updated 10:55 am EST, Fri March 5, 2010
Rambus gets some patents upheld
Rambus late Thursday achieved a partial win in its ongoing patent dispute with NVIDIA. While an International Trade Commission decision in January found that NVIDIA had infringed on three of Rambus' patents for memory technology, a US Patent & Trademark Office verdict this week said that one of the Rambus patents was invalid and partially invalidated a second patent. NVIDIA plans to appeal the decision on the remaining patent.
The new finding, while partly exonerating NVIDIA, could still result in at least some of its graphics hardware being blocked if the appeal fails. Most companies typically opt to pay royalties in such cases, however, rather than withdraw their products from store shelves.
Rambus has a history of wielding its patents to collect royalties from competitors, including Hynix and Micron. Samsung just recently chose to settle a similar case for $200 million plus a matching stock purchase in return for perpetual rights.
Most know Rambus best for the XDR memory used in the PlayStation 2 and 3 but also for the RAM it supplied to Intel during the early Pentium 4 era.