Nvidia licenses Rambus memory tech
Lawsuits still alive
Graphics chip maker Nvidia has partially resolved its legal issues with lawsuit-happy Rambus by signing a patent agreement with the memory technology maker.
Rambus and Nvidia announced this morning that the patent licensing agreement covers SDR memory controllers as well as DDR, DDR2, DDR3, LPDDR, LPDDR2, GDDR2, GDDR3, GDDR4, and portions of GDDR5 memory controllers. This is a one-way patent agreement, with Rambus not picking up any of Nvidia's technology.
In an 8K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Nvidia said it signed the deal yesterday - presumably right after reporting its financial results for its second quarter of fiscal 2011, ended 1 August. Nvidia did not mention a pending patent licensing agreement with Rambus on the call with Wall Street analysts. In that SEC filing, Nvidia says that the patent licenses are non-exclusive, non-transferable, worldwide permission to use Rambus memory tech. The 8K filing also says that the royalty cannot exceed $20 per unit. The agreement runs through 9 December, 2014, and Nvidia can terminate in on or after 12 August, 2011 with 30 days prior written notice.
Under the deal, Rambus gets a one per cent royalty rate per unit on the SDR memory controllers and a two per cent rate per unit on all of the other memory controllers. Nvidia said that its forecasts for revenues in the third fiscal quarter would be up between three and five per cent sequentially, and that its gross margin forecasts already had taken the impact of the royalty payments into account.
Oddly enough, the companies say that this agreement does not dismiss any pending litigation between Rambus and Nvidia. Rambus sued Nvidia in July 2008 for violating 17 of its memory controller patents in its chipset and GPU products. Rambus contended that it had been trying to get Nvidia to license its technology for six years without avail. In late July, the US International Trade Commission ruled in favor of Rambus in the legal spat. Rambus had appealed to the ITC in November 2008 to bar Nvidia's infringing products from entering the US, and last month, the ITC sided with Rambus on the matter (with some modifications). Nvidia is appealing the ruling.
Rambus settled a similar patent infringement lawsuit with memory maker Samsung Electronics in January of this year, collecting a tidy $900m. Rambus won a $379m settlement against Hynix Semiconductor, also a memory maker, in March 2009, which Hynix is appealing. Memory maker Micron Technology is also still tangled in lawsuits with Rambus as well. ®
What the ...
@"DDR, DDR2, DDR3, LPDDR, LPDDR2, GDDR2, GDDR3, GDDR4, and portions of GDDR5 memory controllers"
What so Rambus now controls patents on all memory controllers?! ... Or is this another patent Chess game to expand its meaning by implied wrong doing (by bullying people to sign up to their licencing protection racket) rather than actually outright proving wrong doing. See world just about everyone but you has signed the Rambus licencing agreement so they all agree with Rambus, so now you, you and you hiding at the back can now also pay us protection money or we beat up up in court, after all the judge will see all these companies already signed up to our licencing protection racket so they all agree with us) ... that seems to becoming a common game these days in patent legal cases. Get people to sign licences even when they have done no wrong, then force everyone else to sign the licences by saying look all these companies already agree with us as they have signed up so now you have to licence from us as well. WTF!
So now Rambus controls every memory controller?!
Surely the rest of the industry can get behind JEDEC and its standards to beat Rambus back into line, otherwise this legal move (and PR move) sounds like Rambus now lay legal claim to all memory controllers?!
That's a wonderful deal for Rambus to imply wrong doing on just about all major memory controllers as now every memory device and every CPU and GPU can now have a Rambus patent tax added to it!
Wonderful and so in the end we will all end up having to pay more to cover that Rambus patent tax! (and worse still its multiple times! (CPU+GPU+RAM)) on every bit of technology we now buy ... oh joy! :(
Rambus is phuckin patent troll
They never make anything. Hardware patents should be abolished. Software ones too. All patents should be abolished. Patents are the work of the devil.
I could be wrong but....
"Are only valid in the US, everywhere else in the world tld them to go take a running jump! So the only people who will bve paying higher prices are the yanks"
Uhh seeing as nVidia are based in the states but sell GPUs (among other things) all over the world the price hit will still affect you blightys as well. They file taxes inthe states so they still need to account for the sales overseas IIRC.