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EC accuses Rambus of 'patent ambush'

Chip maker slapped with Statement of Objections

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The European Commission has confirmed formal "patent ambush" charges against US memory chip designer Rambus.

In a Statement of Objections issued to Rambus on 30 July 2007 the EC alleged that the firm had claimed "unreasonable royalties" for the use of certain DRAM chip patents.

It said that "Rambus engaged in intentional deceptive conduct in the context of the standard-setting process, for example by not disclosing the existence of the patents which it later claimed were relevant to the adopted standard."

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) earlier this year slapped a separate charge on Rambus of hoodwinking the JEDEC industry standards group into approving memory technologies on which it secretly held patents.

The FTC found that Rambus had through subterfuge, illegally gained a monopoly in four key memory technologies.

In March it stayed some of its remedy order against the company on the basis that it filed its appeal in a timely manner.

The "patent ambush" proceedings are the first of its kind under EU anti-trust law. ®

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