FTC declares war on Rambus

'Deception of Standard-Setting Organization'

The Federal Trade Commission is filing suit against Rambus for its 'deception' of JEDEC, the DRAM standards-setting organisation.

In a no holds-barred statement, the FTC accuses the fast DRAM chip designer of "violating federal antitrust laws by deliberately engaging in a pattern of anticompetitive acts and practices that served to deceive an industry-wide standard-setting organization, resulting in adverse effects on competition and consumers".

There's more.

"The conduct at issue here has done substantial harm to important technology markets, and threatens to undermine participation in industry standard-setting activities more generally," said Joseph J. Simons, Director of the FTC Bureau of Competition. "By issuing this complaint, the Commission is sending a signal not only to Rambus but also to other companies. The message is this: If you are going to take part in a standards process, be mindful to abide by the ground rules and to participate in good faith."

This relates to Rambus' notorious decision to put forward technologies to JEDEC for incorporation into SDRAM memory standard, a competitor to Rambus' own RDRAM. Unbeknown to JEDEC, and contrary to the standard body's rules, Rambus had secured intellectual property rights by filing patents to these technologies.

The company then sought to force producers of DDR DRAM to pay up royalties. At first successful, Rambus suffered a series of humiliating reverses in the courts, when challenged by Infineon.

Now it is in big, big trouble. Here is the FTC charge sheet against Rambus in full. ®