Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Rambus Sends Its Patent Lawyers After The Mobile Phone Industry

from the uh-oh dept

As if the wireless industry needs any more destructive patent battles, here comes Rambus, a one-company patent-induced tornado, directly into the handset world. If you recall, Rambus has spent the better part of this millennium (and parts of the previous one) fighting various patent litigation suits that have resulted in the company getting millions of dollars -- though sometimes under questionable circumstances. Remember, this is the company that went to various standards planning meetings, took notes, quietly amended patents to cover what the eventual standards would cover, pushed for the new standards to include stuff they knew they had patents pending on (without mentioning that to other members) and then after the standards were granted coming in and demanding licensing fees from everyone. While Rambus has convinced many companies to hand over millions of dollars, last year it had one case thrown out after the company was caught destroying important relevant documents concerning the case (see update below). Sounds like a great company, right? Well, now Rambus' CEO has mentioned that just about every mobile handset maker infringes on some Rambus patents. This isn't a comment he made just for the hell of it, of course. He's putting those firms on notice, and, if they hadn't already, they're probably about to get letters demanding licensing fees. He claims that the reason everyone is infringing was they thought that Rambus would lose its other patent lawsuits. That seems like a stretch. Given Rambus' history of being trigger happy on patent litigation, you would think most firms would actually be extra careful around the technology. Perhaps a more reasonable explanation is that the firms never thought they were infringing in the first place. Update: Someone in the comments helpfully let us know that they were later exonerated from the charge of destroying documents, which we were unaware of. Others in the comments take issue with the other claims against the company as well. That's why we like having comments, because it allows people to bring up things like this and point out things that were missed or that people disagree with. Please read on for more info in the comments.

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  1. identicon
    sxk_2005, 19 Feb 2006 @ 6:06am

    Get teh facts about Rambus

    You are so off base from the truth, it is not even funny. But then, I am a biased Rambus share holder so don't take my word for it. Instead, I would advise you to read only one document by the Federal Trade Committee appointed Administrative Law Judge. The FTC ALJ heard arguments from the FTC side and from Rambus side and came up with a lengthy document detailing the truth behind all the Rambus happenings. Here is a link to that document: Please read at least the findings of fact before you reach a conclusion. This document will clear up at least the following things for you: (1) Rambus actually invented Synchronous memory and taught the entire world how to get it to work. (2) The work arounds are a lot more expensive thant what Rambus is asking for from a royalties perspective. (3) The DRAM manufacturers are the actual colluding thieves who tried to muscle the little company that could. All the DRAM manufacturers have pled guilty to price fixing and paid close to a collective $1B in fines. And more. This is a fiction movie writer's dream. And it is based on a true story.

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