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

    Rambus

    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.

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