US Patent Office backs Nvidia with Rambus rejection
41 infringement claims swatted
Nvidia said Tuesday the US Patent and Trademark Office has initially rejected 41 claims by Rambus that accuse the graphics chip maker of aping its memory controller tech without paying.
The 41 jilted claims relate to seven of the nine patents Rambus alleges have been infringed by Nvidia. The IP-only memory company filed a formal complaint with the US International Trade Commission in November 2008 requesting an investigation it hopes will lead to barring of certain Nvidia kit if royalties or settlement money isn't slipped its way.
"We are pleased that the USPTO decided to review the patentability of Rambus' patents and agreed with Nvidia's challenge to all 41 claims," the GPU company's chief attorney, David Shannon, said in a statement. "We will continue to vigorously defend this matter in the ITC."
Validity of the remaining two Rambus patents being challenged are still pending with the USPTO. Nvidia expects an initial decision for the pair within 60 days.
Nvidia spokesman Hector Marinez tells El Reg that although a USPTO decision is not binding to the ITC case, it sets a precedent that's typically helpful in swaying a decision.
As tradition with Rambus-related news, challenging a patent with the USPTO usually promises to be a long and drawn-out process. Rambus will next have a chance to respond to the initial rejection and so forth.
Rambus' claims against Nvidia finger the company's DDR (double data rate) memory controllers found in both Nvidia's chipset and graphics chips and include GDDR3 memory used in its latest line of GPUs..
The IP firm has been enjoying a winning streak lately in its smorgasbord of patent claims. Last month, the US Federal Trade Commission finally dropped its seven-year-running claim that Rambus violated antitrust laws by tricking the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council and its members to approve memory technologies for which it had quietly secured patents. Rambus also scored a $379m (£229m) proposed judgment against Korean memory maker Hynix for alleged infringement of aforementioned memory tech patents. ®
It's about time...
...that these IP companies were outlawed. There is simply no morals justification to run a business by buyin up IP and either licensing or sueing. A simple way to deal with it would be to bar companies from making any money from IP that they don't actually use themselves. IOW you can't license IP unless you actually manufacture and sell products that use that IP.
When RAMBUS first came out...
They sounded good, till you find out everything they "do" was basically taken from someone else's schematics/plans. Their investors, the ones with morals, didn't find out until it was too late, and no one likes losing lots of money after the promises of huge profits, which is all RAMBUS was selling to their customers (investors). After first hearing about the rambus tech (which Intel was pushing, giving it backing you could trust), I spoke with an investor with Mass Mutual who was also a tech head and I talked rambus up like crazy as the next new thing in memory (this was right before DDR info came out to the public). I've regretted it ever since, I'm pretty sure he put money into it too. So far they have been making money, but then it will end, and it won't be anything for their investors to brag about, because it's a shoddy way of making cash, and most of the investors were tricked into buying into it... like the dot.com bubble, or any bubble for that matter. Not to mention the investors were expecting to make money from licensing arrangements, not litigation, which have so far only shown rambus for the company it was.
Plus I know a bit about computer tech, and the technology they described in the patents, and implemented in the product, though it was said to scale better once you get into large amounts of ram, still seemed like most of it was using architecture from a decade earlier, mixing it with modern ram tech. Cutting out a lot of the logic built into the silicon that made the switching of read and writes fast in standard DRAM, focusing almost entirely on streaming speed. Which in a standard computer a home user would use, is totally pointless and actually slows down the computer in every way, especially with how much windows loves running random things constantly, and how it multitasks within the operating system and how that effects the read/write delay. Therefore, unless you are streaming huge files over 50% of the time the ram is being used, there is no benefit to using RDRAM. Everyone who evaluated computer performance, and all the other techies out there, learned this as soon as the first Intel board was made with RAMBUS. The intel CPU was faster, but the amd system performed better, because of the ram :P RDRam was hot, and eventually were outrun performance wise by developments on standard SDRam tech. Once the SDRam guys began outperforming rdram in every useful application, except maybe hardware designed for streaming data, like closed circuit camera systems that stream their data to a PC. But even now most of them are more efficient using SDRAM based tech since they usually run windows :P Most people still don't even know what RDRam is except us techies, no one else I've ever talked to have ever heard of them, even when they show up in the news. It's about computers, who cares? :P If people actually cared, rambus would have been shut down a long time ago. I have a tech friend in a small town that ran into a home pc with rambus in it and had no idea what he was looking at, I had to tell him the story of rambus just so that he would understand what he was seeing if he ever came across it again :) hehe Paired up, and terminated bus, so there might be a fake chip there to terminate the bus :P I think there was a crank and a couple levers too you needed to turn to charge it up ;P Oh wait, I remember, it got it's power from the souls of the dead. It was the first ram that required heat sinks though. Of course, even without rdram, it was back when every computer was a small space heater. Its simplicity could have been useful for a time if it was cheaper, but now more sophisticated tech can be made cheaper.
I hope the guys behind rambus get sued by their investors... the joys of self regulation :) But they won't, more than likely, because they'll make more money if they wait till rambus is really screwed first, then they'll sue :P I'm sick of companies like theirs giving us techies a bad name, because the general public lumps us all together :-P This rambus story is like The Song That Never Ends, it just goes on and on my friends, some people invested in it not knowing what it was, and then they started suing everybody just because, this is the song that never ends!!...
Yeah, I'm crazy, sue me :-P
Mine's the one that says, "I'm a Giant Nerd" on the back and "Kiss Me," on the front ;-þ
May the two be seen as equals?