Court Overturns FTC Ruling Against Rambus

from the bad-news-all-around dept

We've been covering the story of Rambus' tricks to get itself a patent that covered a standard by sitting in on standards meetings and then modifying its patents to cover the standard. The rulings on the various lawsuits have gone back and forth on this, and while Rambus has had some wins and some losses in court, last year the FTC stepped in and smacked the company down, noting that it had used questionable means to get itself an effective monopoly on the memory market. Unfortunately, that FTC ruling has now been overturned by an appeals court that said the FTC failed to show evidence of a monopoly. This is unfortunate for a variety of reasons. If the FTC's ruling had been allowed to stand, it would have shown how an ill-gotten patent would be the equivalent of an illegal monopoly. That seems like the proper result, as a patent clearly is a government granted monopoly. So, if the patent is gained through questionable means, then that monopoly should be considered an illegal monopoly. Unfortunately the appeals court disagreed, and that will make us all worse off, as it will give the government fewer tools to crack down on abusers of the patent system.

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(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Kiba, Apr 22nd, 2008 @ 4:41pm

    Courts do not understand economics

    No surprise there, judges do not understand the economic implication of their decision thus making bad ones.

    In fact, they were the one who help built the problem in our intellectual monopolies system by granting more and more things to be patentable. Our monopoly system is in fact "judge-made".

    These judges may not be corrupt but they makes lot of bad decisions in regard to our economy.

    Now all we can do is to bear the cost of intellectual monopolies and continue to work toward a future where unneccessary monopolies don't exists.

    That's why I would trust Mike Masnick, the economist more than Lawrence Lessig, the lawyer when it come to copyright and patent issues. They are both are smart and wise but only Mike possess the correct wisdom and training to determine whether intellectual monopoly is necessary or not among other questions.

    Economic is the proper tool for patent copyright analysis. Judges does not posses such knowledge.

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

  2. icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 22nd, 2008 @ 5:20pm

    Re: Courts do not understand economics

    No surprise there, judges do not understand the economic implication of their decision thus making bad ones.

    To be fair, it is not a court's job to determine the economic implications, only what the law says. The real problem is that politicians do not understand the economics when they write the laws.

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

  3. identicon
    Jeff M., Apr 22nd, 2008 @ 5:41pm

    WOW, what an incredible mischaracteriztion of the ruling

    As the great D.P. Moynihan said, and as is often - needs be - repeated in this day and age of bloggers desperate to support their positions, you are entitled to your own opinion, not your own facts.

    This decision, an easy read, lays out a much different picture than Mike trys to paint. Let's start with the fact that the FTC first had an their own judge try the case, the longest proceeding in FTC history, with a record amount of evidence presented and the longest decision in FTC history, a decision that, point by point, addressed every contention made by JEDEC, the FTC, and the memory cartel:

    "Proceedings began before an administrative law judge, who in due course dismissed the Complaint in its entirety. He concluded that Rambus did not impermissibly withhold material information about its intellectual property, and that, in any event, there was insufficient evidence that, if Rambus had disclosed all the information allegedly required of it, JEDEC would have standardized an alternative technology"

    Yes, that's right folks, all the participants at JEDEC were aware of the Rambus technology (It was shown in a number of pieces of evidence that they discussed it regularly outside of JEDEC as the only way to build future memory) and standardized it with the full knowledge that Rambus had, and was pursuing, patents on the individual technologies.

    One more bit for now, you can go and read the short and to the point decision yourself:

    "Because of the chance of further proceedings on remand, we express briefly our serious concerns about strength of the evidence relied on to support some of the Commission’s crucial findings regarding the scope of JEDEC’s patent disclosure policies and Rambus’s alleged violation of those policies.

    The Commission’s findings are murky on both the relevant margins: what JEDEC’s disclosure policies were, and what, within those mandates, Rambus failed to disclose. First, the Commission evidently could find that Rambus violated JEDEC’s disclosure policies only by relying quite significantly on participants’ having been obliged to disclose their work in progress on potential amendments to pending applications, as that work became pertinent.>>



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

  4. identicon
    Jeff M., Apr 22nd, 2008 @ 5:42pm

    the rest of that piece



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

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2008 @ 6:19pm

    Re: WOW, what an incredible mischaracteriztion of the ruling

    Just how many shares do you own ?
    Care to point out any corroborating evidence ?

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

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