Feeds

Federal Trade Commission probes Rambus, Sun

Investigates allegations of fraudulent behaviour

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

The US Federal Trade Commission is sniffing around Rambus and Sun to see if it can find any evidence that both companies failed to disclose relevant patents pending and those already held while working with industry organisations to set standards.

Essentially it wants to find out if they used their participation in the standards definition process to ensure companies would later have to pay them money to use those standards, USA Today reports, citing sources familiar with the investigations.

In Rambus' case, the FTC shouldn't have too tough a time of it. The memory developer has, after all, been found guilty by a jury in the US District Court of Virginia of committing such a fraudulent act in its dealings with JEDEC, the chip business' guardian of standards.

Rambus was judged to have deliberately withheld from fellow JEDEC SDRAM Panel members that it had applied for patents for key SDRAM technologies. Rambus was obliged, as a panel member, to disclose such interests. Later it sought royalties from memory makers on the basis of its ownership of those patents - and sued Infineon, Micron and Hyundai when they refused to cough up.

Sun is accused of the same behaviour. It is alleged to have failed to mention that it held patents on key aspects of memory add-in module design while participating in the development of a standard module format.

"This is an area where there is a lot of impact on consumer welfare, and you can get a lot of bang for your enforcement buck," said FTC antitrust chief Joseph Simons, cited by USA Today. Simons would not discuss specific cases, the paper added. And that includes saying whether it is - or isn't - investigating Sun and/or Rambus.

"You lose all of the upsides of that common standard-setting effort if someone holds patents that surface after the standard is adopted," said former FTC antitrust chief William Baer who, perhaps not coincidentally, is working with what USA Today describes as "a chipmaker fighting Rambus".

The FTC has had its eye on Rambus for some time, and was last heard to be talking to folk who'd been involved in JEDEC's SDRAM deliberations this past February.

That said, since the FTC won't comment on specific case or confirm who it is investigating, it's hard to be sure where any examination of Sun and Rambus will lead. ®

Related Story

FTC to investigate Rambus

Related Link

USA Today: FTC probing Sun Microsystems

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data
European corps can't afford to get complacent while American Big Biz battles Uncle Sam
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.