Rambus hopes lower prices will placate EC
Cap on royalties could end case
Rambus Inc has offered to license some of its chip technology at capped royalty rates, in a bid to end a long-running legal spat with European anti-trust watchdogs.
The US-based memory designer has been fighting allegations that it had deceived an industry standard-setting organisation.
The European Commission claimed that Rambus failed to reveal plans to patent part of its technology, which later became an industry standard.
A probe into the company’s business dealings was undertaken by the EC two years ago, following complaints from Dram vendors.
"With this proposed resolution, we create a new platform where all parties can move forward by licensing our patented innovations for future use in their products rather than engaging in costly litigation," said Thomas Lavelle, Rambus general counsel.
The Commission confirmed formal "patent ambush" charges against the US memory chip designer in a Statement of Objections issued to Rambus on 30 July 2007. It alleged that the firm had claimed "unreasonable royalties" for the use of certain DRAM chip patents.
The firm’s proposed agreement to cut its royalties in the hope of settling the charges brought by the Commission was noted in Friday’s edition of the European Union Official Journal.
It shows that Rambus has agreed to provide some of its products free of charge and to lower the licensing cost of others. If the deal gets the go-ahead, any fine against Rambus would be lifted, but it would be required to claim royalties set by Brussels.
The EC said it was considering the proposal, and added it would consult rival chip designers and customers before any decision was reached.
is it really that hard...
1. company invents X
2. company applies for patent for X
3. company is granted patent for X
4. standard organisation hears about + considers X
5. company applies for patent for X
6. standard organisation produces standard of which a direct consequence is use of X, or not using X would require special, dedicated work around patent for X
if 3., 6. cannot happen
if at time of 4. there is 2. but not yet 3., there are two options: a) company insists on patent, thus 6. will not be able to happen, standards org drops idea. b) company retreats appliance, clearing the way for 6. (thereby losing exclusivity of tech but potentially gaining a large customer base knowing they can X)
if 3., 4. cannot happen (well, consider and immediately reject X, because 6. cannot happen)
if 4., 5. cannot happen (patent must be refused by relevant authority, respectively must be lost at first appeal if authority is too thick to realise situation/refuse patent). If it however happens, 6. cannot happen (fallback or whatever).
after 4., X is in the public domain so forget 5. (really!)
if we reach 6., profit for everyone, but company has the highest risk (needs to reclaim devel cost, but everyone knows it knows X)
if we can't reach 6., maybe profit for company
The stop icon is for Rambus as well as respective standards organisation (IEC?). This carpy algorithm with all its flaws is in the public domain by the time i hit "Post Comment".
yey to the EU :)
I love the wat the EC/Eu makes companies cry.
proof is in the putting
So they are basically admitting that they have been exploiting the monopoly they gained by hiding the patents.
Once again the EC/EU is able to bring down a company that is abusing its monopoly while the US justice department can't.
Anonymous cause I live too close to the path some attack helicopters take to the bombing range.