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Rambus sues Nvidia

Mass memory-controller patent infringement alleged

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Litigation-loving Rambus has targeted Nvidia with a complaint that alleges the graphics chip specialist has used its memory controller tech without asking.

The lawsuit, filed yesterday with the US District Court for Northern California, claimed Nvidia's memory controllers for single data rate memory, DDR, DDR 2, DDR 3, GDDR and GDDR 3 all use, without permission, technology detailed in 17 Rambus patents.

The memory controllers that have Rambus so worked up are to be found in Nvidia's chipsets and graphics chips.

The company said it had spent the last six years trying to sell Nvidia a licence for the technology, but the GPU maker had consistently rejected its overtures. Enough is enough, it said, so now it instead wants Nvidia's allegedly offending products to be banned from sale. It also wants to be awarded unspecified cash damages.

Nvidia hasn't yet commented on the matter, but we expect it to reject Rambus' allegations, maybe file a countersuit and eventually, after both parties see their legal fees, to settle out of court - the customary conclusion to actions of this kind...

The case comes a week after Nvidia said it will have to pay out $150-200m to cover the cost of "significant quantities" of duff laptop chipsets and GPUs.

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