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What: Shares of Rambus (Nasdaq: RMBS) have soared today by as much as 24% after the company announced a favorable court ruling.

So what: Rambus' case against rival SK Hynix dates back over a decade, and was originally filed in August 2000. Judge Ronald Whyte found that the Rambus patents in question were valid and that SK Hynix had indeed infringed, entitling Rambus to royalty payments for past infringement.

Now what: Because Rambus was found guilty of "willfully" destroying documents, its punishment will simply be lower royalties. Whyte said that Rambus should have anticipated litigation and should have retained the documents, but said the company didn't "deliberately" destroy any that it thought would help Hynix. Rambus said the ruling doesn't give Hynix a license going forward, but hopes to settle the dispute "completely."

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Fool contributor Evan Niuholds no position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.