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FTC appeals against Rambus ruling

Wants commissioners to chuck out appeal verdict

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The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is to consider reinstating anti-trust charges made against Rambus.

Last month, a Federal judge tossed out such allegations. FTC lawyers now want the organisation's five commissioners to overrule the court's decision, and have given notice of appeal.

On 17 February, Judge Stephen J McGuire, the FTC administrative judge presiding over the Rambus case, dismissed every element of an FTC charge which said memory maker was guilty of deceiving JEDEC, the memory industry's standards body. His judgment followed Rambus' appeal against the FTC ruling.

Judge McGuire's decision was always potentially subject to review by the FTC's commissioners. The case may also be referred to the US court of appeals.

The FTC filed suit against Rambus in June 2002. It accused the fast memory designer of covertly modifying memory patents to incorporate technology which it knew JEDEC was to build into the SDRAM standard. This was a violation of Federal anti-trust law and an attempt to "deceive an industry-wide standard-setting organisation, resulting in adverse effects on competition and consumers".

However, Judge McGuire ruled that the organisation had not proved its allegations against the company.

Rambus General Counsel John Danforth said the FTC staff's decision to appeal had come as no surprise. But he is confident the commissioners will allow the Judge McGuire's ruling to stand, thanks to the "large number of independent bases for dismissing the complaint". ®

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