Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

FTC Tells Rambus It Needs To License Its Chip Tech At A Set Price

from the oops dept

Ah, Rambus. There's just something about this company (or, more accurately, it's wildly angry investors) who make it fun to follow. The various lawsuits have been going on for quite some time, but the accusations basically stated that Rambus quietly filed patent applications on technology that they knew was being standardized without telling the standards board. That way, once the standard was set and the patents were approved, they could charge everyone a nice fee. In a later case, Rambus was also accused of destroying documents, though they were later exonerated over that claim. Still, that never stops the somewhat rabid investors in Rambus from flooding many message boards insisting that the company can do no wrong -- and anyone who points to some of the more questionable patenting activities of the company is obviously part of some grand conspiracy (we've even been accused of corruption after discussing one Rambus case). Unfortunately, it appears that the FTC doesn't agree with that crowd. It's now decided that Rambus must license its DRAM chips to other vendors and do so at a capped royalty fee, as punishment for what the company has done. Of course, Rambus plans to appeal, to drag this issue out even longer. To be honest, it's not clear that it really makes much of a difference what the FTC does at this point, but given the history of stories around this company and the vehement insistence that it's squeaky clean, it seemed worth noting that the FTC still sees things the other way.

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  • identicon
    Noel Le, 5 Feb 2007 @ 6:37pm


    Of all the firms depicted as patent trolls, Rambus really wins the prize for abusing the patent system.

    Check out: David Mowery and Stuart Graham, Submarines in Software? Continuations in US Software Patenting in the 1980s and 1990s,
    Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Vol. 13, No. 5, pp. 443-456, July 2004.

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

    • icon
      Mike (profile), 5 Feb 2007 @ 6:41pm

      Re: Rambus

      Watch out Noel... the Rambus investor fans may get angry with you. Last time I pointed to Rambus' patent abuse, I got angry emails from Rambus investors, claiming that Rambus legal counsel as well as the FBI had been alerted to my lies, and it was likely that I'd soon be hearing from both.

      And then there were the charges of "corruption."

      You may be next... :)

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

  • identicon
    DWR, 5 Feb 2007 @ 6:55pm

    Cult or Religion

    So.. are there enough Rambus investors to qualify as a religion or are they still a cult? At what point does the board of directors hand out the kool-aid so that the investors can escape the evil FTC and join God in his spaceship?

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

  • identicon
    Noel Le, 5 Feb 2007 @ 7:11pm

    Ohhh, I'm scared

    If they come after me Masnick, I'll compile a spreadsheet of every law review and economics study that depicts them as the biggest patent troll ever.

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

  • identicon
    Here's a story, 5 Feb 2007 @ 9:05pm

    Here's something to add to your story......NOBODY CARES because nobody uses RAMBUS!!! It's inefficient crap-ola. So they're going to monopolies against those still stuck on it. Sucks for them but serves them right!! Time for an upgrade

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

    • identicon
      Polspan, 5 Feb 2007 @ 9:45pm

      Re: here's a story

      Actually the problem is that RAMBUS gets paid every time anyone uses DDR or DDR2- that's what the story is about. Also, the court won't even reduce RAMBUS royalties on DDR2, only DDR and SDR which are both essentially already dead.

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

    • identicon
      Dosquatch, 6 Feb 2007 @ 10:50am

      Re: Here's a story

      NOBODY CARES because nobody uses RAMBUS!!! It's inefficient crap-ola.

      Wrong, you don't care. Rambus is actually faster and more stable than DDR/DDR2, that's why it is used mostly in servers (which is not the same as saying most servers use Rambus, but it does mean that quite a few IT pros do care). The price, not the technology, is what kept it from being more widely adopted in desktop systems.

      It's another case of VHS vs. BetaMax - the superior format lost to the more consumer-friendly version.

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

  • identicon
    |333173|3|_||3, 5 Feb 2007 @ 9:46pm

    Patent Ban

    If this is a fraudulently gained patent (i.e. they did not invent what is in the patent), then they should ahve it revoked, and a ban on patensing imposed, and possibly be forced to liscene for free for a year for each fraudulent patent. Thst might hel a bit.

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

  • identicon
    Cixelsid (secretly 733|3331|||), 6 Feb 2007 @ 7:19am

    Patent Ban

    Tks 4 ur contr b utin |3333333||||333333333|||

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

  • identicon
    russell bramlett, 7 Dec 2007 @ 3:24pm

    Theft of property

    Let me get this straight
    Rambus has pending patents Micron,Samsung,Infenion,Hynix et al sign non disclosure
    statements in order to see how the tech works.

    They invite Rambus to join a standard setting body(jedec)
    Jedec refuses to let Rambus present their tech for the standard(the only member ever refused by the way)

    Rambus resigns from jedec and tells the members their tech will not be free.
    Jedec members STILL incorporate the tech.

    Micron,Hynix,Infenion et al refuse to pay and file law suites in Cal and Del

    Micron and Hynix complain to the FTC about Rambus attending jedec and wanting to be paid for their PRIVATE PROPERTY
    FTC files charges against Rambus.

    Former head of ftc Bill Bauer was working for Microns law firm
    Ftc judge finds Rambus NOT GUILTY in the longest most expensive trial in the history of the ftc.

    Ftc commissioners overrule the judge that heard all the evidence.

    Now evidence shows that Microns law firm assisted and prepared much of the ftc's case prior during and after the trial.This in clear violation of ftc statutes.

    Oh by the way the Court of Appeals ruled that jedec had NO DUTY TO DISCLOSE and that RAMBUS HAD NO PATENTS THAT READ ON THE STANDARD.
    Hope this helps and hopefully no one will steal your business and get a corrupt government agency to aid in the theft.rb

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

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