Rambus is in hot water -

It looks like chipmaker turned patent troll Rambus is in hot water with the courts.

A US Judge has ruled that the company destroyed records that could have been evidence in its patent dispute with South Korea's Hynix Semiconductor.

The court has not yet decided on a penalty for the American firm, but Hynix is confident that the ruling will "substantially limit" the royalties it will be required to pay Rambus for infringing on the company's patents.

Hynix had been on the back foot in the case since Judge Ronald Whyte of the US District Court for the Northern District of California said that Rambus' patents should still be seen as valid.

However, Judge Whyte said that Rambus' destruction of evidence "should preclude it from entitlement to a royalty that places Hynix at a competitive disadvantage".

Both companies have been told to come up with a figure of what they believe would be a reasonable royalty rate for the patents.

Rambus General Counsel Thomas Lavelle told Reuters  that this was a positive result as it is consistent with what it had been seeking "reasonable compensation for the use of our patented inventions."

Whyte had ordered Hynix to pay Rambus around $397 million for infringing on DRAM patents.