Feeds

FTC drops Rambus 'patent ambush' claims

Seven year legal battle is over

Top three mobile application threats

US regulators have finally thrown in the towel after seven years of battling memory chip designer Rambus in court.

The Federal Trade Commission today said it's officially dropped claims Rambus violated antitrust laws by hoodwinking the JEDEC (Joint Electron Device Engineering Council) industry standards group into approving memory technologies for which the company had been quietly obtaining patents.

"We are pleased to have finally put this matter behind us," said Rambus general counsel Thomas Lavelle in a statement.

The FTC originally filed antitrust charges against Rambus in 2002, claiming the company deceived the JEDEC by its failure to disclose intentions of patenting technology that would eventually become part of the DDR SDRAM specification. They argued the industry would have used different technologies or immediately required a cap on royalties had they known about the patents.

It wasn't until after the standards were adopted and locked in that Rambus revealed the patents through demanding royalties and filing lawsuits against JEDEC members who adopted the standard, the FTC's filing alleged.

Rambus claims it never purposefully hid the patents while it was a member of the JEDEC. It's just that nobody asked.

The case has dragged on and on over the years, with Rambus and the FTC winning various rounds of the legal battle as it slowly wound itself up the legal chain. The FTC's biggest hurtle in the case was showing adequate evidence that Rambus' high royalty rates have resulted in a less competitive market.

Eventually, the legal fracas landed on the steps of the US Supreme Court. But the top court turned its nose up at the idea of reversing a decision the District of Columbia Circuit of appeals had tossed out in April.

"While we remain disappointed by the decision of the Court of Appeals, we of course respect the Court's opinion and will move forward," said Richard Feinstein, Director of the Bureau of Competition in a statement. "The standards-setting issues that were at the heart of this case remain important, both as a matter of antitrust policy, and in order to protect consumers, and we will remain vigilant in this area."

Rambus is still involved in legal battles with several memory chip makers such as Hynix and Samsung over collecting royalties. Hynix is currently appealing a proposed judgment to pay Rambus $379m in addition to future memory chip royalties. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
US mobile firms cave on kill switch, agree to install anti-theft code
Slow and kludgy rollout will protect corporate profits
Leaked pics show EMBIGGENED iPhone 6 screen
Fat-fingered fanbois rejoice over Chinternet snaps
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Report: Apple seeking to raise iPhone 6 price by a HUNDRED BUCKS
'Well, that 5c experiment didn't go so well – let's try the other direction'
Feast your PUNY eyes on highest resolution phone display EVER
Too much pixel dust for your strained eyeballs to handle
Rounded corners? Pah! Amazon's '3D phone has eye-tracking tech'
Now THAT'S what we call a proper new feature
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Sony battery recall as VAIO goes out with a bang, not a whimper
The perils of having Panasonic as a partner
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.