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USPTO Rejects Two Rambus Patents... After It's Used Them To Win Patent Cases Against Companies

from the presumption-of-validity dept

Rambus has been one of the much more aggressive patent players out there, basing its entire business on suing companies for supposedly infringing its patents on chip designs. The latest is that two of the company's key patents, which had already been used to win ITC cases against Nvidia, HP and others, have been ruled invalid by the USPTO. Stories like this are why we wonder about the presumption of validity in patents, and also question why court judges and the ITC are still willing to decide cases, even after the UPSTO is re-examining them (a process that almost always leads to rejected claims). Of course, for Nvidia and HP, there's nothing they can do now. Even though the patents were later declared invalid, the fact that they already paid up (and any others who felt pressured into a license) isn't something that gets unwound. Of course, all this does is encourage more bogus patent infringement lawsuits, knowing that as long as you can get a judge to rule before the USPTO can review, you could be golden...


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    The eejit (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 12:27am

    Okay, who heard here of the company that went berserk and tied all the patent trolls to lampposts with rags stuffed into ther mouths and went all Stabbity Rabbity over the USPTO's face?

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 1:24am

    Re: Oh No

    Most patent trolls are judgment-proof entities. They are shell companies, run by unknown persons. Their registered offices are kept permanently empty. When the cops come knocking, there is never anyone there.

    The interesting thing here is that Rambus is not judgment proof. They used to make stuff, so they have real, known directors, who can be held liable.

     

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  3.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 4:23am

    "basing its entire business on suing companies for supposedly infringing its patents on chip designs"

    No, it was worse. Their business was participating in the creation of new standards for chip designs and then suing based upon those standards.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 5:28am

    It isn't any different for someone to be found guilty under a given law, only to have that law rejected as unconstitutional in a later case. You may feel bad about it now, but at the time, you were guilty, like it or not.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 6:07am

    Re:

    That is why things need to change so things like this don't become the rule.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 6:13am

    Re: Re:

    Since they aren't the rule, what's the issue? They are exceptional cases. Millions of patents, and a handful of exceptional cases. Mike wants you to think everything is broken, but in reality, very few patents are reversed.

    Smoke and mirrors.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    boost, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 6:34am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The point is that more should be reversed or not granted period. Like all software patents...

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    boost, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 6:34am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The point is that more should be reversed or not granted period. Like all software patents...

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    DCX2, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 7:00am

    Re: Re: Oh No

    Perhaps we should have a law where unknown persons are not considered persons and therefore cannot exercise any rights. If you want to sue someone for infringement, you must be willing to identify yourself.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 7:13am

    patent infringement lawsuits, knowing that as long as you can get a judge to rule before the USPTO can review, you could be golden...

    I've got this patent infringement lawsuit and it's F@#$%^$ Golden.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 7:15am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "But in reality, very few patents are reversed"

    Citation please?

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 7:19am

    Re:

    If a law is unconstitutional, it is still on the books and is known. If a patent is found to be not patentable, you aren't told about the patent, and you implement something in your product that looks to be not patentable.

    There is defense to the former, even if the law is unconstitutional, follow it. There is no defense to the latter, short of not making anything at all, as a wrong patent could potentially include anything.

     

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  13.  
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    Atkray (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 7:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I know it wasn't on purpose but that needed to be said twice.

     

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  14.  
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    Stuart, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 7:34am

    Re:

    So what were they guilty of?

     

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  15.  
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    Bob Webster (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 7:41am

    Why?

    Why were the patents ruled invalid?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 8:08am

    "USPTO Rejects Two Rambus Patents... After It's Used Them To Win Patent Cases Against Companies"

    So do those who lost those bogus patent cases ever get their money back?

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 8:12am

    The reexamination of an issued patent by the USPTO is an administrative proceeding that is subject to later review by the CAFC.

    Much is made here about USPTO decisions declaring issued patents invalid in light of prior art cited during the reexamination, as if this is a final decision on the merits. Most assuredly it is not since a patentee whose patent is declared invalid in such an administrative proceeding may either appeal the decision directly to the CAFC or may file a civil action in Federal District Court (with any subsequent appeal to the CAFC).

    To illustrate, a flurry of articles appeared when the USPTO declared at the conclusion of the reexamination proceedings that all 8 of the patents asserted by NTP against RIM were declared invalid. What goes unnoted is that when the decision was appealed by NTP to the CAFC the court reversed the USPTO decision in 7 of the 8 patents that were reexamined.

    The point to be made is this. An adverse decision on reexamination is not the final word, and for those who latch on to decisions by the USPTO as proof that a "bad" patent got through the system, they are acting hastily in a process that is far from over.

     

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  18.  
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    CommonSense (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 8:20am

    Re: Re: Re:

    the fact that any are reversed is a symptom of everything being broken. There should be absolutely NONE reversed, because a reversal is a failure to catch a bad application, that should have been rejected in the first place. Fix that, then no more reversals, and we don't really need to worry about this type of thing, even as an exception. So you're not, not everything is broken, just the foundation, which makes everything else look broken...

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 8:57am

    Re:

    Actually exonerates means explicitly that you were not guilty. It means, instead, that society was wrong to have judged you such.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Robert Freetard, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 9:26am

    If the patents are invalid, why can't it be "unwound"?

    Whatever agreement or judgement that was arrived at was under the false assumption that the patents were valid. What prevents Nvidia, HP and ETC from getting those judgements reversed?

    The ability to do that would certainly have a suitably chilling effect on patent trolling with poor quality patents.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    MrWilson, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 9:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Oh No

    Agreed. How do they prove they own the patents if they don't even prove who they are?

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 10:03am

    Re:

    Did you...read the article?

     

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  23.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 10:14am

    Re:

    The point to be made is this. An adverse decision on reexamination is not the final word, and for those who latch on to decisions by the USPTO as proof that a "bad" patent got through the system, they are acting hastily in a process that is far from over

    I love the fact that you're the first to jump up and down and support the presumption of validity based on 18 hours of study by an examiner, but when it comes to rejecting patents, you say "oh no, you have to wait."

    Try again.

     

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  24.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:56am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Smoke and mirrors.

    Says the guy who refuses to identify himself and what interests he represents. Who refuses to provide evidence for his unfounded assertions. Who disagrees with nearly everything on Techdirt, just to disagree.

    Take one of those mirrors and look in it, buddy.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 12:21pm

    Re: Re:

    You must have me confused with someone else since nowhere did I talk about the "presumption of validity".

    I talked simply about the fact that agency actions are typically subject to judicial review, and failing to make any mention of this in an article represents a glaring omission, using NTP as an example of why this is so.

    Since you happened to mention in the article a prior ITC action, it would be useful for you to add 19 USC 1337 to your "should read" list. A "337" action before the ITC serves a fundamentally different purpose, is a fundamentally different process, remedies available are very limited, etc. Doing so you would quickly discover that concurrent ITC and Federal District Court actions are not even close to being equivalents.

    As for the "presumption of validity" you mention in your response, you might find i4i v. Microsoft quite informative.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Willton, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 8:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You're asking him to prove a negative? Why don't you provide the number of patents that were "reversed", and we can compare that to the number of patents that were issued in the same year.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    staff, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 9:17am

    another biased article

    All you know about patents is you don't have any. The PTO grants about 95% of reexam requests -about 70% within a few days of filing. They have become a shill for large infringers like many others.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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