANA CHANG –––––––E. LEROY TOLLES (1 922-2008)
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WRITER’S DIRECT LINE
(213) 683-9255 (213) 683-5155 FAX Gregory.Stone@mto.com
Honorable Ronald M. Whyte United States District Judge United States District Court Northern District of California 280 South First Street San Jose, California 95113 Re: Dear Judge Whyte: I write in response to Mr. Nissly’s letter of August 21, 2012, regarding the International Trade Commission’s Opinion dated August 17, 2012, in Investigation No. 337-TA753. Among other rulings, the Commission found all of the asserted Barth patent claims to be invalid. The Commission also affirmed, over the opposition of the ITC staff, Judge Essex’s determination of unenforceability for the asserted Barth patents under the unclean hands doctrine. The Commission Opinion adds little, if anything, to Judge Essex’s analysis, which is unpersuasive for reasons previously discussed in my letter of March 22, 2012 (Dkt. No. 4135).1 With respect to the questions of when the duty to preserve arose and whether Rambus destroyed documents in bad faith, the Commission affirmed without explanation. Op. at 54. The Commission attempted to address prejudice in a less conclusory fashion, Op. at 54-55, but still failed to explain how the Respondents’ defenses were materially prejudiced by Rambus’s document policy. The Commission then compounded its errors by conclusorily affirming (Op. at 55) the “harsh sanction” of unenforceability without engaging in a rigorous analysis of “the degree of fault,” “the degree of prejudice,” and the availability of lesser sanctions. Micron Tech., Inc. v. Rambus Inc., 645 F.3d 1311, 1328-29 (Fed. Cir. 2011) (Micron II) (vacating terminating sanction).
Rambus had also discussed the errors in Judge Essex’s opinion in more detail in Dkt. No. 4139-1, at 56-95 (the unclean hands section of Rambus’s Petition for Review of the Initial Determination by Judge Essex).
Hynix Semiconductor Inc., et al. v. Rambus Inc., United States District Court, Northern District of California, Case No. CV-00-20905 RMW
Case5:00-cv-20905-RMW Document4154 Filed08/22/12 Page2 of 2 MUNGER, TOLLES & OLSON LLP Hon. Ronald M. Whyte August 22, 2012 Page 2 In addressing prejudice, rather than analyzing Respondents’ defenses to determine whether and to what extent their “substantial rights” were “affecte[d],” id. at 1328, the Commission incorrectly put the burden on Rambus to demonstrate that “the materials destroyed did not include prior art” and other prior-art-related documents, Op. at 55. But the destruction of relevant documents, assuming it occurred, shows only spoliation, not material prejudice. The only two defenses the Commission addressed in discussing prejudice were anticipation and inequitable conduct in connection with a draft SyncLink specification produced by Rambus. Op. at 54-55. Both failed independently on the merits.2 Although the Commission noted, “that we have rejected [those defenses] on the merits cannot be dispositive because a patent need not be invalid or unenforceable for other reasons in order for it to be unenforceable for spoliation,” id., both of those defenses failed for reasons that had nothing to do with Rambus’s internal documents. The Commission found that the draft SyncLink specification did not constitute prior art because it was not publicly available. Op. at 25-27. The Commission further found, under the inequitable conduct doctrine, that the draft specification was immaterial because it was not prior art. Op. at 34. Given these determinations, Rambus’s document destruction could not have been materially prejudicial. See Micron Tech., Inc. v. Rambus Inc., 255 F.R.D. 135, 151 n.59 (D. Del. 2009) (Micron I) (no prejudice to invalidity defenses because “prior art references (by definition) must be publicly available”); Ring Plus, Inc. v. Cingular Wireless, Inc., 614 F.3d 1354, 1361 (Fed. Cir. 2010) (“the materiality standard [for inequitable conduct] is an objective one”). As Rambus has discussed at length in prior briefing, Hynix’s claims of material prejudice are foreclosed by the objective legal standards governing Hynix’s defenses, as well as by Hynix’s own waiver of inequitable conduct. And Rambus, in any event, preserved and produced the relevant documents for Hynix’s defenses, including all prior art. See, e.g., Dkt. No. 4084, Br. ISO Rambus’s Proposed Findings, Nov. 14, 2011, at 18-22; Dkt. No. 4088, Response Br. ISO Rambus’s Proposed Findings, Dec. 5, 2011, at 39-49; Dkt. No. 4091-1, Rambus’s Suppl. Proposed Findings (Non-Annotated), Dec. 5, 2011, at 85-93. Very truly yours, /s/ Gregory P. Stone Gregory P. Stone GPS:ath Enclosure cc: All Counsel on ECF Service List (via e-file)
The Commission found the asserted Barth claims anticipated or rendered obvious by other prior art. Op. at 24-32.