Thursday, December 2nd 2010

Rambus Files ITC Complaint Against Broadcom, NVIDIA, LSI, STM, Freescale, etc.

Rambus Inc., one of the world's premier technology licensing companies, today announced it has filed a complaint with the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) requesting the commencement of an investigation pertaining to products from Broadcom Corporation, Freescale Semiconductor, Inc., LSI Corporation, MediaTek Inc., NVIDIA Corporation and STMicroelectronics N. V. The complaint seeks an exclusion order barring the importation, sale for importation, or sale after importation of products from Broadcom, Freescale, LSI, NVIDIA and STMicroelectronics that infringe certain patents from the Dally1 family of patents, and of products from Broadcom, Freescale, LSI, MediaTek and STMicroelectronics that infringe certain patents from the Barth family of patents. In an earlier investigation requested by Rambus, the ITC found that these same Barth patents were valid and infringed by NVIDIA products, and issued an exclusion order in July of this year.

“We have been attempting to license these companies for some time to no avail. One of the respondents frankly told us that the only way they would get serious is if we sued them. Others pursued a strategy of delay rather than negotiate a reasonable resolution,” said Harold Hughes, president and chief executive officer at Rambus. “Rambus has invested hundreds of millions of dollars developing a portfolio of technologies that are foundational for many digital electronics. There is widespread knowledge within the industry about our patents including their use in standards-compatible products accused in these actions. In fairness to our shareholders and to our paying licensees, we take these steps to protect our patented innovations and pursue fair compensation for their use.”

For the Dally patents, the accused semiconductor products from these companies include ones that incorporate PCI Express, certain Serial ATA, certain Serial Attached SCSI (SAS), and DisplayPort interfaces. In the case of the Barth patents, the accused semiconductor products include ones that incorporate DDR, DDR2, DDR3, mobile DDR, LPDDR, LPDDR2, and GDDR3 memory controllers. Accused semiconductor products in the complaint include graphics processors, media processors, communications processors, chip sets and other logic integrated circuits (ICs).

In addition to Broadcom, Freescale, LSI, MediaTek, NVIDIA and STMicroelectronics, the ITC complaint names companies whose products incorporate the accused semiconductor products and are imported, sold for importation, or sold after importation into the United States. These products include personal computers, workstations, servers, routers, mobile phones and other handheld devices, set-top boxes, Blu-ray players, motherboards, plug-in cards, hard drives and modems. The ITC is expected to decide whether to initiate an investigation under this complaint within 30-45 days.

Rambus today also filed separate actions for patent infringement against Broadcom, Freescale, LSI, MediaTek and STMicroelectronics in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The lawsuits allege that semiconductor products with certain memory controllers and/or serial links from the above companies infringe certain patents from the Farmwald-Horowitz, Barth, and Dally patent families. In the case of MediaTek, only infringement of the Barth and Farmwald-Horowitz patents for certain memory controllers is alleged. Rambus also filed an action in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California against NVIDIA for infringement of certain Dally patents. The categories of accused semiconductor products in the District Court complaints include the same categories accused in the ITC complaint, as well as SDR memory controllers. Rambus is seeking injunctive relief barring the infringement, contributory infringement, and inducement to infringe the patents, as well as monetary damages.

Rambus management will discuss the filing of these actions during a special conference call today at 5:00 p.m. PT. The call will be webcast and can be accessed through the Rambus website. A replay will be available following the call on Rambus’ Investor Relations website or for one week at the following numbers: (800) 642-1687 (domestic) or (706) 645-9291 (international) with ID# 29122159. Further information regarding these legal actions will be made available at http://investor.rambus.com in the Litigation Update section.

1. Rambus is the exclusive licensee for the Dally family of patents which are owned by Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This license was assigned to Rambus as a part of its 2003 acquisition of technology and IP from Velio Communications, a company founded by Dr. William Dally.
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24 Comments on Rambus Files ITC Complaint Against Broadcom, NVIDIA, LSI, STM, Freescale, etc.

#1
NdMk2o1o
Here they go again :shadedshu
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#2
Red_Machine
Creative needs to sue Apple for infringing their patents on MP3 players. XD
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#3
Yukikaze
The Patent Troll Strikes Back.
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#4
Mussels
Moderprator
sigh. here we go again.
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#5
bear jesus
I thought they were done trying to screw nvidia for now... guess not :(
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#6
Bjorn_Of_Iceland
Looks like the Rambus coffers are almost empty. Time to get free moneyz in time for christmas
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#7
phanbuey
lol how come all I ever hear from rambus is that they're suing someone. do they ever make anything or do they just sue people the whole time?
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#8
Yukikaze
They mostly sue other people.
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#9
xrealm20
damn, really?

Wonder when the ITC is going to get bored with Rambus suing everyone that makes memory or memory controller products.
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#10
xBruce88x
This rambus crap is getting old... it'd be like Quilted Northern suing walmart over their "great value" brand TP...
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#11
bear jesus
The problem is they own too many damn patents, look at them

:laugh:

It would be so much easier if all the company's paid up as many others are licensed thus shelling out money to rambus while other company's are not thus it's not really fair, I am defiantly not for this kind of patent trolling but they own them so in theory they have the right to demand that these company's pay the fee's

Just one example, AMD/ATI pay the license fee's yet nvidia are not, is that fair?

Really though this is just another point showing how bad the us patent office has failed imo as rambus don't seam to make anything useful for pc's, they just suck up a load of profit form other company's that make computer parts and even when they were making RDRAM for pc's it was way more expensive with much higher latency, the only thing of use they have really done in recent years is RDRAM, XRD DRAM and XDR2 DRAM used in consoles.... but I'm a pc bear so nothing useful for me :laugh:
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#12
robn
by: bear jesus
...rambus don't seam to make anything useful for pc's...
Well I agree patent trolling sucks in general, BUT the reason Rambus has won before and will win again is because they legitimately own the patents since they DID develop the tech (Rambus: About page says the company "specializes in the invention and design of architectures"). Business is business. ATI licenses the designs for memory controllers and PCI-E, SATA ...they think it's worthwhile. Patents do some good after all. Research and development is hugely expensive, and risky in itself. I'm not going to get a grudge against Rambus for selling designs instead of manufacturing gear whilst keeping the tech secret like most companies do.

Both sides in this argument are big multinationals anyhow, so they deserve each other. At least it doesn't hurt consumers.
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#13
Red_Machine
It'll hurt consumers if these lawsuits cause compaines to go out of business.
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#14
bear jesus
by: robn
Well I agree patent trolling sucks in general, BUT the reason Rambus has won before and will win again is because they legitimately own the patents since they DID develop the tech (Rambus: About page says the company "specializes in the invention and design of architectures"). Business is business. ATI licenses the designs for memory controllers and PCI-E, SATA ...they think it's worthwhile. Patents do some good after all. Research and development is hugely expensive, and risky in itself. I'm not going to get a grudge against Rambus for selling designs instead of manufacturing gear whilst keeping the tech secret like most companies do.

Both sides in this argument are big multinationals anyhow, so they deserve each other. At least it doesn't hurt consumers.
True, i should probably look at it more like they have helped create many products that i enjoy.

by: Red_Machine
It'll hurt consumers if these lawsuits cause compaines to go out of business.
I would doubt they could or would even want to put any company out of business as the long term licensing would give them much more than destroying a company and getting a one off sum, that is if it was even possible as most company's that are infringing are pretty massive.

Also currently they can only demand between 0.25% and 1%, i don't think that would hurt any company much, even more so as they could just increase the prices by that much and no one would even notice.
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#15
Yukikaze
by: Red_Machine
It'll hurt consumers if these lawsuits cause compaines to go out of business.
They won't. Rambus wants to milk the cash cow - Not slaughter it.
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#16
micropage7
by: Yukikaze
They mostly sue other people.
maybe like that, after their ram 'ejected' by intel which takes ddr for its rig rambus lost from news, later they come to sue the other
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#17
AndreiD
Rambus: "It's that time of the year kids! Time to sue some people! Wooohooo!"
Posted on Reply
#18
Frick
Fishfaced Nincompoop
by: robn
Well I agree patent trolling sucks in general, BUT the reason Rambus has won before and will win again is because they legitimately own the patents since they DID develop the tech (Rambus: About page says the company "specializes in the invention and design of architectures"). Business is business. ATI licenses the designs for memory controllers and PCI-E, SATA ...they think it's worthwhile. Patents do some good after all. Research and development is hugely expensive, and risky in itself. I'm not going to get a grudge against Rambus for selling designs instead of manufacturing gear whilst keeping the tech secret like most companies do.

Both sides in this argument are big multinationals anyhow, so they deserve each other. At least it doesn't hurt consumers.
Was going to say something like this, but you put in better. :)

I don't think it's patent trolling as Rambus actually came up with the stuff.
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#19
Benetanegia
Nah, it's just patent trolling. They wait until their patents are widely used, even when they know that a company is about to use a tech covered by their patents and only when it's widely used (aka when the company has a lot to lose) they sue the hell out of them.

And they didn't even develop most of the tech that their patents cover. I think that 90% of their patents were adquired when they bought some small companies. Like this from the OP:
1. Rambus is the exclusive licensee for the Dally family of patents which are owned by Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This license was assigned to Rambus as a part of its 2003 acquisition of technology and IP from Velio Communications, a company founded by Dr. William Dally.
I mean how stupid can that be? Rambus is suing Nvidia because Nvidia is arguably using some patents that Rambus has licensed from another comany who adquired them from William Dally, the current chief scientist and vicepresident at Nvidia.

The patent system is just broken when such things can happen IMO. Intelectual property should only belong to it's creator, and should not be able to change hand's because the concept of intelectual property was created with the purpose of protecting the creators from other people duplicating their work.

I also think that IP should never be owned by companies to begin with, because the future of most companies (and their owned IP) does not belong to the creator (of the company or the tech, doesn't matter), it's completely on the hands of investors. This way the inventor of a new tech who creates and invents IP for a company in the name of stability and advancement in that company can see his IP sold without being able to do anything. How is that protecting intelectual property? Intelectual property of who? A company is nothing tangible, it's nobody, just an abstract concept and employees that come and go, so who's IP are patents protecting in this day and age?
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#20
Phxprovost
Xtreme Refugee
we clearly need to rewrite some laws here and add in a statute of limitations for filing lawsuits. Waiting until ever major entity in the industry is using you "technology" is bullshit.
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#21
pentastar111
by: phanbuey
lol how come all I ever hear from rambus is that they're suing someone. do they ever make anything or do they just sue people the whole time?
Im beggining to think THAT is exactly what they are...professional suers. :twitch:
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#22
LAN_deRf_HA
by: phanbuey
do they ever make anything or do they just sue people the whole time?
I think the ps3 memory is an actual rambus product. Don't know of any other case.
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#23
1freedude
Read a few pages of the consolidated patent laws...talk to some patent lawyers ...talk to people who have patents...get some of your ideas patented. I personally will never allow any of my ip to be patented. Proprietary secret ip will get you further than any patent.

This shit is legalized mafia shennigans.
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#24
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
Rambus: "We invented memory! Give us cash!"

Seriously, they have been investigated for patent ambushing, they purposely held back the fact that they held the patents to this stuff until it bacame an industry standard so they could start sueing everyone once it was a widely used industry standard.
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