Cypress vs. GSI Battle Following Rambus Lead

RAM FightThe current battle between Cypress Semiconductor and GSI Technology caught The Memory Guy’s eye recently.  Many readers may have missed this battle that commenced when Cypress filed a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) lawsuit in the US in which the company asked for GSI SRAMs to be barred from importation into the US because of a patent dispute.

GSI has issued a countersuit with a complaint of anticompetitive practices.

What garnered my interest is how similar the tactics in this lawsuit are to those used for some of the Rambus lawsuits that evolved over the years:

  • Company A complains of patent infringement and attempts to stop Company B from selling the allegedly infringing product.
  • Company B countersues claiming that Company A has is engaging in anticompetitive practices.

Although the trial date is this March, this is the kind of lawsuit that could, like Rambus, drag on for a number of years with strategic suits and countersuits, findings and appeals, and tests of the merits of the case in changing venues.  It is also a suit that could gobble up a significant amount of company resources.

While it is unclear which way this battle will turn, such proceedings very often result in a settlement, and it is rare for the terms of the settlement to be disclosed.

The Memory Guy believes that it would be best for both companies to have strong alternate sources for the products in question (High Speed SigmaRAM SRAMs) and I would expect that the key customers for these products, networking systems companies, are pushing hard to get the litigants to settle to minimize any chances of supply disruptions.  Very few companies manufacture these products.

Meanwhile, Cypress has released at least four large companies from the complaint, lessening the pressure these companies are likely to put on GSI, while issuing press releases with the high level of rethoric and bravado that are so characteristic of the firm.

Lawsuits are such a strange little dance!

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