Hynix Semiconductor, Inc. v. Rambus, Inc., No. C-00-20905 RMW (N.D. Cal. Sept. 21, 2012)
As has been previously discussed on this blog (here), two federal courts analyzing nearly identical facts came to differing conclusions regarding whether a party to both litigations had committed spoliation by destroying documents pursuant to a newly adopted document retention policy. In Hynix Semiconductor, Inc. v. Rambus, Inc. (N.D. Cal.), the court determined that Rambus did not spoliate documents and the case was resolved in favor of Rambus (i.e., its patents were found to be enforceable and Hynix was ordered to pay damages and future royalties). In Micron Tech., Inc. v. Rambus, Inc. (D. Del.), the court found that Rambus did spoliate documents and, as a sanction, ordered that the at-issue patents were unenforceable as to Micron. Both cases were appealed to the Federal Circuit, which clarified the proper standard for determining when the duty to preserve arose—the crux of the spoliation question and an issue about which the two lower courts disagreed. The Federal Circuit court concluded that the district court in the Northern District of California had “applied too narrow a standard of forseeability” with regard to the question of when litigation was reasonably anticipated and remanded the case for further consideration.