Friday, January 4, 2013

Spoliation Renders Rambus DRAM Patents Unenforceable . . . Again

On remand after the Court of Appeals vacated the district judge's choice of sanction, the court again sanctioned defendant for spoliation of discovery documents and declared its DRAM patents-in-suit unenforceable. "[T]he deterrent effect of fees and costs or monetary sanctions would be insufficient; the temptation to destroy unfavorable evidence at the outset of high stakes litigation would overshadow the prospect of being sanctioned with paying fees and costs or other monetary sanctions. . . . The deterrent effect of an adverse jury instruction is 'limited in scope' because of the uncertainty as to whether a jury would draw an inference against the spoliator. . . . [An evidentiary sanction] would not be an appropriate remedial measure here because the nature of [defendant's] spoliation has made it impossible to know 'the precise contours of the destroyed materials.'. . . [T]he only appropriate sanction is to hold the patents-in-suit unenforceable against [plaintiff]. [Defendant's] destruction of evidence was of the worst type: intentional, widespread, advantage-seeking, and concealed. . . . Any lesser sanction would, in effect, reward [defendant] for the gamble it took by spoliating and tempt others to do the same."

Micron Technology v. Rambus Inc., 1-00-cv-00792 (DED January 2, 2013, Order) (Robinson, J.).

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